If Schools truly consider ‘concept’ teaching is more important than content teaching and wish to groom students as lifelong learners who will show their learning in their attitude and action-then IB provides a perfect direction.
But what it does to teachers is more interesting.
When we decided to request IBO for methodology support, we knew that we had a mammoth task ahead of us. We had teachers who were ‘just doing a job’, some who wanted to spend morning hours fruitfully and yet some more who have a degree in teaching. To align diverse people towards one cause of making- learners with values- was indeed a challenge.
We had to first understand the integration of subjects-the transdisciplinary themes. Brainstorm ourselves into thinking beyond our compartmentalised knowledge of science social and English.
To continue with known practices and live in that comfort zone is easy but to come out of our cocoon and venture into new horizons needs persistence.
• Challenged ourselves into realising the importance of concept over content
• Empowered ourselves to build a curriculum that balances the national goals yet make it transdiciplinary.
We turned into learners once again. If we are teaching about UNO, we realized that teaching about the way nations come together to help each other is more important than just teaching the facts about UN. We started exploring the concepts behind every fact.
Knowledge is power, but values are eternal and universal. To groom young children with positive qualities is our School’s goal. When we understood the attributes of a student’s profile as recommended by IBO, students to be- “inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, balanced, open-minded, risk-takers, reflective and caring” – we realised that we as teachers should be having these attributes before we lead our students.
We worked on all these ten attributes in different situations-professional, personal, inter personal and public interactions. If we have to help a child to be principled in the classroom or balanced in the sports field or think before he acts, we the teachers have to know how to follow these in our personal lives. We started rediscovering ourselves in a new profile.
We never thought that teaching will actually help us define our attitudes.IBO suggested some attitudes that every child should be encouraged to have.
“Appreciation, commitment, cooperation, creativity, confidence, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, integrity, independence, respect and tolerance.”
To inculcate such attitudes, we the teachers started recognizing them in each other. We used these terms to convey our feelings and thoughts to each other. It helped a lot in understanding ourselves and our colleagues in a new light. When we wish one another on birthdays and special days we highlight their attitudes and praise them.
And thus we the teachers learnt to brand our own attitudes thanks to the fact that we have to groom our students with these attitudes.
All knowledge should lead to action. Our progressive growth as teachers who are facilitating a student centric learning-has helped us show our learning in our actions.
As a School, our motto is to take our students ‘where the mind is without fear and the head is held high’.
Internationalism helped us develop a responsibility in our students-“ that they have a role to play in the global development.”
IBO’s mission matched with our school’s mission of grooming global citizens who will help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
We developed a global perspective from our local, regional and national inferences and began to quote everything from the ‘big picture’.
IB made us into enthusiastic learners once again.
IBO conducts workshops frequently.
An observation from my teacher who attended the regional workshop last week at Mumbai :
“Now I realize what an important profession I am in...my confidence has tripled with this exposure that teaching is the most important vocation”
The four IB regional workshops that I attended in Thailand, Mumbai and Hyderabad have actually helped me understand how schools across the world are making their own interpretations of the evolving teaching/learning patterns.
To get a perspective of nearly 600 educators from at least 25 different countries on making true education happen-is indeed a privilege we get when we attend the regional workshops.
I have been in the field of education for the past 18 years. The work culture, professionalism , commitment and sincerity that I have seen in IB fraternity is commendable.
With this exponential growth in empowerment through education, I would strongly recommend young people to take up teaching as a profession.
Teaching can be so empowering - personally and professionally.