IB at the International School of Texas
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) was founded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1968 as a non-profit educational foundation.
A group of talented, forward-thinking teachers at the International School of Geneva, with assistance from several other international schools, created the IB Diploma Program. What started life as a single program for internationally mobile students preparing for university, has grown into three programs for students aged four to nineteen.
Carrying forward the ideals and dreams of the IB founders, the organization exists to provide high-quality education for a better world. IB programs continue to encourage this international-mindedness in students and educators through the IB learner profile; a set of values that represent one’s mission and principles. The IB program focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both within the classroom and in the wider world.
The International School of Texas is a candidate school* for the Primary Years Program. Our school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School. IB schools share a common philosophy-a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that the International School of Texas believes is important for all of our children and their families.
*Only schools authorized by the IB organization can offer any of its three academic programs: the Primary Years Program (PYP), the Middle Years Program (MYP), or the Diploma Program (and in addition the IB Career-related Program).
For more about the International Baccalaureate® and its programs, visit http://www.ibo.org/
IB Mission Statement
The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end the organization works with schools, governments, and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education and rigorous assessment. These programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
Essential Elements of the PYP
The Five Essential Elements of the Primary Years Program
To achieve a balance in learning, the PYP emphasizes the five parts of the curriculum, which are called the Essential Elements. Students are given the opportunity to: Gain knowledge that is relevant and of global significance, develop an understanding of concepts, make connections throughout his or her learning, acquire transdisciplinary skills, develop attitudes that will lead to international-mindedness and take action as a consequence of his or her learning. The five essential elements are:
• Knowledge (What we want the students to know)
• Concepts (What we want the students to understand)
• Skills (What we want the students to be able to do)
• Attitudes (What we want the students to feel)
• Action (How we want the students to act)
The PYP has six transdisciplinary themes that provide the framework for learning. These themes are globally significant and support the acquisition of knowledge, concepts, and skills within the traditional subjects. These six themes are presented each year with different concepts.
• Who We Are: An inquiry into the nature of self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.
• Where We Are in Place and Time: An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; home and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.
• How We Express Ourselves: An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.
• How the World Works: An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.
• How We Organize Ourselves: An inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.
• Sharing the Planet: An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationships within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.
A set of eight concepts is used in PYP schools to guide inquires.
• Form – What is it like?
• Function – How does it work?
• Causation – Why is it the way it is?
• Change – How is it changing?
• Connection – How is it connected to other things?
• Perspective – What are the points of view?
• Responsibility – What is our responsibility?
• Reflection – How do we know?
It is these concepts and questions, used flexibly by teachers and students, which shape the unit by giving it direction and purpose. The key concepts and the questions to which they relate, are said to drive the PYP curriculum. Since inquiry is a vehicle for learning in the PYP, the natural way to present the key concepts is in the form of these broad, open-ended questions. The concepts liberate the thinking of teachers and students, suggesting a range of further questions, each one leading to productive lines of inquiry.
These skills are the broad capabilities students develop and apply during learning and in life beyond the classroom. These are the skills students need to possess in order to facilitate success. We are preparing our students for their future as global leaders by using and understanding these necessary skills.
• Being organized – I always make sure I have the necessary items for both work and play. I know where to find all of my resources and I maintain cleanliness
• Time Management – I use my time wisely so I can turn in all of my work on time. I prioritize my tasks to stay on schedule.
• Personal health – I respect my body and always make sure to have a balanced diet combined with proper exercise.
• Making good choices – I always make decisions based on what is the right thing to do.
• Reflecting on behavior – I understand the importance of reflecting on my own behavior in order to act appropriately at all times. I understand the difference between right and wrong.
• Accepting responsibility – I think before I do something and I accept the consequences of things that I say or do.
• Respecting others – I accept that everyone has their own ideas and beliefs. I listen to them carefully and try to understand.
• Cooperating – I think about how I can work well with others so that we all reach our goals. I don’t try and take over or make decisions for others.
• Resolving conflict – When an argument develops, I try to find ways to stop or prevent it.
• Group decision-making – I listen to everyone’s opinion when making group decisions. I understand that the group decision may not be the same decision that I have. I understand that groups need to productively communicate together in order to work well.
• Participating in a variety of groups roles – I can successfully perform different roles within a group
• Listening – I make it a point to listen to other people in order to not only learn, but understand different perspectives
• Speaking – I speak clearly and respectfully to other people. I always use proper language when speaking.
• Reading – I read many different types of books, magazines, and articles. I choose level-appropriate books to read.
• Writing – I use the writing process to always produce my best work. I can write in many forms (narrative, expository, essay, short story, extended response, Spanish, Mandarin, etc.)
• Viewing – I look at many different things in order to discover my own understanding and perspective.
• Presenting – I use proper presentation skills in order to showcase my hard work. I can share my ideas and research with others in a clear and appropriate manner.
• Non-Verbal communication – I know that I can communicate with others through body language. I use proper manners and behavior when I am around other people.
• Acquisition of knowledge – I have a desire to gain ideas and knowledge. I know where to research and use my resources wisely.
• Comprehension – I can grasp the meaning of material that is presented to me through understanding and interpretation.
• Application – I can use acquired knowledge to apply in new and practical ways.
• Analysis – I can use big ideas in order to make connections.
• Synthesis – I can use many different types of information to create and innovate.
• Evaluation – I make judgments based on sound decisions to form inquiries.
• Dialectical thought – I understand both sides of the story and multiple perspectives in order to form my own understanding.
• Metacognition – I know my own learning style and am able to communicate this to those around me.
• Formulating questions – I ask relevant and compelling questions to research.
• Observing – I use all of my senses to notice important details, which will push my research to the next level.
• Planning – I develop action plans and outlines in order to produce the highest quality of work.
• Collecting Data – I know where and how to gather the most important information from many different types of resources.
• Recording Data – I record the information I find in an organized manner that I can refer back to.
• Organizing Data – I categorize and group information according to organized themes.
• Interpreting Data – I draw conclusions from my research and am able to understand what they mean and how it relates to the task at hand.
• Presenting research findings – Using proper writing and presentation techniques, I use effective communication via appropriate media to deliver my findings.
We believe it is vital to focus on the development of personal attitudes toward people, towards the environment and towards learning. These are the attitudes that students should demonstrate:
Appreciation – Appreciating the wonder and beauty of the world and its people
Commitment – Being committed to their learning, persevering and showing self-discipline and responsibility
Confidence – Feeling confident in one’s ability as learners, having the courage to take risks, apply what one has learned and making appropriate decisions and choices
Cooperation – Cooperating, collaborating and leading or following as the situation demands
Creativity – Being creative and imaginative in their thinking and in their approach to problems and dilemmas
Curiosity – Being curious about the nature of learning about the world, its people and cultures
Empathy – Imagining oneself in another’s situation in order to understand thoughts, reasoning emotions and reflect on the perspective of others.
Enthusiasm – Enjoying learning and willingly putting effort into the process.
Independence – Thinking and acting independently, making one’s own judgements based on reasonable principles and being able to defend one’s judgments
Integrity – Being honest and demonstrating a considered sense of fairness
Respect – Respecting oneself, others and the world around us
Tolerance – Being sensitive towards differences and diversity in the world and being respectful of the needs of others
Since we believe that education extends beyond the classroom, socially responsible and appropriate action taken by students is celebrated at the International School of Texas. An explicit expectation of the IB is that successful inquiry will lead to students taking action. At IST, we provide an atmosphere that allows students the opportunity to take action with and among themselves, the school, the community, and the world around them. Student-initiated action is paramount to providing an atmosphere that lends itself to promoting student empowerment.
The action students take looks different at each age level. These actions can be as basic as discussing their inquiries with their families. Actions can also hold a wider social impact of creating awareness among a community. Examples of student-initiated action at IST include: Creating signs to promote awareness, developing a school garden, donating materials for disaster relief and taking part in international service projects.
Students use the following Action Cycle to facilitate these actions.
IB Learner Profile
At the heart of the International School of Texas, we instill international mindedness into our daily life on campus. Our teachers and students focus on what it means to be a community of learners through the IB framework and our rigorous curriculum. Through the IB Learner Profile, our students and staff use a common language to describe and identify behaviors of successful learners, leaders, and global citizens. We strive to be Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-Minded, Caring, Risk-Takers, Balanced, and Reflective.
• Inquirers develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning, and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.
• Knowledgeable learners explore concepts, ideas, and issues that have local and global significance. In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.
• Thinkers exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions.
• Communicators understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.
• Principled learners act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice, and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups, and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.
• Open-Minded learners understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values, and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view and are willing to grow from the experience.
• Caring learners show empathy, compassion, and respect toward the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and they act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.
• Risk-Takers approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas, and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.
• Balanced learners understand the importance of intellectual, physical, and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.
• Reflective learners give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.