It is often difficult in some cultures to change the emphasis on learning away from teachers to learners, as cultural expectations are that the teacher is the ‘source of knowledge’. The IB programme expects, however, through all of its components that students take control of their learning and are ‘risk takers’ and that the teacher should move from being the ‘Sage on the stage’ to the Guide on the side’. I do not think that we can expect students, who have never done this before, to be able to adapt immediately, and so we need to offer some scaffolding early on in the DP programme to help students with assignments and to provide them with some structure. In fact, there are debates as to whether the ‘Sage on the stage’ or the Guide on the side’ are mutually exclusive.
The IB is trying to develop unifying principles and strands across the four programme to support the development of the Learner Profile outcomes and to allow progression. The most significant changes that impact on Business Management are the focus on Concepts in the new programme and the emphasis on Approaches to Teaching and Learning. ATL is the next major development for the IB as it further refines its approaches on student-centred programmes and the enhancement of Learner Profile characteristics in IB students. The ATL site provides some valuable resources if your school is approaching authorisation. Included on this site are 25 lessons captured on video and case studies. This site will be developed significantly over the next few years.
Being in the middle of facilitating a teacher workshop, I was particularly interested in a fascinating radio programme on Finland that I listened to on a lunchtime bike ride. Finnish education became celebrated as it topped the international Pisa educational rankings. However, in recent years it has slipped. In response, schools are introducing integrated, phenomenon-based teaching, based on skill such as research, rather than teaching discrete subjects. This has divided opinion with many educational experts seeing this as detrimental. I was interested because the new approach reflects a specific approach to student-centred learning. The following article outlines the constructivist and problem solving reforms underpinning the programmes:
- Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with ‘topics’ as country reforms its education system
This approach to education makes me wonder about an issue we are faced with in Business Management. Should we teach the programme through discrete units/functions, such as Marketing, or through the concepts? I think the majority of schools will continue to teach through the units – it certainly is easier to organise. However, this does not have to be the way. Last year in this forum, I posted two posts from a teacher at Jumeirah English Speaking School that outlined their approach to delivering the new programme:
- Do you know your themes? That is the question…
- Stepping out of the classroom, flying into the Case Study…
I would value your thoughts and comments about contrasting approaches to delivering the Business Management course that satisfy the underlying philosophies of the International Baccalaureate mission.
- The Independent