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The magazine of the International Baccalaureate

From child soldier to man of peace Ishmael Beah on his new life in New York City – and why education must be the key to Africa’s future

January 2013 | Issue 67


Working together How collaboration lets educators and students get the most from shared experience IBCC uncovered Now it’s up and running, we find out what teachers really think of the new programme

Welcome to the world of the IB

Around 3,500 schools in 143 countries now offer IB programmes. More than one million students are currently studying the International Baccalaureate® around the world. Here’s why the IB are the leaders in international education


elcome to January’s IB World, the official magazine of the International Baccalaureate. The IB offers four high-quality programmes of international education that share a powerful vision. Over 40 years, the programmes have gained a reputation for their academic and personal rigour, challenging students to excel in their studies and in their personal growth, and develop a lifelong quest for learning. The IB aspires to help schools develop well-rounded students with character who respond to challenges with optimism and an open mind, are confident in their own identities, make ethical decisions, join with others in celebrating our common humanity and are prepared to apply what they learn in real-world, complex and unpredictable situations. We now work with around 3,500 schools in 143 countries, delivering our programmes to more than one million students. The organization The IB is governed by a board that is representative of the main regions and stakeholder groups who make up the organization. It is managed by a director general and a team of almost 600

employees who work in offices around the world. The organization does not own or manage any schools. Instead, we work with schools around the world (both state and privately funded) that share our commitment to international education. Programmes Our programmes span the years from kindergarten to pre-university and can be offered individually or as a continuum. Each programme includes a curriculum and pedagogy, student assessment, professional development for teachers and school authorization and evaluation. Overall, the programmes are designed to: ● help students develop the attitudes and skills they need for both academic and personal success ● be student-centred, promoting personal challenge ● offer a broad curriculum with significant content ● explore globally significant ideas and issues The programmes encourage members of the IB learning community to be Inquirers, Thinkers, Principled, Risk-takers, Caring, Knowledgeable, Communicators, Open-minded, Balanced and Reflective.

International Baccalaureate ® | Baccalaureate International ® | Bachillerato Internacional ®

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) For pupils aged three to 12 years, the PYP focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside. The Middle Years Programme (MYP) For pupils aged 11 to 16, the MYP provides a framework of academic challenge that encourages students to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world. The IB Diploma Programme For students aged 16 to 19, this is an academically challenging programme with fi nal examinations that prepares students for success at university and beyond. The IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC) For students aged 16 to 19, the IBCC consists of DP courses studied alongside a unique IBCC core. The IBCC is designed to increase access to an IB education and provides a flexible learning framework tailored by the school, to meet the needs of their students and the wider community.

IB World Editor Robert Jeffery Managing Editor Sarah Dyson IB Editor Teresa Connell Staff Writer Cath Millman Production Editor Steph Wilkinson Designers Amy Hanbidge, Jenny Owen Picture Editors Dominique Campbell, Jenny Quiggin Thanks to Johnny Aldred, Alison Fordy, Grace Lewis Senior Account Manager Steph Allister Account Director Justine Loehry Group Art Director Martin Tullett Production Manager Keslyn Johnson Editorial Director Simon Kanter Managing Director, Haymarket Network Andrew Taplin Reproduction Haymarket Pre-press Printed by Wyndeham Heron, UK Published on behalf of IB by Haymarket Network, Teddington Studios, Broom Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 9BE, UK Tel +44 (0)208 267 5000 Fax +44 (0)208 267 5194 Cover photography Larry Ford

© International Baccalaureate Organization 2013. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced without prior permission of the publisher. Every care has been taken in the preparation of this magazine, but neither Haymarket Network nor the International Baccalaureate can be held responsible for the accuracy of the information therein, or any consequence arising from it. Views expressed by contributors may not reflect the views of Haymarket Network or the International Baccalaureate. The advertisement of products and services does not imply endorsement by either Haymarket Network or the IB. Prices and offers are correct at time of going to press and subject to change. All offers are subject to manufacturer’s terms and conditions.




January 2013



p 14 “If I hadn’t been to school and known that I could use my brain for other things I wouldn’t be here today”

Also in this issue

10 COVER STORY ISHMAEL BEAH Is there life after war? The child-soldierturned-author speaks out on the importance of positive action, the future of education in Africa and what the world should do next 14 BETTER TOGETHER How organizations are sharing ideas, collaborating on projects and supporting each other to accelerate learning

4 NEWS How the IB is helping students juggle sports with studies; the MYP offers philosophy for the first time; yoga gives learning more balance in Shanghai



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18 SOCIAL MEDIA SUSSED The likes of Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are not just good for home life. Here’s how you can expand your social media horizons


20 VOCATION-FOCUSED LEARNING The IB Career-related Certificate is a hit with students who want to specialize. We hear from four educators who teach it

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26 schools from 23 countries feature in this issue of IB World. To appear in the next issue...

email write to IB World, Haymarket Network, Teddington Studios, Broom Road, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 9BE, UK or call +44 (0)208 267 5114

22 PROFILE Star of stage and screen Ben Walden goes off-script with an experimental learning practice inspired by acting techniques 25 INSIGHT Music shouldn’t be just background noise – it can be harnessed across disciplines as a useful learning tool 26 COMMUNITY Coastal clean-ups teach valuable conservation lessons; eco-friendly lightbulbs that are made from rubbish 30 ALUMNUS Shanta Devarajan, Chief Economist at the World Bank in Africa, on his mission to end poverty

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Editor’s letter Whether listening to a young survivor of war drawing attention to the ongoing problems of those left behind, or a renowned economist at the head of an international banking organization, one thing that stands out loud and clear from this issue is that education is the key to the future of Africa. This can be said of many of the world’s developing countries, but is perhaps most poignant in those places where conflict and poverty stand in the way of progress – and just going to school is an achievement in itself. Our interview with Ishmael Beah on page 10 serves as a reminder of the suffering that many in the West are lucky enough to live in ignorance of, while the efforts of IB alumnus Shanta Devarajan (page 30) offer hope that education can teach those most in need how to leave poverty behind. The IB is working all over the world to provide access to education and to teach people to think for themselves. On page 14 we look at how collaboration can help both IB students and teachers learn from each other as they strive to discover more about the world we live in. Robert Jeffery, Editor

How to subscribe You can save 75% on the cover price of IB World with a bulk subscription of 50 copies – or 16% with a single subscription costing UK£15 or US$30. To find out more, visit or call +44 (0)1795 592 981. To advertise in IB World, contact 4 IBWorld

news Top athletes can be top of the class too A pilot scheme being introduced in IB World Schools – in collaboration with the World Academy of Sport – could make all the difference, says Olympian George Nash


orld-class rower George Nash knows all about how tough it is to excel at sport while not sacrificing your education. The London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist has represented his country since the age of 16, winning the World Junior Championships in 2007, and says he identifies with young students today, who are trying to balance their strict training with their studies. “It’s tough to train hard every day to achieve your goal as an athlete,” he says, “but it’s even tougher to try to balance it with academic studies.” Traditionally, sporting excellence has risked a high academic price tag as students juggle the competing demands of studying and training. In fact, according to analysis by the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme, a top athlete currently misses a month of the school year to compete in sport. But all that is set to change, thanks to a new initiative for young elite athletes studying the IB. The World Academy of Sport is teaming up with the IB to support promising athletes, and ensure they get the right balance of sport and academic learning, plus access to the best training facilities. The first students will be accepted onto the pilot course – which is open to both able-bodied and disabled athletes – at Sotkamon lukio and Oulun Lyseon lukio schools in Finland in August. In the past, having the added pressure of

training sessions on top of schoolwork has caused many students to rethink their career pathways or even drop out of school altogether. This pilot project will give exceptional athletes more flexibility so they can complete their studies while chasing their dreams, with the IB Diploma Programme delivered flexibly over a period of three or four years, to fit around training schedules. George, for one, is certain that this scheme will have a positive effect. “A programme that understands the demands on an athlete in and out of the classroom and helps them to succeed in both is a rare and incredibly valuable thing,” he says. “Sport is a great way for students to show other areas of strength,” adds Fiona Clark, the IB’s Curriculum Manager for Sports, Exercise and Health Science as well as Chemistry, Environmental Systems and Societies. “It fits in well with the IB because the learner profile can also apply to sports. You see a new side to students when they are on the playing field – it’s great to see.” This new setup allows young sports men and women to study courses and content from the two-year IB Diploma Programme over a three- or four-year period to fit around their training schedules and travel commitments. They will graduate high school with IB certificates, which will open up numerous pathways in the future. One school that’s welcoming the initiative

George Nash (near left) has successfully combined sport with study

School Report Changsha WES Academy (CWA), Hunan Province, China Founded 1 September 2010 Programmes IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) Students 3-11 years Motto Where a love of learning grows, we grow Website

Student Reinis Jansons skiing at Sotkamon lukio (left); Tom Daley (above) studied while training

is Plymouth College. This successful IB World School, attended by many elite athletes, including Olympic diver Tom Daley – who studied A-levels there alongside Diploma Programme students – acknowledges that this would help their athletes, who are under tremendous pressure to reconcile their training and academic studies. Meanwhile, François Carrard, Chairman of the World Academy of Sport International

Advisory Board, points to the value of academic qualifications in the longer term: “We will continue to encourage sporting bodies to support this initiative so we can help as many athletes as possible gain access to an education which will provide them with excellent career prospects when they retire from competitive sport.” Schools interested in being part of the pilot phase can email

Focus on the PYP

Qi Heng/Corbis; Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images; Shutterstock

Routine review will ensure programme stays successful and relevant for all concerned How well is the Primary Years Programme (PYP) working? That’s what a review being conducted this year as part of a regular process of assessment seeks to discover. Working with a range of different schools and locations, it will use a variety of means to gauge how successful the offering is for everyone involved, including teachers, students and parents. “It’s always important to maintain the quality and

relevance of the curriculum,” says Helen Barrett, Head of PYP Development. “We’d like schools to engage in the opportunities we’ll be presenting over the next 12 months, including surveys, focus groups and research.” PYP has been established for 15 years and has been highly successful, with 960 schools in around 40 countries. “PYP is very popular and this review is to secure its success for the future by making sure it’s still relevant today,” says Helen. “We

would like schools to engage in any opportunities we will be offering. Everyone’s viewpoint counts so stay tuned this year for any requests we put out to IB World Schools.”

Changsha WES Academy may have only been established a few years ago but the first and only international school in Hunan Province, China, has already attracted pupils representing 15 different nationalities. “At CWA, we focus on the development of international-mindedness and celebrate the various backgrounds of our students and faculty,” says Bianca Koster, PYP Coordinator and mother of one of the students. As well as running after-school activities, CWA opens its doors to the community, offering toddler groups, soccer and yoga classes. “Parents play an important role in fostering our CWA community,” Bianca says. Changsha WES Academy offers classes from an Early Years Programme up to a combined fourth and fifth grade, and is currently developing its IB programme to challenge students through interactive teaching methods. A Co-Curricular Programme for grades three and above offers activities such as Chinese Cultural and Historical Studies and Art and Needlecraft Club. “Our curriculum is designed to teach the students how to learn and develop a lifelong love of learning – all within a culture of respect and inquiry into the varieties of people throughout the world,” Bianca says, a sentiment that resonates with the school motto: ‘Where a love of learning grows, we grow’. In the two years since it was founded, CWA has been recognized as a PYP Candidate School and accepted as a member of the Council of International Schools (CIS). “We hope CWA will be successful on our road to IB Authorization and are working to achieve a high level of IB/PYP education,” says Bianca.

CWA children: growing as they learn

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news GLOBAL ENGAGE How the IB community engages with global issues through inquiry, action, and critical reflection. Find resources and share your school’s story at

Stories bring learning to life A new series of stories from IB World Schools will be available soon on the OCC website. These learning stories from the IB Continuum are about IB World Schools that are actively promoting inquiry, action and reflection in unique and interesting ways. The stories will represent a range of IB programme standards and practices and focus on four key areas supported by the Continuum Development Team: inclusion, multiple-programme schools, language and learning and global engagement. “These are real-life cases of good practice,” says Continuum Development Curriculum Manager Robert Harrison. “We hope schools will be inspired by these learning stories, and perhaps look for ways to develop their own.” With background information, cultural contexts and additional resources, this new resource series will provide insight into some of the strategies IB World Schools are developing to meet the challenges of delivering highquality education. The stories will include video interviews, excerpts from student work and other first-hand reports. The first story features International School Manila, Phillipines, site of the 2012 Global Issues Network conference sponsored by EARCOS (East Asia Region Council of Schools), and future stories will cover language policies in Vienna, students with special needs in Swaziland, inclusive education in Mexico and the role of librarians in developing intercultural understanding. Look for these resources on the OCC and in IB professional development workshops.

Wellington College

In brief World Student Conferences ‘Thinking globally’ was the theme of a series of World Student Conferences (WSC) that took 6 IBWorld

Challenging but rewarding: MYP students get to grips with philosophy

Getting the MYP thinking It’s never too early for students to start tackling life’s big questions, as the successful adoption of philosophy as a humanities subject in the Middle Years Programme proves “The unexamined life is not worth living,” Socrates once said, and now MYP students are sharing in that exploration. To give them a more rounded educational experience, IB World Schools are offering the opportunity to study philosophy. Studying philosophy encourages students to use reasoning to discuss everyday subjects such as childhood obesity or faith schools. But with complex theories and abstract concepts, is this subject too hard for such young children? UK’s Wellington College, which introduced the MYP in 2011, certainly doesn’t think so. Head of Philosophy and Religion Dr Guy Williams says: “Philosophy is challenging and our students found it to be quite difficult at first. Towards the end of the course, however, the students discovered that they really understood the difference between weaker and stronger philosophical writing; the quality of some answers was truly outstanding.” Danielle Veilleux, MYP Curriculum and Assessment Manager for Arts, Humanities and

place during 2012. Students from all over the world were able to experience this for themselves, at conferences in Spain and Canada. They encountered a broad mix of cultures and were able to form new friendships as they explored ways to a better and more peaceful world. Both events provided 561 students

Personal Project, says the subject is highly relevant to the metacognitive development of the 11- to 16-year-old student. “It’s great for self-awareness,” she says. “Students who choose to study philosophy at this age will be encouraged to ask questions about the world around them and discuss their sense of self.” The MYP is designed to make sure students are prepared for studying subjects at a higher level. There are currently over 3,000 students taking philosophy as part of the Diploma Programme, and this number is going up all the time. “It’s definitely growing in popularity,” says DP Philosophy Curriculum Manager Jenny Gillett. “Employers and universities are increasingly recognizing and valuing the skills philosophy develops, such as critical thinking.” “Students with a philosophical training are flexible and undogmatic thinkers,” says Guy. “Conversations with parents at Wellington suggest that they understand this very well and value the education we are providing.”

from over 50 countries with an exceptional opportunity to develop their leadership skills and international understanding. In June, July and August of 2013, IB students will again have the chance to participate in any of four IB World Student Conferences taking place in the USA, Canada, the UK, and Hong Kong. The five-day conferences

provide those who attend with a unique opportunity to build meaningful, lasting relationships, as well as develop a greater global awareness and problem-solving skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. This year invitations are open to those studying the IB Careerrelated Certificate (IBCC) as well as the Diploma Programme.


Luis Angel Alfaro Allende, MYP Science Teacher, Peruvian North American Abraham Lincoln School, Lima, Peru Tell us about your career… I’m a teacher and I principally work with children from MYP and DP school years. I teach science, specializing in chemistry for MYP to DP.

What’s the best part of your job? The interaction with the children and the satisfaction of knowing that what I’m teaching will be significant to their lives. What’s your proudest moment? Apart from being a teacher in an IB World School, I work in the Faculty of Education at the Universidad Nacional Mayor San Marcos. Preparing some of the teachers at school for work at the university was very gratifying. How has cross-disciplinary work improved the way you teach? Quite a lot. It helps the pupils understand that everything is related within school and beyond. For example, how chemistry, the course I teach, can be applied to daily life. Which teaching aid is most useful to you? I use a lot of books from the library, and IB books or texts recommended by the IB or other useful sources, like Pearson. What are your main teaching challenges? Making my pupils understand the reality of what they’re learning. Sometimes they don’t see the importance of how my course relates to others areas. Also, the prerequisites needed to study chemistry, such as needing a basic understanding of mathematics, can complicate the learning process. How do you inspire your students? I always stimulate them to achieve what they can in the future, through their knowledge of chemistry. Elsewhere, the things we learn on the course allow the students to understand many phenomena and actions that happen in everyday life – such as, for example, the correct way to make lemonade! What are the things you would like to achieve in the future? I would like to carry on sharing my teaching experiences with IB teachers and learn more about my profession. I would also like to be a PAI IB moderator, which I consider to be an important area to continue learning.

New global centre in Singapore The third and final IB global centre is now open, following the opening of those in The Hague, The Netherlands, in October 2011, and in Bethesda, Maryland, USA in August 2010. According to IB Director General Jeff Beard, “This represents another step forward in our strategic plan to build a sustainable, responsible and

Standing old ideas on their head How yoga can bring new thinking As a yoga enthusiast and teacher at Shanghai Community International School, Kassi Cowles is providing a few hours of calm for her busy students each week. A mix of girls and boys from 17 to 18 years of age have elected to take part in yoga sessions after school. “Students can be under a lot of pressure and Shanghai is a crazy, intense city. This is a great way to find stillness,” explains Kassi, who began doing yoga in her 20s. “One of the most powerful ideas of yoga practice is that if we make space in the body, we can make space in the mind,” she says. “Students are encouraged to explore their capacity for balance, both physical and mental, as well as open-mindedness, risk-taking, caring and inquisitiveness as they move through their practice.” Kassi believes that yoga can also give students a much more rounded school experience and help them to explore the IB learner profile in a completely new way.

A student learns balance in the ‘tree’ posture

“Students are used to writing reflective statements, but the self-reflection that corresponds with a disciplined yoga practice may go much deeper,” she says. Kassi hopes to fully integrate yoga into school life and use it as a learning tool in other lessons. “Ultimately, I hope to offer them a quiet place to practice self-reflection, balance, focus and humility so they can be less biased and more open TOK students,” she says.

Celebrating 50 years of UWC Supporters, students, teachers and alumni of UWC have been celebrating half a century of learning, collaboration and understanding. Members of the global organization – which focuses on peace, sustainability and international understanding through education – have been taking part in special events designed to have a positive social impact. These events range from volunteering in a military hospital in Colombia

efficient organization for the future.” Singapore houses the IB’s AsiaPacific operations, which cover 27 countries. The centre will provide on-the-ground assistance to its schools in the region. With an expected worldwide community of 10,000 IB World Schools by the year 2020, these new centres are opening in preparation for significant growth.

to giving out ‘free hugs’ in Shanghai. “This is an opportunity to reflect on what’s been achieved over 50 years, and think ahead to the future,” says the UWC’s Executive Director Keith Clark. “Our mission is probably even more relevant today than it was 50 years ago, and has proved it’s hugely adaptable to the changing world.” Since UWC Atlantic College opened in Wales in 1962, there are now 12 UWC schools and colleges

Competition: movies that matter Calling all aspiring young film directors: IB students now have the opportunity to turn their talents towards promoting some of the IB’s key values in a new and interesting way. Students are invited to create a film that has academic honesty as its central theme, promoting issues such as fairness, integrity, and respect for

around the world, and more than 50,000 students from more than 180 countries have studied at UWC schools and colleges or taken part in their programmes.

individuals, groups and communities. As well as receiving a letter of recognition from the Director General of the IB, the winning film maker will receive an awards trophy/plaque and will be interviewed exclusively in IB World magazine. The closing date for entries is 30 June 2013. Find out more and submit your entry at IBWorld 7

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Selected materials for forward-thinking educators

BOOKS Backyard Biology: Investigate Habitats Outside Your Door with 25 Projects (Nomad Press)

Make exciting discoveries about plants and animal life using the backyard as a laboratory. Readers will engage in the scientific process as they watch yeast blow up a balloon, test seed growth in different soils, prepare and nurture a habitat for bugs and make an edible coral reef. As well as encouraging investigation and practical learning, this book also explains how our actions can harm the living things around us, and what we can do to protect backyard habitats.

politics, and economy of every nation. With plenty of insight and interesting debate, Albert Marrin’s new book explores what oil is and the role it plays in our lives, from creating fortunes to starting wars to heating our homes.

The Wonders Collection Starring Brian Cox (BBC)

This four-disc collection brings together two fascinating documentary series presented by Professor Brian Cox. Witness giant ice fountains; an ocean hidden beneath a crust of ice; red storms twice the size of our planet, and immense volcanoes that could rip a planet apart. China – Dynasties and Mysteries

(Random House)

(History Channel)

China’s ancient history is full of secrets and intrigue, with mystical legends and fascinating stories. Explore two of China’s most


WEBSITES Scientific American (scientific

APPS Graphing Calculator (Free from iTunes)


Black Gold: The Story of Oil in Our Lives Like a giant machine, our world simply would not function without oil. It influences every aspect of modern life, shaping the society,

famous ancient wonders: the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden Palace. This DVD lifts the veil of secrecy.

This graphing calculator with highresolution plotter will bring data to life on the go. Plot and trace multiple equations on the same graph or use it as a scientific calculator.

Every Thursday, Scientific American features a fun, new, science-related activity that adults and their six- to 12-yearolds can do together. With easyto-follow instructions and simple materials lists as well as additional background to help them explain the key concepts, bringing science to life has never been simpler.

NASA App (Free from iTunes)

Browse an extensive selection of images, videos and news from various online NASA sources and keep up to date with the latest missions in a convenient mobile package. On this day... The stylish Event Calendar (US$0.99 from iTunes)

Find out historic events for every day with this easy-to-use app.

Stuff Your Rucksack (stuffyour

If you are travelling to a developing region, this site provides information about how you can help local people, and what they might need. So far, Stuff Your Rucksack travellers have carried everything from school uniforms and fairy wings to vest tops and 20kg bags across the globe, so they could give organizations the tools they need to change lives.


Learning through lyrics

Collaboration is a big theme in this issue, and the video calling service Skype has loads of features that can help, many of them for free. For instance, teachers can go to to find another class around the world that’s looking at similar subjects, and link up with them. With Skype credits you can even call mobiles and landlines from a mobile, computer or tablet, and use all of Skype’s features as part of lessons or to connect with educators and academics. For your chance to win, email with your name and school name before 1 March 2013. The winners will be selected at random in an independently supervised draw from all entries received before the deadline.

It’s already close to the hearts of every IB student – but could the IB learner profile one day make an unlikely bid for chart success? Teachers at the International School of Tanganyika in Tanzania are setting the IB’s guiding principles to music, creating an unofficial anthem that has captured students’ imagination. Music Teacher Stephanie Brook has taken an existing learner profile song and is helping her students add their own verses. The students are learning the song, with actions.

“I am excited about the understanding students will gain through this project as we expand it,” she says. “I hope it can be carried on in future.” You can see the sheet music at sheet-music/

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Ishmael Beah

“If I hadn’t gone to school, I wouldn’t be here today” When civil war seized Sierra Leone, Ishmael Beah’s parents were killed – and at 13 he became a child soldier. Now a resident of New York, he’s dedicated to helping others learn from his experience, as Robert Jeffery finds out


sk Ishmael Beah where he comes from and he will tell you: New York. But few of the people he meets during his everyday existence as a student in the Big Apple could guess what took place in his harrowing, complex and ultimately inspiring past. Born in the sprawling Southern Province of Sierra Leone, Beah’s unremarkable childhood was shattered by the outbreak of civil war. Separated from his parents and two brothers, who were later killed, he ended up as one of the country’s 7,000 child soldiers, fighting for government forces against rebel insurgents in one of Africa’s bloodiest conflicts. At 17, he was rescued by UNICEF and taken to the US. After four years of horror (“Somebody being shot in front of you, or you yourself shooting somebody, became like drinking a glass of water”, he recalls), Beah began the long process of acclimatizing to Western life and overcoming his trauma. He studied economics at university and took creative writing classes. His experiences would be turned into a memoir which was published

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in 2007 as A LongWay Gone and became a global sensation that captivated young people and sold more than 700,000 copies. The book made Beah an unofficial spokesperson for the campaign against child soldiers, but also drew criticism: an Australian newspaper claimed the 27-year-old author was patchy on the detail of his life in Africa, including the length of time he spent fighting. Beah’s publishers provided a detailed defence of his work, but the criticism still rankled. Today, however, Beah faces the future with confidence. While he works on more books and continues his studies, he travels regularly to Africa as an ambassador for UNICEF and continues to raise awareness of the use of child soldiers. IB World caught up with him in New York, to ask how he found hope in such desperate circumstances. You’ve visited one of the world’s poorest countries, the Central African Republic. Did you have a particular mission? I spoke to rebel groups to try to negotiate the release of children who had been fighting,

Photography: Larry Ford

cover story

Ishmael Beah and spent time with the children themselves. I took them copies of the French translation of my book, read them a few chapters and they asked me questions about it. They knew who I was and there was a direct kinship because of that – they were able to talk to me about things they might not have felt comfortable talking to other people about. They wanted to understand whether what they were going through was something they would be able to move beyond. It was easier talking to somebody like me, who has been through the same experiences. There’s a deep frustration because you are waiting for something to happen, for your life to move along, and you are also left with the memories of everything that happened to you, everything you saw. How do you make sense of the very difficult things you’ve been through? As you get older, you have to learn to live with your experiences, how to refocus and put them into context. Somebody asked me what’s more real to me: the life I have now, or the life I had as a boy soldier. Actually, being a soldier is more real to me than this life because I never imagined that I would have what I have now. Every now and then I shake my head and say ‘wow’ at the things I am doing and the places I am going. But what happened then… it happened. There’s no point trying to rationalize it, you just have to move on.

Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

There’s a whole generation of young people whose lives have been reduced to whether they can live to see the next hour How can you expect young people to relate to what you’ve been through? When you try to move it into a human context – what it means to lose somebody, what it means to not have something functioning in your life – young people can relate to it because they can imagine what it’s like. It makes them appreciate what they have and what it would feel like to lose it. What it’s like to be a child who loses their mother, loses everything they have and then has to just wander around… a lot of young people will try to put themselves in that position. They can understand how fortunate some of us (and I include myself in this) are to have the lives we do. Sometimes you can forget that. Whether it’s having hot water to take a shower or being able to have a future, to think ‘in five years I’m going to go to school’ or whatever. There is a whole generation of young people who don’t have that opportunity because their whole lives have been reduced to whether they can live to see the next hour. They can’t think about a future. 12 IBWorld

Ishmael is an ambassador for UNICEF and has campaigned against the use of children as soldiers

cover story Do you resent people around you now who have relatively privileged lives? I was a bit angry at first, but I realize that what I needed to do was find a way to educate the people I came across about where I came from. People didn’t know about Sierra Leone, so if I met someone in the United States I would have to describe it in terms of Liberia, which they might understand. So my frustration turned into a desire to educate people. But my generation, with the internet, they are more savvy… they can find out about places quicker. There is still a tremendous need for people to understand the African continent and stop generalizing about it. The mainstream media often say ‘it’s just one of those countries where those things happen’ but wars don’t just start out of nowhere. There’s serious planning that goes into it. What was it like having people casting doubt on the veracity of your story? First of all, if the book hadn’t been successful nobody would have questioned it. And the publishers don’t just print a book and put it out there – they fact-check it and they verify it. If you publish an excerpt in the NewYork Times, like we did, the paper also fact-checks it. Of course, I never took pictures or made notes: I was a kid running from the war and I never thought I would write a book. Possibly people thought that nobody could survive an experience like that and be sane or have a life. It all goes against what people expected from somebody like me, and so they questioned it. I feel I have answered those questions now. Some of them were ridiculous. People said: “We don’t think your village exists, because it’s not on a map.” But the last map of Sierra Leone was made in the 1960s and new villages start up all the time. Journalists have been there and they have seen the town. It just makes me laugh now.

What was your early education like? Because of where I grew up, we didn’t have a huge breadth of books but we had a few. One book I do remember was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. I was in primary school and the teacher would read from it because we only had one copy. I remember Jim Hawkins being such a strong character; I loved that stuff. And then there was Shakespeare. Because Sierra Leone was a former British colony, we all learned English and it was very prestigious if your child could recite a few lines of Shakespeare.Your parents would be very proud of you. “Friends, Romans, countrymen/Lend me your ears”... we’d quote Macbeth, Julius Caesar, all that

I want to change the idea that you can just give some money and say ‘I helped x or y.’ We need to go beyond that stuff. Later on, I loved George Orwell. Because of my early upbringing I developed a strong love for language – I used to read the dictionary for fun to learn new words. What can young Africans expect from their schooling today? I am optimistic, but at the same time we need to refocus the education system. Some people want to get an education and go to school, but others think: ‘If I went to school, what would I do with it?’ There’s a need for a more informal system of education, and for teaching the sort of entrepreneurial skills people need. People need to see there are other career choices than the traditional ones: they want to be a doctor or a lawyer, but if they learned to use a computer they could do more for themselves and their country. People

in Africa see education as a way to make money but it is also a way to find out more about yourself and your place in humanity. When I came out of the war all I knew how to do was fight, and if I hadn’t been in school and known that I could use my brain for other things I wouldn’t be here today. What can the world learn from Africa? Because of Africa’s history, you have a lot of people there who are looking out and looking for hope elsewhere. The only way they can see themselves prospering is to go somewhere else. But what Africa has in abundance is simplicity, patience and resilience. There is also a lot of intelligence, but what’s lacking is opportunities for naturally intelligent people. They don’t believe in their own capacities because of the situation they are in. And then there are environmental issues. In Sierra Leone, because we didn’t have electricity or a refrigerator, every morning we went to the market and got what we needed to cook that day. Everything was fresh and natural.You’d go to the farmer and buy a potato or cassava and then you’d go to the guy who’d just been fishing so you could get some fish. Taking care of the land is a very African culture. People respect the land – they let it breathe and grow. And finally, what can young people do? For my generation, I want to change the idea that you just give some money and then you can say ‘I helped x or y’. We need to go beyond that. Read about the issue, find out about it and really think about what you can give that can help – not just money, but also your skill sets. Sometimes that is more valuable than money. That’s such a change of idea, to give people something that doesn’t have a monetary value. Expose yourself to the world as deeply as possible and find out how you can contribute to it.

Writing the wrongs It is often said that everyone has a book in them. For many, the act of writing can actually help them move forward in life. So what prompted Ishmael Beah to put his ideas down on paper? “When I went to university, I took a few creative writing courses,” he explains. “There was a competition for a short story, where you could win US$3,000. I was a student with no money, so I thought I would give it a try. I wrote a story called At Noon, which was about when I left the war and I was in Freetown, the capital city. When the rebels reached the city, if you tried to cook food they would see the smoke and would come to your house

and take it from you. But every day at noon, this fighter jet would come and bomb their strongholds. That’s when they would go into hiding, so we could all come out and cook our food. I won the competition, and one of the professors said I had some talent and offered to be a mentor to me if I wanted to write some more.” Encouraged by this, Ishmael started to commit his experiences to paper as a way of organizing his thoughts. “I wrote more and more and by the time I graduated I had the book,” he says. “I was asked to show it to an editor, who showed it to a publisher. I never intended it to happen.” He also found it an excellent way to

deal with his past. “It helped a lot,” he says. “When I started writing, it was the first time I had gone into the pain I felt. I hadn’t spoken to anyone about a lot of it. I had to be part of those experiences again and it helped me understand certain things.” So would he recommend it to others? “A lot of young people with similar experiences started writing after I did. I think they were afraid before. And when I went out to speak, I had people with all sorts of different experiences of war coming up to me. I remember a Vietnam veteran who said: “I gave your book to my son so he could understand why I didn’t want to speak about certain things”.

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Clear As Mud/Folio Art.


Seeing the world through different eyes When organizations link up and share their ideas for the future, learning can accelerate at a previously unfathomable pace


“ t is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too),” said Charles Darwin, “those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” There’s something deeply ingrained in the human race, it seems, that means we can achieve more when sharing ideas and supporting one another. And with an everexpanding global community of thousands of schools, plus a wide range of technology suited to the purpose, it’s never been easier to collaborate with people who have the same interests, ambitions and priorities. But what are the obstacles, and how does it bring real benefits to students? IB Coordinator and Assistant Headmaster of the Prague British School (PBS) Alex Klaiss feels getting together makes perfect sense. “Collaboration is important because it’s a great time saver and helps build the confidence of individual schools,” he says. “We are normally seen as being in competition with one another, but they are not our opponents, they are our teammates.” With this spirit of collaboration at its heart, a network of schools in the Czech Republic is working together to learn from and support one another. Alex’s PBS is working alongside the English International School of Prague, as well as Riverside School, International School of Prague, Open Gate School, the English College in Prague and the First International School of Ostrava to organize and run workshops for teachers in specific subject groups. The IB Coordinators meet at least once a year to discuss issues concerning the IB in general. “Discussing strategies on mock exam preparation and marking has been a really important element,” says Alex. “With better access to other teachers, we now know each other personally so if we have a question we can just contact someone directly.”

Alex is also a university counsellor, and keeps other schools in the loop about entrance exams, university fairs and visits, applications, personal statements and references. “It’s great that we can now share our ideas more easily,” says Alex. “Before, we were all much more isolated.” The schools have also been able to save money by working together. “For example,” says Alex, “we needed a trainer to come in and show us how to take pictures of students’ Visual Arts work and upload them to be assessed. Instead of hiring different people to come into each school, we have decided to share one trainer and split the cost, including things like the trainer’s travel and hotel expenses.” This sharing of resources is an approach that’s also integral to the approach of the IB Educator Network, or IBEN. This network of professionals gets involved in IB World School activities and events all over the world in a bid to share expertise and examples of best practises. According to retired teacher Sarah Balkum, IBEN is “a fabulous network of professionals who are dedicated to providing an education to children that is meaningful and relevant.” As part of her 40-year teaching career in North Carolina, USA, Sarah has 10 years’ experience teaching PYP. She retired last year but decided to continue her IBEN duties, as she’s keen to carry on learning: “IBEN revived my passion and energized me. When we as educators stop growing and learning, the learning of the students suffers.”

“It’s great that we can now share our ideas more easily. Before, we were all much more isolated”

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For those who can spare some time, IBEN offers a rich professional experience. Members can commit as much or as little time as they like with a minimum of two assignments a year. Activities include mentoring other teachers, visiting schools, leading workshops, reading and checking official documents, invigilating exams and sitting in on lessons. As a Field Representative, Workshop Leader and Site Visitor, Sarah certainly keeps herself busy. “As a retiree, I really enjoy maintaining the contact with other professionals. It keeps me on my toes. I stay updated with all the latest IB procedures, maintain my understanding and keep on top of my game.” A common denominator Fabián Valiño, Head of Mathematics at Colegio de Todos Los Santos in Argentina, sees the IBEN as a great opportunity to learn new skills: “Each year of experience is new growth,” he says. “It’s a constant search for meaningful ways of teaching, aligned with the effective construction of knowledge in a changing, challenging and demanding world.” He has been involved in many aspects of mathematics education, such as looking at creative ways to work collaboratively in groups, and finding ways to improve assessments and evaluations. When moderating internal assessments Fabián has had the chance to research how students communicate ideas; not only through mathematical concepts, but proving the step they took to reach a conclusion. “I have understood that teaching mathematics is a secondary activity, while teaching communication techniques and methodological tools should be the main course for this specific requirement,” he says. Of all his duties, leading workshops has always been his favourite activity. “In those meetings we understand that our own fears, doubts and uncertainties are the common denominator for the whole group of participants attending the workshop,” he says. “By the end of the activity, everybody feels that ‘the monster’ was not as frightening as we had imagined and again, a new group is ready to apply all that they have learned in the classroom.” Sarah agrees that workshops make for some great teaching. “The real positive is that teachers learn skills they can carry back to their schools,” she says. “These techniques can be used for all ages.” But what are the essential ingredients required for collaborations to be successful? According to Veronica Boix Mansilla, a Principal Investigator at Project Zero – an educational research group at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard 16 IBWorldWorld

What makes a great collaboration? Five qualities you’ll need to make sure you come together and stick together

parties and work out what they needed to happen. You need to look at the world through their eyes too.

Willingness to learn IBEN is all about learning new skills and experiencing new things. Working in the classroom all day everyday can feel isolating at times. Great collaborators avoid getting in a rut by asking questions and seeing how other schools and professionals are working. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

Honesty and openness Sharing research and opinions involves a good deal of trust. The IB can now tap into the vast knowledge and experience of The Aga Khan Development Network thanks to the strong bond that the organizations have forged.

Understanding the needs of others IB’s collaboration with Project Zero is a fantastic success because everyone involved took the time to research the other

Students work together at Prague British School

“The real positive is that teachers learn skills they can carry back to their own schools”

Ambition and motivation A problem shared is a problem halved. So providing that tasks are delegated fairly and everyone understands what’s expected of them, an interdisciplinary team can always afford to think big – just ask the bilingual debaters at Taipei European School (see right).

Clear aims and objectives Whether it’s a long-term goal, such as improving the quality of education in international schools in Prague, or a more short-term goal, like creating a piece of coursework using the expertise of two different organizations, a great collaborator can not only work towards their goal but share it with others, and lead them to success as well.

University – common ground is vital. “One of the most important aspects of a successful collaboration is that it’s grounded in a shared philosophy,” she says. “Both Project Zero and the IB think about education as a means for improving society.” Project Zero works to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in arts, humanistic and scientific disciplines in institutions. When the IB and Project Zero came together to work on a collaboration, it was a win-win situation. Veronica spent time going to IB World Schools and seeking out best practice, including examples of cutting-edge inter-disciplinary teaching and learning. Her collaboration with IB colleagues led in 2006 to the IB producing the first guide to MYP Teaching & Learning, which concentrates on the standards of inter-disciplinary learning. Rather than being prescriptive, the material is rooted in a range of examples. Project Zero and IB colleagues visited classrooms all round the world, documented practices and presented them back to teachers. “This guide puts us at the cutting edge and allows continuous dialogue,” says Malcolm Nicolson, Head of MYP. The ongoing collaboration with Project Zero – the guide is already being updated – has brought in expertise from those who have experience and can spot and collect best practice and has been mutually beneficial for both parties, as the best collaborations should be. It reflects and formalizes what is already taking place in IB World Schools and allows both teachers and researchers to benefit from the results.


Sean Rock; AKDN

“I’m proud that IB teachers have gained access to frontier knowledge about interdisciplinary instruction,” says Veronica. “When we started out, there was very little understanding of what constituted success in inter-disciplinary teaching and learning.” “The biggest impact has been clearing up misconceptions,” explains Malcolm. “Project Zero gave us three very important principles: that learning should be grounded in the discipline, it must be purposeful and it must be meaningful.” Another official IB partnership that has begun to bear fruit is with The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The IB and AKDN share common ground in the shape of humanitarian and educational aims. The AKDN works to improve the welfare and prospects of people in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Africa, and is creating 18 Academies in developing countries. So far, two are up and running: one in Mombasa, Kenya, and another in Hyderabad, India. They teach IB programmes and have a curriculum that was developed from mutual understanding. “Not only does the IB give us flexibility and freedom, its guiding principles align with our own,” says Alexandra Holland, Curriculum Development Manager of The Aga Khan Academies. “By bringing elements of both sides together, we create units of work that benefit everyone. We are educating children to become future leaders and help improve the quality of life for their families and communities in the future.” In return for sharing educational expertise, the IB is getting a unique insight into AKDN’s humanitarian work, explains Curriculum Manager Robert Harrison. “It opens the door to use all AKDN’s expertise and rich, real-world experience as part of the IB curriculum,” he says. At an international event in Zanzibar, AKDN created a piece of work to develop students’ understanding of Muslim concepts – not just religious teachings, but the culture as a whole. This led to a paper and then a curriculum booklet that will benefit PYP and MYP classes worldwide. “What’s interesting to me is the ability to take the experiences of the AKDN and show a more nuanced portrayal of the developing world,” says Alexandra. “I hope that we can draw on our experiences and provide access to a wider range of examples.” Collaboration breeds courage Veronica of Harvard’s Project Zero would like to see even more collaboration, and is looking for more IB World Schools to work with. However, she believes it’s more important to seek out relevant links than to force connections for the sake of it. Sometimes unofficial or less formal collaborations are the most effective way: “Most of all, there are no rules – don’t go looking for a magic formula,” she says.

Collaborating can also give schools the courage and support to take on ambitious projects. Veronica believes it’s extremely important that schools and school systems try new things. “Teachers must become very reflective of their own practice, and not just think that because they’ve always done something a certain way that’s how they have to continue doing it.”

“Learning must be grounded in the discipline, it must be purposeful and it must be meaningful”

AKDN schools thrive on collaboration (students at The Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa are pictured above and below)

Success in any language When teachers, students, coordinators and parents at the Taipei European School organized a Chinese-English Bilingual Debate Tournament, the event brought six teams from Hong Kong IB World Schools and eight teams from local Taiwanese schools together for the first time to compete in two languages. Flora Sung, Head of Chinese Language and Culture at Taipei European School in Taiwan, says: “To organize an event within the same school is not easy; to develop a road less travelled and work with several different schools is very challenging.” Setting innovative ideas in motion can be tricky, she says. “The schools we approached were hesitant at first because people had doubts about jamming two languages into the same debate. But once a good number had signed up to take part, students and teachers rose to the challenge. The event was a success and gave everyone involved the chance to hear opinions and arguments from students with different backgrounds. “The debaters and adjudicators were not only convinced but have considered it an inspiring and rewarding experience in the long run,” says Flora. “Teachers were amazed to witness how much progress their students made in only two days.” This is a familiar story the world over – once people understand what’s expected and are inspired to get involved, there is no limit to what can be achieved. Collaborating with other faculties, schools and organizations should come as second nature to teachers. School life is about working together – teachers are natural collaborators and are very organized too. Proving that collaboration works is a great lesson for students, too. Rachel Chen, an IB candidate at Taipei European School who took part in the bilingual debate says, “I learned that language can be a very powerful tool. As the future generation, it is our responsibility to sustain these national and international connections.” On the other side of the world, Fabián has come to the same conclusion: “Collaborations open up a new world for any teacher who believes that our main purpose is to create a better world to live in,” he says. IBWorld 17



Life skills

“Younger children can learn about social media in safety”

IB World Schools are using technology to collaborate with their peers across the globe, sharing ideas and bringing their projects to life


Research skills

“Twitter helps us keep in touch with what’s going on around us” Who? New International School (NIST) Where? Thailand What? Twitter Twitter is a more ‘professional’ resource, says Sam Sherratt, a Year 6 Teacher at NIST. “Students are able to connect with real


Problem solving

“It’s a great brainstorming tool whenever we get stuck” Who? PYPEAN Where? East Asia What? Secure online wiki PYP schools in Japan are members of the PYP East Asia Network (PYPEAN), along with schools in South Korea. The PYPEAN has a secure online discussion forum that teachers and PYP coordinators can access to ask questions and share ideas. “We just started a Network blog to showcase what is happening in our schools,” says Brenna McNeil, PYP Coordinator at Kyoto International School. “PYP coordinators have access to a secure wiki. These tools have been invaluable in terms of encouraging discussion, brainstorming, exploring perspectives, and providing or accessing support when we sometimes ‘hit a wall’ and can’t solve a problem!”

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people in real places.” The school had first-hand experience of this during the Bangkok Riots in 2010. “Twitter is a great resource for real-time news in times of crisis,“ Sam says. Students at NIST were able to collect ground-level information and first reactions to the riots by following conversations through Twitter. When severe floods hit Thailand in 2011, students were able to create their own hashtags. They found this allowed them to build contacts and gain a full understanding of events as they unfolded.


Visual learning

“Pinboards let us gather research for inspiration and feedback” Who? Kaohsiung American School Where? Taiwan What? Pinterest Pinterest is a great tool for art departments. “I use my Pinterest board to find inspiration for my own work, catalogue artist models for both myself and the students, and collect interesting student art projects that I may want to try out with the class,” says Aimee Zvinakis, IB Art Teacher at Kaohsiung American School, Taiwan. Students are encouraged to create pinboards and collect visual inspiration to express their tastes. They can also access the teacher’s board and comment on fellow students’ pins for inspiration and feedback. “Students can browse through boards to find inspiration of their own,” says Aimee. “Being able to have an artist model board where I can find so-called ‘IB Approved

Who? Moreton Bay Boys’ College Where? Queensland, Australia What? Fakebook, TodaysMeet, myfakewall Social media as a learning tool goes beyond individual media, as the experiences of Moreton Bay Boys’ College in Australia testify. “We don’t specifically use any of the social media platforms, but we do undertake preparation for understanding their use and purpose and the concept of social media,” says Steve Box, Year 5 Teacher at the school. The younger students are able to discuss what it means to be connected and under controlled environments, and allows them to replicate social media interactions through ‘less public’ sites. “The positive outcome for students is that they have some theoretical and experiential engagement with the world of social media, enacted through a safe environment,” says Steve.

Artists’ for students to investigate has been a huge help. It has made the artist investigation process much more streamlined, and the best thing is that I am adding to it every week as I discover new artists or my students mention someone I should look up.” After exam results revealed that students needed to build upon their art vocabulary, Aimee started a pin board dedicated to the elements and principles of art, so that students had more of a visual example to learn from. “I am already noticing a difference in the language during our class,” she says. Links: elements-of-art-principles-of-designdefined/

social media


Giving feedback

“With Facebook, students can get an instant response to ideas”

Who? New International School of Thailand (NIST) Where? Thailand What? Facebook When NIST students were challenged to change how people felt on entering the mathematics department, pictures of their number-inspired art displays were posted on Facebook and students were asked to respond with their comments on the unit. “Students checked out the albums enthusiastically in their own time,“ says Valerie McCubbin, IBDP Visual Arts Teacher at NIST. “Commenting in this way proved to be a natural way for kids to use their skills.”


Student-directed learning

“Managebac means we can control our own media environment” Who? Istanbul International Community School Where? Turkey What? Managebac It’s a useful online learning platform for IB World Schools worldwide, but Managebac also allows people to blog, share content, comment and instantly message students and parents, so the system has become a social media tool for one school in Turkey. “We are wired for connectivity,” says Jennifer Eaton Gökmen, Development Officer at Istanbul International Community School. “ManageBac offers online interaction but also offers a framework suitable for IB World Schools. It helps us to integrate more student-directed learning and differentiated learning.” ManageBac helps keep the school in regular contact with parents, students and staff, in a moderated and topic-relevant environment. The school’s Facebook and Twitter pages are also regularly updated and every primary class has an active blog where parents can receive a weekly digest feed by email.


Sharing experiences

“Schools can connect and share their classroom experiences” Who? Bandung International School, Indonesia Where? IB Dunia IB Schools Network Teacher Conference, Jakarta What? Twitter This year’s IB Dunia IB Schools Network Teacher Conference in Jakarta will be focusing on 21st Century Learning. Jay Graham, a teacher at Bandung International School, Indonesia, is leading a presentation on how people can learn from using communication technology such as Twitter. “Having a Learning Technologies Coordinator like Jay who fully believes in the value of such platforms has really helped our school to get connected with other schools and share our classroom experiences,” says Mary Collins, who teaches PYP at the Senior Elementary School. Jay’s presentation will share experiences of how to create, share and simply join an online community, based on his own and the school’s experiences. Links: contributors/ibap/dunia-network/


Discussing ideas

“Twitter helps us get together and share our thoughts” Who? PYP educators Where? Global What? Twitter When a group of dedicated PYP educators wanted to build on the success of other Twitter chats that occur worldwide such as #edchat, they decided to devise their own regular ‘Tweet meet’ using the hashtag #pypchat. Every two weeks, these teachers meet online and encourage others to ‘attend’ via Twitter to discuss a topic related to the PYP. The discussions are then archived on a wiki page for educators to refer back to. “We have an in-house workshop on concept-based learning next month at our school,” says Mary Collins, PYP Coordinator, Bandung International School. “I intend to re-read the #pypchat on concept-based learning and teaching beforehand,” Links:

DO… Get involved yourself and learn to use the platforms by signing up with your own accounts. Set up a monitoring function to monitor student activity – free tools for teachers Network with other IB schools and share best practice tips, classroom activities and project ideas. Choose the best social media platform for your purpose and your students – pictures on Pinterest. Twitter has a character limit so choose blogs or Facebook for more detailed feedback. Remain active, especially with sites like Twitter, to keep the students engaged and interactive – global teaching with a little uncommon thinking.

DON’T… Use every social media platform under the sun. A regularly updated Facebook page can be more engaging than spreading your content across a load of different platforms. Write anything you wouldn’t say at school, even on a personal account. Assume social media doesn’t apply to you or your students. Social media can be used in all sorts of different ways – pick what best suits your needs. Get bogged down with using fancy technology or fancy-looking sites – it’s the content that counts. Believe everything you read. A big part of learning to research online is working out which sources are verified, and which are just hearsay.

Social media is an important and accessible tool that schools are using to further expand the aims and philosophy of the IB

Adam Józefczyk, IB Coordinator, St George’s, The English International School, Duisburg, Germany

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The IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC) is up and running. With a more vocational focus and opportunities to specialize, it is taking the IB into new territory. But will it change the way teachers approach subjects in the classroom? We caught up with four educators who are already teaching it to find out

John Carozza Film Studies Teacher, Queensland Academy for Creative Industries, Australia

This has been five years in the making – it’s taken a lot of planning and hard work from everyone at the Academy. We wanted to offer a course that allows students to specialize in their chosen field while still being challenged in the same way as the IB, and this is a great solution. Queensland Academy for Creative Industries is a special place. We have very high academic standards, but applicants also have to do theatre auditions and other creative tasks to be accepted. Our students are passionate about what

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Ellis Vener/

The future starts here

they want. A high percentage already know their career pathway and they’re very driven. The five students who have just started our new IBCC course are specializing in film, which is specially aligned with Queensland University of Technology. The university is investing in our students now, rather than looking at their general entrance exam scores in a few years’ time. If the students complete the course, they have a guaranteed place to study there. We get a lot of chances to look at how the students are doing, both academically and creatively, so I knew certain students would jump at the chance to take part, but a couple have surprised me. They all would have got fantastic grades in the IB Diploma Programme, but this course better suits their needs. We’re keeping the class small in the first year,

but in future we could see a third of students taking the IBCC, specializing in a range of subjects including film studies, music and theatre. We would still work as one academy with the same spirit across the board – we’d just be able to offer different pathways. It is a risk. This is a unique course and it’s challenging the norm. At the moment there is only one secure path – we need to get more recognition from other universities. The students also need to be sure about what they’ll want to do in three years. It’s a big step forward and this is only the beginning. I’ll be interested to see what it looks like in five or ten years. There is great potential for growth and I hope it will do well. We will have to wait and see – in the meantime, I’m looking forward to teaching it.

Allan Hare IBCC Coordinator, Deira International School, Dubai

South Forsyth High School student Brian John gets to grips with a design project

Jackie Kattner IBCC Coordinator, Robert E. Lee High School, Virginia, USA

The IBCC is going great so far. I teach IB Business and Management and also approaches to learning and I have a lot of experience teaching the Diploma Programme. The main difference for me has been setting expectations. Many of the IBCC students didn’t realize how much work was expected of them. But now I’ve set my standards they have all risen to the challenge. As in any class, you have some students who need more support than others. Some are very academic – some need help getting onto the right track. Everyone is different. At the moment, the career path is business,

We were a pilot school so we’ve had a five-year head start. The class has gone from six students to 14, and a quarter of those are local. At the moment the students choose two IB subjects and can study for CPE and BEC English certificates, approaches to learning, CAS, BTEC Business or BTEC Leisure & Tourism, Arabic, Reflective Projects and work placements. We’ve had a 100 per cent pass rate so far. Our local students are really motivated and want to make careers for themselves. They often go on to work for the government, the police or the airlines. Before the IBCC, there weren’t many vocational options for students. The course is fantastic because it’s a pathway for them to get into colleges and other courses. Last year, IBCC students got into art, business and foundation courses, and had the chance to carry on their studies in countries such as Germany and the UK. We have 78 countries represented at our school, all with different skill levels, and we cater for all of them. We don’t differentiate between the students – we mix them in tutor groups and they work together on projects. We require our IBCC students to complete their CAS, just like the Diploma Programme students. Having some of the same subjects means they work together. Our IBCC students come out with a range of certificates including language certificates. They also have work placements, which help train them for the real world. After working with a company as part of the course, a student will often be offered a job or an internship. The IBCC is not the easy option – it’s a lot of work but now it’s accepted around the world, I’m sure it will continue to help students to find the right career path.

but we want to offer more subjects in the future, such as engineering. We have 20 students in our IBCC class and they really enjoy it. IBCC gives them more flexibility to do other subjects and activities. A lot of them play sports. IB students have a hard time fitting it all in, but IBCC Diploma students have more choices. When we announced the new course, students and parents had reservations. But once we explained the flexibility and how the IBCC can help students prepare for college, a lot

“Once we explained the flexibility and how IBCC helps students prepare for college, a lot signed up.”

Nick Crowder IBCC Coordinator, South Forsyth High School, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

The idea of the IBCC came from the need for more diploma-based skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. The course offers a new approach – it gives all-round learning with a hands-on approach. We encourage the students to look at real-world problems and ask questions – how can we move forward as innovators and change the world? This is our first year of the IBCC, running two pathways for our students – design technology (DT) and marketing. We have 30 students in DT and 22 in marketing. Initially, there was a worry about the take-up rate but it’s great to see the enthusiasm of students. The school has really embraced the IBCC. Students are excited about the chance of diploma-type recognition at the end of their studies. One topic we set the students in my DT class was to design, draw and build a chair out of cardboard. It was funny for me as a teacher to see the students who had had a background in engineering asking questions like: “How big should it be? How much material can we use?”, whereas the students with no engineering background sat quietly. They had never been set a task like this before and didn’t know what questions to ask. We want all our students to be vocal and ask questions throughout. During the ‘build-a-chair’ project, the students had to question the materials, physics and environmental impact – all-round learning. Some of the chairs are still used in the classroom today. We’ve had a few challenges along the way, designing the programmes so that they meet with IB requirements and involve the rest of the student skills, such as languages. The programme is in its early days but there are already hopes to offer additional pathways such as healthcare.

of them wanted to sign up. We actually had to cap the number of IBCC students allowed in the class this year – as it’s such a new thing we wanted to keep the class size smaller. My students are really happy with the course. They can focus on what they enjoy doing while getting the qualifications they need. Four schools have introduced it in our county school district so we are all working together and supporting each other to establish it. If you are thinking about introducing the IBCC, I would advise really careful planning. It’s a lot of work. We spent time raising awareness of it in the school and in the wider community. I think that now we have launched it, the IBCC will grow and grow. I really enjoy teaching the students and we have really bonded.

IBWorld 21


London, United Kingdom

Acting on education ”


used to do this sort of thing all the time,” Ben Walden says as he poses for the camera. “When I was younger, I was always being interviewed and photographed, except back then, people mainly wanted to know who I was dating!” These days, Ben gets phone calls from IB educators and professionals rather than entertainment journalists. After numerous movie and television roles, West End performances and work with Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London, it’s teaching performance exercises and giving talks about drama that get him standing ovations nowadays. Ben spoke at the IBAEM Conference in Madrid last year to much acclaim, and having learned more about the IB he says he is impressed with the curriculum. “It’s open-minded and allows students to investigate things for themselves,” he says. He’s excited to work more with IB World Schools and has events and learning exercises booked all over the world this year. Six years ago, Ben founded Contender Charlie, a company that supports teachers and students using acting techniques and philosophies. His eyes light up as he talks about the project and the effect it’s had on participants. “We try to find out what inspires the students,” he says. “Only then can we motivate them to go out into the world and do something really valuable.” Ben says that the most rewarding part of the job is the lasting effect his work has on students. “I’ve had young people writing to me saying that the course has changed their life, and that now, they are inspired to go out and do what they really want with their lives. That’s an amazing feeling.” Using storytelling, mythology and plays, Mythodrama is an experimental learning practice

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that can benefit both students and teachers. The technique combines theatre practice, psychology and philosophy, and brings all the participants together to discuss big themes in their own lives. “Drama is about as close to real life as you can get,” says Ben. “In many ways, people are always playing a role. Marlon Brando once said that everyone is an actor, and I agree with that to a certain extent.” Ben says Mythodrama is a great way for students to gain a better understanding of their emotions. “It helps [students] understand themselves and learn about who they are as a person,” he says. He created this experiential theatre learning technique while running acting and performance skills master classes for the Shakespeare’s Globe Education Centre. Ben then spent time working with friends and colleagues Richard Olivier and Mark Rylance at the newly created Olivier Mythodrama, a company founded by Olivier that runs sessions and workshops around the world and shares the technique with people from different organizations. “The workshops are all different depending on the play and the themes,” he says. “There is one about inspirational leadership, which we use in businesses, that has been very successful.” Having seen the positive effect the workshops had on participants, Ben decided to take the techniques into the classroom with his own company, Contender Charlie. Contender Charlie’s Mythodrama courses take place at educational conferences around the world. Ben says his chief passion is using theatre as a medium to bring meaning, purpose and greater personal expression to the lives of young people. “The difference between teaching children and

Nick Wright

British actor and presenter Ben Walden is bringing his performance techniques into the classroom to help students find their path in life

“Drama is about as close to real life as you can get – in many ways people are always playing a role”

Ben Walden

Ben is transferring his acting talents from the stage to the classroom

CV Ben Walden 1969 1974

1985 1987


1992 1993 1994 2001 2001

adults is that children are more honest,” says Ben. “They can be quite skeptical at first. They think, ‘What’s this got to do with me?’ or even, ‘This is just a sad old luvvie who can’t get any acting work’! But by the end, I hope, they change their minds.” Having failed at becoming a professional footballer, something he jokes that he “never really got over”, Ben first realized he had a gift for acting when he won a competition at school. “I enjoyed theatre and I soon realized that I felt really at home on the stage,” he says. “I was around friends with the same interests and we watched loads of movies together.” At school, Ben also enjoyed history and politics, but decided to go to drama school rather than university at the age of 18. It’s something he now regrets. “I should have gone when I had the chance – university is wasted on the young!” he says. He later dropped out of drama school and went to study in New York City at the HB Studio, which is run by actress Uta Hagen and her director and actor husband Herbert Berghof. After a childhood that he describes as ‘unusual’ – his parents divorced when he was young and he attended boarding school – Ben was happy to leave England behind. “I had a good education; in fact I would like all children to have the same kinds of opportunities that I had, but I didn’t like the conformity of

Born in England, the son of former politician Brian Walden Attends both state and private schools, then boarding school at Swanbourne House School in Buckinhamshire Attends Westminster School Starts drama school but later drops out to study at the HB Studio in New York Founds his company, Contender Charlie TV and film credits The Camomile Lawn The Man Who Cried Martin Chuzzlewit Band of Brothers High Heels and Low Lifes

school,” he says. He spent two years studying at the studio in Greenwich Village, and this set him up for a successful career in business. His first first break n show business was a part in The Camomile Lawn, a production for UK television. Out of the thousands who auditioned, he was thrilled to get the part. “It was a mixed blessing. My character wasn’t very likable!” says Ben, who, despite this infamous role, went on to star in movies, television shows – including the title role in the BBC’s adaptation of Martin Chuzzlewit – and plays over the next ten years. Ben says he doesn’t mind letting his acting career take a back seat. “I don’t miss anything about acting,” he says. “I still had ambitions with it, but I love what I do now. I had a vision, an idea, and I went for it. I decided I wanted to do something that was helpful and beneficial to education. “Teachers are the heroes and heroines of our society,” he says. “I want to help them and do something to help their students.” To find out more about Contender Charlie and Mythodrama sessions around the world, visit IBWorld 23


dances inspired by movements observed on the YouTube videos. We read stories and discuss their connection to the environment and their music. Once the students have explored a repertoire of Aboriginal-inspired movements, groups make up their own stories to tell through dance. We set these dances to traditional music and video them to watch and reflect on. I have taught this unit for three years and each time it has taken a different path. Sometimes there is more focus on movement; sometimes we branch out into other indigenous cultures. Most recently, we incorporated the recorder and xylophones. Whatever the path, it usually culminates in a corroboree, an Aboriginal ceremony. We decide on an order in which to perform our songs, dances and stories, think about costumes and then hold our ceremony. This is usually just for us,

Learning to listen Music is an effective tool for teachers to align disciplines and help students make connections in their learning usic is a language we all share. It touches every part of our lives. But all too often, it can be treated as an afterthought. I have taught music in schools in Australia, Mexico and, most recently, Vietnam. Each of them has had different understandings of, and requirements regarding, interdisciplinary instruction. One school was happy for music to stand alone, completely separate from the instruction of the main classroom. Another encouraged some links between music and classroom in the form of a themed song or dance. Both these approaches are valid but neither are examples of interdisciplinary instruction. My current school allows time for class teachers and specialists to meet and plan collaboratively – a route I believe truly allows music to flourish. If, for example, a class is focusing on an inquiry that does not naturally lend itself to exploration through music, a music teacher can still teach a common concept, or focus on a Learner Profile attribute that the class teacher is also focusing on. In this way, students can make connections between subjects and across year levels. In our school, the Grade 3 central idea – “the environment influences how we express our culture” – leads to exploration of indigenous cultures including

Illustration: Neil Webb. Words: adapted with permission from Musicworks 2012, the Journal of the Australian National Council of Orff Schulwerk


“Collaboration between disciplines truly allows music to flourish at school” Australian Aboriginal and Native American. I chose to explore the heritage and customs of the Australian Aboriginal people and the influence of the environment on their art and legends. These lines of inquiry are negotiated collaboratively and are broad enough to be explored in any subject, but my teacher questions are music-specific: what instruments were traditionally used by Australian Aboriginal people? Why do you think they used these instruments and made music? The key concept that is explicitly taught throughout the unit is connection, which I introduce at the beginning of the

unit and constantly refer to in terms of how music and the environment are connected in Aboriginal culture. First, the students and I discuss what they already know about Aboriginal culture and music. We watch short YouTube clips demonstrating the making of a didgeridoo and identifying other Aboriginal instruments. We hypothesise as to why the Aboriginals made their instruments out of wood, rather than buying them. We start to explore the teacher questions and the concept of connection. In conjunction with these discussions, we learn some short Aboriginal songs and make up

although it could easily be adapted for performance. This unit is very meaningful to the students. It is easy for them to make connections between what they are learning in their classroom and other subjects. I get chills when the art teacher tells me about her class bursting into an Aboriginal song as they work on their dot paintings, and my classes are richer as students bring stories, knowledge and instruments from their class and home to share in music. It is our privilege to help our students make these connections. By Elizabeth Mason, PYP Music Teacher, International School Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. IBWorld 25


Pacific Beach Middle School, San Diego, USA

Coastal clean-up San Diego students are learning while they work to conserve the local beach landscape


trip to the beach might be a pleasant diversion for some. But students of Pacific Beach Middle School, San Diego, USA, are taking it more seriously, combining community action with environmental practice by adopting the coastline in their local area. The principled sun-lovers spend at least one Saturday a month clearing the debris from San Diego’s Tourmaline Beach, a mile from the school. “It's great to see the students’ shared enthusiasm to save this beautiful beach on the Pacific Ocean,” said Jennifer Sims, Middle Years Programme (MYP) Coordinator. “Between 10 and 40 students turn up every time to help clear away debris.”

“Pacific Beach’s IB students have already clocked up an impressive 14,000 hours of clean-up service” With help from the ‘I Love a Clean San Diego’ environmental organization, and the Surfrider Foundation, which supplies the necessary cleanup equipment, the school is making a real difference to its community and protecting a natural habitat. Students officially adopted the beach in 2010 after a series of successful clean-ups arranged by student Hunter Ketchum. Hunter has since handed the reins of the project to his teacher dad, Kyle, who continues to organize the events, inviting students and parents to get involved. Since the clean-up operations began, MYP students have been collecting data on the amount of debris most commonly found on the beach. This is used across different lessons to help teach the processes of erosion, deposition and differing watersheds in international waters. Learning continues long after the event as students use the results to discuss where and 26 IBWorld

Pacific Beach students put in the hours caring for their environment

how the debris is collected and how to reduce the waste in future. The success of the project has inspired other students at the school. Nicholas Campagna’s student-run clean-up collected over 90lbs of rubbish and was a hit with locals, who were invited to take part in raffles and games. Another student, with the help of surf campaigners, organized a surfboard donation event, where students designed and installed a bench made entirely from recycled surfboards in the school garden. Pacific Beach’s IB students have already clocked up an impressive 14,000 hours of clean-up service but still have hopes of expanding the project. They are working towards becoming the first school in the district to have an “ocean-friendly garden” – and if previous form is anything to go by, the project is sure to be a great success.

Matija Gubec Primary School, Zagreb, Croatia

King’s Academy, Madaba Jordan

Landmine legacy A Croatian school is raising money to rid its countryside of the deadly reminders of war

Bottles filled with a special mixture are transforming the lives of those without electricity

Spreading the light Turning water into electricity might sound beyond the reach of most students. But King’s Academy, Madaba, Jordan had other ideas, sending keen IB Diploma Programme students to Chiang Mai in Thailand as part of the Traidhos Three-Generation Visiting Schools Programme to create ecofriendly light bulbs from water bottles. Based on an idea from the Philippines, solar bulbs are made from 1.5-litre plastic bottles that are filled with water and a few drops of bleach and salt. The water refracts the sun’s rays, dispersing the light in all directions. The salt slows down evaporation and the bleach

prevents mould from growing, allowing the mixture to last about two years. In order to make the bottles light up, holes are cut into the roof panels and a bottle is placed so that the lower half protrudes from the ceiling. The bottles are secured with a rubber sealant and filled with the water and bleach mixture. When the sun is shining, the effect inside is similar to a 55W electric bulb. The bottles are already transforming lives by providing a safe, inexpensive and sustainable way to provide natural light in homes with no electricity or few windows – and students hope to be able to share their gifts further.

Archbishop MacDonald High School, Edmonton, Canada

Jay Directo, Heiko Mandl/Getty Images

Putting talent to good use Several years on from a decade of war in Sierra Leone, the country is still under reconstruction. Many families face a daily struggle without access to water, basic health care or education. On hearing about these conditions, students from across the globe at Archbishop MacDonald (MAC) High School in Edmonton, Canada were inspired to take action. Inviting acts from four surrounding IB World Schools, students of the International Mindedness (IM) Club held their first inter-school talent show. Staff, students and families were treated to an evening of music, entertainment and prizes. Acts included a Chinese

dulcimer player, a rap group and a Bollywood dance crew. The highlight of the evening came when the Bundu family, who emigrated from Sierra Leone in 2002, spoke of their experiences and performed a traditional folk dance wearing local attire. “Education is the biggest gift you can give to Sierra Leone,” said Jalikatu Fatmaha Esther Bundu as she thanked the students.

Families enjoyed a colourful evening

The school’s IM Club – run by students with the help of MYP Coordinator Cindy Dallaire and IB Diploma Programme Coordinator Edward Jean – has raised funding for global issues including poverty and natural disasters. Its goal for 2011-12 was to increase awareness of problems in Sierra Leone and put CAN$8,500 towards building a school in the Kono district. Working with the Free the Children organization’s, ‘Brick-byBrick’ programme, the talent show alone raised CAN$2,300 –taking the school that little bit closer to its goal of changing lives through education thousands of miles away.

When Matija Gubec Primary School went on a field trip to two of Croatia’s National Parks, MYP students paid particular attention to the safety notices. The area is just one part of 800km2 of the picturesque Eastern European nation that is riddled with potentially fatal landmines. “In addition to natural beauty, the students saw signs which warned of the danger of landmines,” says teacher Ina Tomic. “They were shocked by the signs, and sad that their country is not completely safe. This was one of the reasons why we chose de-mining Croatia as our main project for our community activities”. Although Croatia’s War of Independence ended 17 years ago, vast areas of land remain sealed off from the public. No one knows how many are left, but it is believed mines can be found in 12 of Croatia’s 20 counties, and deactivating them is costly and difficult. Croatia aims to be completely mine-free by 2019, but that will involve a huge effort from a range of non-profit groups. The school’s campaign, Bloom not Boom, was thought up by MYP students and encompasses many parts of school life, says Ina: “It embraces numerous integrated lessons, community and service events, workshops, presentations, round-table discussions, fairs and cultural events.” Since the project’s launch, students have MYP students are working to make Croatia safe

collected 7,000 HRK (over US$1,200), enough to cover the costs of de-mining 700m2 of national park. This fundraising is thanks to school events including a bazaar that sold baked goods, homemade crafts and ornaments as well as environmentally friendly jewellery made from recycled plastic carrier bags and computer chips. The school has also been working closely with the Croatian Mine Action Centre to increase awareness of the dangers. Students handed out flyers, badges and hand-printed T-shirts in the city centre, as well as warning locals. “We will continue raising money and working to increase awareness of the mine problem in Croatia and all over the world until the end of the school year. We hope to make a difference not just in our homeland but also globally,” says Ina. IBWorld 27


Shanta Devarajan

Funds for the future How an international education helped inspire a world-renowned economist


s one of the first people in the world to study the IB Diploma Programme, at the International School of Geneva in 1971, you would expect Shanta Devarajan to be highly principled. What’s particularly inspiring is just how he has put those principles into practice, working to end extreme poverty in some of the most deprived parts of the world. Shanta joined the World Bank in 1991 after receiving his undergraduate degree from Princeton and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He is now the bank’s Chief Economist in Africa, which brings him a set of seemingly intractable challenges. “We’re trying to end poverty in a sustainable way,” says Shanta. “How do you get Africa on a sustainable growth trajectory? It’s not just a question of giving money, it’s figuring out ways to create employment. I have worked on this for many years.” Poverty reduction was not

Dasan N. Bobo

We need your help In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, and make way for new online and editorial services offered to schools, IB World will now be published semi-annually – in January and September in 2013, and thereafter in March and September. To balance our ‘green’ initiative, we are expanding the page count of the magazine to make each issue even more information-

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Shanta wants to use his experience to pull the people of Africa out of poverty

always Shanta’s focus in the field of economics. By the late 1990s he had written or co-authored a wealth of academic publications on subjects spanning economics, trade policy and natural resources. Despite his success, he felt that he could do more. “Something in me snapped,” he says. “I felt so privileged – I’d gone to the best schools and had exciting and rewarding jobs. It was time for me to give back a bit. I decided to dedicate the rest of my career to ending poverty. Fortunately, I’m in a position at the World Bank where I can make some change in Africa.”

“I felt so privileged. I decided to dedicate the rest of my career to ending poverty” Shanta admits that the academic challenge still excites him: “It’s that combination of dealing with an intellectual problem and doing something rewarding.You’re helping people in the world who need the most help. Having worked most of my professional life in Africa I feel very at home there.” Shanta’s experience studying at the United Nations

International School in New York and later in Geneva, prepared him well for his career: “It’s easy for me to work in this area. When I moved from a multinational classroom to a multinational office, there was almost no change.” In Geneva, Shanta was one of the first students chosen to study the Diploma Programme, but he wasn’t worried. “There was a prestige thing – you had to be nominated to take the IB. So it was only students who the school felt would do well,” he says. Shanta has plenty of good memories from school. “It was the best time of my life,” he says. “We had an English class that was full of debate. We’d come in and just go at each other about a book. We were encouraged to think critically and script our arguments. It was a great experience for later life.” Not only did the IB give Shanta early experience in critical thinking, it piqued his interest in a range of subjects. “Only IB students got to study Theory of Knowledge, which I found fascinating,” he says. “It got me interested in philosophy.” Shanta is due to retire from the World Bank in a few years, but still has big ambitions: “The logical thing would be for me to go back to academia, which is something I love. But I think I should do something bolder. One idea I had was starting an NGO with my colleagues in Africa. It would provide highquality objective advice to decision-makers and African citizens. It’s an unusual thing to do, but the time might be right.” Join Shanta and fellow alumni in the IB alumni network, by visiting the blog at blogs.ibo. org/alumni, where you can learn more about this growing community.. Shanta writes for the World Bank’s blog, Africa Can... End Poverty:

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK… packed, and to ensure ample space to share more of your stories and experiences. Please continue to email with your thoughts, news and comments. Future issues We have started to develop the September issue around several significant and impressive milestones in IB history:

● The 45th anniversary of the IB. ● One million+ students attend IB World Schools around the globe. ● PYP and MYP reach a critical mass: offered in 1,000+ schools. Your stories will become the central fabric of these features, so please share what being part of the IB family of schools means to you.

Regular features ● Resources Latest learning tools, from new books to how to tackle online learning. ● Community Students making a difference in their local communities. ● Opinions IB educators share their differing teaching experiences. ● News All the latest news, plus stories about what IB education means to you.

IB World January 2013  
IB World January 2013  

Welcome to the Janurary 2013 IB World edition, issue 67