By Ms. Heather Worley
The IB Learner Profile requires teachers and students to strive daily to embody many positive characteristics. However, for IB Diploma Programme (DP) students none are more important than being a balanced risk-taker. On many levels these two disparate characteristics challenge each other, which is precisely their value for a young learner. Our DP students consistently must force themselves outside of their academic comfort zones. No longer is their main goal to always identify one correct answer. A greater value is put on the defense of a claim and the ability to view a situation or concept from multiple perspectives. Often answers lack complete definity. Thus, the foundation of their understanding can feel as if it lacks stability. The strength of their responses depends on structure and appropriate skills of communication. Living academically in a space of wonder and abstract thought often leaves dedicated students feeling ungrounded. Oddly, the realization that intellectual curiosity and exploration is messy and usually nonlinear helps them to find their balance. There is a certain order to the chaos. The IB Approaches to Teaching and Learning support students as they develop the habits of mind and work to achieve mental balance amid so many daily challenges. Here’s what it looks like:
Ogden DP seniors are already beginning to prepare for their exams in May. They are collecting their shared knowledge in study guides, documents they can individually use to renew their comprehension of two years of content. Teachers are helping students to identify patterns in the subjects they’ve studied, so they can synthesize their knowledge and communicate it in a variety of ways. For example, in History, they are organizing the effects of the Mexican Revolution by tracing the positive and negative influences of each leader that followed the writing of Mexico’s new constitution. In Mathematics SL they are building study guides for a unit on vectors and writing their Internal Assessments. In Math SL, each student completes an independent investigation of a subject of interest through mathematical reasoning. Students are investigating subjects as different as the uses of the Chinese Remainder Theorem to the use of differential equations to compare the effects of multiple characteristics of geothermal wells. And seniors in Visual Arts, having just completed their first installation, are now busily creating and refining work around their self-identified theme for their Exhibition in the spring. Senior students demonstrate the skills they have developed throughout the program through a balance of assessments.
Ogden DP juniors are finding their groove in their classes. The first quarter is always an eye opening experience for juniors in the IB Diploma Programme. The intellectual demands and required time management skills test even the most diligent students. The opportunities for independent thinking also require a higher level of personal responsibility. To prepare students for long-term success in the program we start with direct teaching of self-management skills. In fact, much of the first semester in the Ogden Diploma Program is designed to support students through this academic transition to college level work. For example, in their Language and Literature course, students just finished a unit on the nuances of academic integrity. Now, they are beginning a unit on research methods by investigating a variety a perspectives on a social issues in order to write and deliver an argumentative speech. Additionally, in many of their classes, they have been working on goal setting and developing skills to achieve these goals. Students are learning new ways to take notes, and about requirements of essays in their various courses. Balance comes from developing positive learning habits and coping skills for stress management.
This blog has contributions from a variety of faculty and staff at Ogden International.