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 ...

Revision for your students is a mini-nightmare!

This is really the 11th hour for the IB2 students – the final exams are VERY close and they should all be working ridiculously hard on their revision – and physics teachers should all be working to help wherever possible. This final comment does sound a little strange, especially as I am a Head of Physics and have every confidence in the fact that my team of teachers have worked hard for the last 2 years, with a syllabus that remains ...

Revision is a mini-nightmare!

They say that exercise is good for you and of course, at the moment there is no doubt that every second year IB student should be working their butts off – social life, you should have none – all you should be doing is mental exercise – working hard for those exams that are now, oh so close. If you do not have a revision plan, then you are leaving it a little late. You should have a whole bunch of ...

Something wicked this way comes

The new Internal Assessment (IA) should be starting soon and if students are to ultimately produce something that will help them get a good grade, care is needed! OK – the new IA is not ‘Wicked’, but it is REALLY important. And so, this blog is fully aimed at those students in the first year of the HL and SL Physics course.  It will have no meaning at all for those at the end of their course. The course changed from ...

Something wicked this way comes

The new IA needs to be addressed very soon. If you have not given this some thought, then you could be heading for problems. The Old and New.  As teachers will know, the new form of the Gp4 IA is very different to the old.  In some ways better and in others, worse.  Whatever you think of it, it is here to stay ... for a few years anyway.  One of the good things is that it is a single piece of ...

Independence Day

We are almost there – the end, the big push then those awful exams. Not awful because they are inherently a bad thing, after all they are the way that many students will show how good they are in their chosen subjects.  They are awful because they follow one after another, with no real rest.  If you were not ready for the revision process then the next 4 or 5 weeks will be a VERY hard slog! There is a sad ...

It’s tough at the top

This post is a short discussion of the problems with Physics which result in a relatively low proportion of top grades being produced.  The fear is that these problems will not go away with the new course and might even be worse! The pass-rates for all IB courses are very similar.  However, there are marked differences between the grades that are achieved.  Statistically, the three subjects which seem to be the toughest to get a ‘7’ in are HL Physics, Chemistry ...

Two for the price of one

The 2014/15 academic year is going to be really quite tough on IB teachers for Group 4, especially if you are the only teacher for the IB physics course in your school.  If you are the IB teacher, then you will need to teach both the last year of the old course and the first year of the new course together. This produces two main problems:   1.  The syllabus.  The new syllabus is VERY different to the old.  To present both at ...

Two courses in ONE – Step carefully

The 2014-15 academic year will be a very strange one for Group 4 in the IB.  All of the syllabuses (except Sorts Science) change.  Most students might feel that this is not such a problem because all you do is simply choose your subjects.  Actually however, this is potentially a huge problem. The early signs of the new course suggest that it is effectively much larger than the old one.  HL Physics, Maths and Chemistry are three of the toughest subjects ...

The New Course approaches

Preparations for the new Physics course starting this September MUST start now to avoid potential disaster. As all IB physics teachers should know, the revision of the Group 4 subjects has been essentially completed and the new syllabus for Physics begins this September – for first examination in 2016. The truth is that we are still waiting for sufficient exemplar IA materials – material that teachers can blind mark to the new marking criteria, producing marks which match the accepted values.  Also, ...