New IB History Study Guides Available!

History Paper 2: Authoritarian States: Germany 1918-1945 and History Paper 2: Authoritarian States: Russia 1917-1953 have been added to OSC's IB Study Guide Series and are available to order now! These guides are written by experienced IB History teacher and OSC Subject Advisor, Joe Gauci. Find out more below.     History Paper 2: Authoritarian States: Germany 1918-1945 uses emergence and rule of Nazi Germany as a discrete example. History Paper 2: Authoritarian States: Russia 1917-1953 focuses on Soviet Russia under Lenin and Stalin.       These ...

Extended Essay May 2017: the final countdown

This time of year is stressful for history teachers: we tend to have a lot EEs, we are trying to mark and enter our IA grades and we have to determine predicted grades.  We are also still teaching our classes, trying to finish the syllabus and also help students revise for the IB exams.  Just when we think everything is going well, a student raises her hand and asks, "What exactly is paper 1?" Well, at least the EE is drawing ...

World History Topic 10: Authoritarian States

"May I choose Margaret Thatcher as an authoritarian leader?" This came from one of my cheekier students.  After we finished units on Lenin and Stalin, I thought I would try an experiment and allow students to choose their own authoritarian regimes.  I was expecting a number of different examples but this was far from what I expected to hear.  And he asked not once, but twice.  And yes, he's English. As I was trying to patiently explain why Thatcher would not be ...

Teaching Russia, killing 3 Birds with One Stone and Auld Lang Syne

My last post for the student blog that I finished yesterday, in honor of the centennial of the murder of Rasputin led me to re-examine how to include the Russian Revolutions in the curriculum.  When the World History Topics were 20th century World History Topics, and before Route 1 and Route 2 were ever conceived of, certain topics were taught by most IB History teachers, most notably World War I and the Russian Revolutions.  This was further reinforced by the ...

History Paper 1 SL/HL: the move to Global War

This blog was written by Joe Gauci, an experienced IB teacher and author of a range of OSC History guides. This revision guide aims to provide you with a clear description of the course content for the IBDP History syllabus Paper 1, covering all the required topics within the prescribed subject: the Move to Global War. Success on History Paper 1 requires a combination of mastery of a range of techniques in answering the source-based questions and a secure understanding of the ...

Introduction to History Paper 2 SL/HL: the Cold War

This blog was written by Sam Olofsson, an experienced IB teacher and author of History: Route 2 - The Cold War. I have had the pleasure of teaching IB history for over 20 years, mainly at Malmö Borgarskola in Sweden but also on revision courses in England and in the United States. It is my hope that this guide will give students the best possible help when preparing for exams. My main aim is to encourage students to practise structuring essays. Each section ...

Whither the Prescribed Subjects? Next month’s exams are the end of an era

We are now one month out from the final IB exams of the session that began with the exams in 2010.  On 8 November, the final set of Paper 1s will be given, and after that, these subjects will be put to rest.  The peacemaking, peacekeeping material is easily integrated into most regional options and it can be used with 20th century wars as part of the effects - although the level of detail is probably impractical for many of ...

Handwriting counts in exams

With the May exam session behind us by nearly six weeks, and most exams marked by the examiners, it is time to address an important issue with regard to IB exams: your handwriting. In much of life, your ability to hand write work clearly may not seem that important, especially if many of your teachers are already moving to having you submit electronical copies of work. However, the IB exams are still hand written.  Most of you are able to produce ...

Subject Choice review

If your school has November exams, you are winding down on the old curriculum while concurrently preparing for the new curriculum that has first exams in 2017.  At this point, it is worthwhile to review the changes to History: In the current curriculum your students have Peacemaking, Arab-Israeli and Communism in Crisis as their options.  These are all going away to be replaced by 5 new prescribed subjects.  This is the largest curricular change but the skills remain largely the same: ...

Local history as alternative history – North America

1July 1st is Canada Day and July 4th is Independence Day in the US.  The Canadians commemorate the British North America - or Constitution Act - whereby three British colonies were united to create federated Canada.  In the US, it is the celebration of the declaration of independence by 13 colonies against the British crown. In both cases, this was a major step towards independence, although the US was created through revolutionary war whereas Canadian independence was evolutionary in nature ...