IB World March 2016

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Free to IB World Schools March 2016 | Issue 73 ÂŁ6 US$12 ibo.org @IBWorldmag

The magazine of the International Baccalaureate

Finding calm in the classroom Is mindfulness the secret to deeper learning or just a New Age fad?

Editor’s letter 1



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IB World Schools from 19 countries feature in this issue of IB World.

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Welcome to the world of the IB Welcome to the March 2016 issue of IB World, the oďŹƒcial magazine of the International Baccalaureate The programmes of the International Baccalaureate have a long-standing reputation for their academic and personal rigour, challenging students to excel in their studies and in their personal growth, and develop a lifelong thirst for learning. The IB aspires to help schools develop well-rounded students who respond to challenges with optimism and open minds, are conďŹ dent 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 situations. We now work with 4,000 schools (both state and privately funded) that share our commitment to international education. More than one million students in 149 countries study our four programmes, which are designed to: 3 #' *+, %+* - #&' + attitudes and skills they need for both academic and personal success 3 *+, %+ %+) ')&$&+ % personal challenge 3 & ) )& ,)) ,#,$ with signiďŹ cant content 3 /'#&) #& ##0 * % 1 %+ ideas and issues The Primary Years Programme (PYP) For students 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 (DP) For students aged 16 to 19, this is an academically challenging programme with ďŹ nal examinations that prepare students for success at university and beyond. The IB Career-related Programme (CP) For students aged 16 to 19, the CP consists of DP courses studied alongside a unique CP core. The CP is designed to increase access to an IB education and provides a exible learning framework tailored by the school to meet the needs of their students and the wider community.

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 UKÂŁ15 or US$30. To ďŹ nd out more, visit www.ibo.org/ ibworld or call +44 (0)1795 592 981. To advertise in IB World, contact communications@ibo.org.

International Baccalaureate ÂŽ | Baccalaureate International ÂŽ | Bachillerato Internacional ÂŽ

Taking care of our mental health is just as important as our physical wellbeing. But today’s fast-paced world makes it diďŹƒcult to stop and just live in the moment. We’re more concerned with what’s about to happen than with what is happening right now. Mindfulness is being encouraged in many classrooms to help keep students and teachers in the present and reduce stress, which could be disguising deeper mental health problems, as we investigate in our cover story special on p11. Once students are calm and focused, keeping them engaged is the next skill to master. On p28, IB teachers share successful and fun teaching methods that will encourage you to combine your talents with the job. But discussing certain topics in the classroom requires a dierent approach. Teachers talk about how they tackle diďŹƒcult subjects and sensitively challenge student preconceptions through open and honest conversations – with the ultimate aim of promoting peace, understanding and open-mindedness (p22). Sophie-Marie Odum, Editor

IB World Editor Sophie-Marie Odum IB Editors Jenan Al-haddad, Freddie Oomkens Production Editors Sarah Dyson, Stephanie Wilkinson Designers Richard Walker, Chris Barker Picture Editor Dominique Campbell Senior Account Manager Steph Allister Account Director Justine Loehry Group Art Director Martin Tullett Production Manager Alison Boydall Group Production Manager Trevor Simpson Senior Editor Robert Jeery Editorial Director Simon Kanter

Managing Director, Haymarket Network Andrew Taplin

Cover illustration Nicholas Stevenson/ Folioart.co.uk

Reproduction Haymarket Pre-press Printed by Stephens & George Print Group, UK

Published on behalf of IB by Haymarket Network, Bridge House, 69 London Road, Twickenham, TW1 3SP, UK Tel +44 (0)208 267 5000

Haymarket is certiďŹ ed by BSI to environmental standard ISO14001

Š International Baccalaureate 2016. 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 reect 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 oers are correct at time of going to press and are subject to change. All oers are subject to manufacturer’s terms and conditions.

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“Mindfulness is bringing awareness to the present and focusing on the moment”


March 2016

4 NEWS Students on film; How to achieve academic honesty; Foundation helps those in need 8 LIKES AND TWEETS The latest book, film and app reviews, plus our brand-new tweet wall

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11 COVER STORY MINDFULNESS Exploring the benefits and limitations of mindfulness and its purpose in the classroom 20 RECIPE FOR A GREAT SCHOOL Breaking down the ingredients that make a truly successful IB World School 22 TACKLING TOUGH TOPICS Subjects like racism and conflict are tricky to teach – teachers share how they address them 28 COOL TOOLS IB teachers around the world are bringing learning to life in new, exciting ways


30 HOW THE DP CAME TO AMERICA The first US public high school Principal to take on the DP looks back


33 INSIGHT Teaching mathematics through inquiry helps students learn essential skills 34 COMMUNITY 38 PAST & PRESENT IB alumni share their post-graduate success, while current students showcase their work

Alamy, SuperStock, Simon Stanmore

How you can feature in the next issue We enjoy receiving your submissions, article ideas and feedback about the magazine: email editor@ibo.org or Tweet us @IBWorldmag with your thoughts, news and comments. Follow us on Twitter to find out what stories we need help with.

Contact us if you have an exclusive story or idea for one of our regular features listed below: O Resources Latest learning tools, from new books to documentaries and online learning tools O Community Students making

a difference in their local communities O Opinions IB educators share their differing teaching experiences O News All the latest news plus stories about what an IB education means to you.

IB World is published semi-annually, in March and September. Any stories that we are unable to use in IB World may be shared with the IB communications team or uploaded to our new website, coming soon.

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school report School International School of Texas, USA Founded 2013 Programmes PYP Age range of students 2-13 Motto Learners and Leaders Together Website www.internationalschooloftexas.com

The IB community share how the programmes impact learning and teaching

The mission in action The IB has been busy producing a range of videos that highlight how the programmes are making a difference to international education and it wants you to get involved


t’s exciting to be a part of a global community of engaged, passionate teachers and learners, knowing that you are working toward a common goal. We often hear this sentiment expressed by educators working in IB World Schools. To celebrate this, the IB has created a series of videos that demonstrate how its programmes are making a difference. School heads, teachers, students and parents around the world share what the IB means to them and how it has transformed their teaching and learning. The videos are created from existing interviews previously filmed at various locations, mostly by IB Associate Video Production Manager Claire Ijsbrandij. “I started collating footage for this project in September 2015,” she says. “The testimonials truly emphasize the global nature of the IB and show the interconnectedness the IB advocates.” The videos are designed to be inspirational, and can provide insight for non-IB World Schools while, for existing 4 IBWorld March 2016

schools, it’s a reminder that they are part of a global network of like-minded individuals. “We hope that schools will use the videos as a resource to communicate what the IB is about to their community,” adds Ijsbrandij. As well as the educational programmes, the IB community has something else in common, according to Ijsbrandij: “Every interview I do, the one thing that always comes across is how passionate our community is about teaching and learning. That passion and dedication is something we can all be proud of. “Seeing the mission in action, witnessing the impact the IB has on individual lives and communities is so rewarding.” Next stop for Ijsbrandij is a production in Hyderabad, India, following the IB Asia Pacific conference in March 2016. The IB wants more schools to get involved. If you would like to take part in an IB production, please email communications@ibo.org or send your exisiting videos to the same address. * The IB Community videos will soon be available on www.ibo.org.

Students at the International School of Texas believe there is more to taking action than donating money. They thrive on finding new ways to make a difference; whether it is working with a global organization to arrange medical supplies, or bringing the entire school together to raise awareness of important issues that are discussed within units of inquiry. “The Primary Years Programme (PYP) has helped shape internationally-minded students,” says Tim Reilly, Deputy Head and PYP Coordinator. “They understand what it means to take action effectively within their own lives and communities, which we celebrate daily.” During a unit of inquiry about conflict, students looked into how conflicts occurring around the world can be resolved. “The idea of peace was the common thread among the class,” says Reilly. “The students decided to take action and began a project, which aimed to promote peace and resolution instead of war.” The students organized a whole-school project called Peace Flags in the Wind on the International Day of Peace (21 September 2015). They each created a flag that reflected what peace means to them. These were displayed together in the style of Tibetan prayer flags. “The purpose of the project was to show that, although we have different religions, cultures, beliefs and perspectives, what we have in common is a desire to create a more peaceful world,” adds Reilly. “We found that many of the students were using the IB Learner Profile to explain peace.” Their efforts didn’t go unrecognized. The school received a Proclamation from the Mayor of Austin, which is now proudly displayed on their wall.

Students promote peace instead of war

Foundation in honour of IB graduate helps those in need In memory of his brother, one IB alumnus is ensuring people receive much-needed care When IB graduate Paul Uche tragically lost his life to acute myeloid leukemia in 2014 at the age of just 23, his brother Bernie and family began a foundation in his name. With the help of their former high school and friends, almost US$60,000 was raised and the funds used to help restore a rundown local clinic in Nigeria. Paul was a top student at ABA-An IB World School in Muscat, Oman. He was the Vice President and founder member of Students Against Prejudice (SAP), and won the ABA Citizenship Award – given to students who model the IB Learner Profile. He then attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, US. “Everyone knew Paul,” says Marcie Frederickson, previous IB Counselor and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) Coodinator at ABA. “He was an outstanding young man – a talented musican, athlete and a top IB student.” When Bernie travelled to Nigeria in 2014, he saw that Igbere Health Centre needed repairs. “The Paul Uche Foundation promotes health and wellbeing, so we wanted to repair the clinic in Paul’s honour. People from all over the world contributed. ABA were instrumental,” says Uche. All students at ABA got involved and organized multiple fundraising events. On

How the IB community engages with global issues through inquiry, action, and critical reflection

The clinic renovated with help from Paul’s family and friends

International Peace day alone, students donated US$2,500. SAP also organized a community-wide raffle-ticket event, which made US$2,825, and the school board donated US$12,000. The clinic was given a makeover. The floor and roof were replaced, and beds and medical supplies were donated. In the future, Uche wants to increase the number of Nigerians on the international bone marrow registry. “Currently, we make up less than one per cent and I want to change that,” he says. * For more information, please visit: www.pauluchememorialfoundation.com

Context is key to effective leadership IB workshops focus on local and global contexts to develop successful school leaders The IB has launched a series of five workshops that allow participants to explore effective school leadership from different international and cultural perspectives. The IB is one of the largest communities of schools, operating in 149 countries. This diversity provides a background for research and development into effective leadership practices in IB World Schools, and ‘context’ emerged as a key factor. The workshops aim to support leaders in developing new approaches and fine-tuning existing skills, drawing on best practices, interpreted within their given context. “We hope that participants find the content stimulating and that these Professional Development experiences foster a community of learners who collaborate across contexts to create a culture of innovative learning; one that inspires students to become global citizens


who are open-minded and curious about the world,” says Sue Richards, IB Global Head of Professional Development PYP. The initial workshops have received positive feedback. Participants can attend face-to-face or online events. They’ll build the capabilities to become reflective, strategic leaders who are mindful of different values and beliefs. Case studies will help identify strategies that are culturally appropriate and adaptable to other contexts. “The goal is to challenge and support leaders to move beyond their experience and draw on the complexity of local and global contexts. This will help them develop and apply their leadership intelligences to become a successful international leader in education,” says Richards. * For more information: www.ibo.org/professional-

Education for a better life Over the last decade, 36 students from disadvantaged educational backgrounds have attended IB World Schools on full scholarships at United World Colleges, thanks to the Akshara programme. UWC Mahindra College, in India, runs the local impact initiative, which aims to empower children – with a particular emphasis on girls – in rural Maharashtra, India. Akshara provides access to educational opportunities and personal support, and promotes social entrepreneurship initiatives. This helps students secure their first jobs after graduation. “The approach emphasizes the participants’ unique talents and seeks to help them become more confident, to build social capital and, most importantly, to dream of making a better life for themselves and those around them,” says Head of College Pelham Lindfield Roberts. Akshara serves over 450 people in seven villages, ranging from pre-school to college level, and including tribal adult education. “IB World Schools can send student volunteers to understand the realities of rural development in India, as well as their personal limitations and potential as change-makers,” says Roberts. ”Service learning in this context leads to the development of qualities such as self-awareness, humility, empathy and communication skills.”

development/ib-leadership-series IBWorld 5

news IB encourages students to ‘be creators not imitators’

did you know...

IB Academic Honesty Manager Dr Celina Garza speaks to IB World about a new competition that encourages students to think creatively about academic honesty

…the MYP positively impacts college coursework and exams

The IB is calling all MYP, DP and CP students to “be a content creator, not a content imitator” in an exciting new competition. It is challenging students to create a short film or poster that delivers the key message that academic honesty is fundamental to the education of every IB student. The closing date for entries is Sunday 31 July 2016, and the winning entries will be showcased on the IB’s website. Successful students will also be interviewed in a future issue of IB World.

Former MYP students were

34% more likely to take a DP or AP exam

Time for a policy review? The IB asks that all schools have a clear Academic Honesty Policy, which discusses how to embody academic honesty in the classroom. Is it time to review your policy? All schools should have a review cycle and invite all members of the school community to take part, according to Dr Celina Garza, Academic Honesty Manager at the IB’s Assessment Centre in Cardiff. She says: “The principle of academic honesty serves to promote personal integrity, engender respect for the work of others and ensures that all students have an equal opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they acquire during their studies.”

IB researchers Julie Wade and Natalie Wolanin have found that previous enrollment in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) increased students’ likelihood of participation in college preparatory coursework and the achievement of ‘college-ready’ scores on Advance Placement (AP) or IB Diploma Programme (DP) exams. The study used data collected from a large, socio-economically diverse school district in the US, and found: the MYP were 34 per cent more likely to take at least one AP or DP examination in high school O MYP enrollment increased the likelihood of achieving at least one college-ready score on a college preparatory exam by 39 per cent O Former MYP and non-MYP students took on average a similar number of DP courses, but former MYP students who took at least one DP exam earned more scores of 4 or higher, compared with their non-MYP counterparts. * Find the research summary at: www.ibo. org/globalassets/publications/ib-research/ myp/myp-participation-summary-eng.pdf

In brief Student registry Free for all users, the IB Student Registry allows students in the last years of the MYP, or in any year of the DP or Career-related Programme

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Greatstock Photographic Library/Alamy

O Students previously enrolled in

(CP), to create an online profile, highlighting academic achievements. Students can also include course credits and learn more about their desired universities as they can create a profile which presents all their information in one place. They can select and express their interest to universities,

Academic honesty can be linked to the IB Learner Profile attribute of “principled.” Garza says: “ We expect our students to understand the purpose of being honest and acting with integrity in all their actions.” The temptation to copy and paste Why do students feel the need to plagiarize? It’s not always a deliberate act, says Garza. “Most of the time, it’s down to a lack of time-management skills. When we find a piece of work that doesn’t comply with our requirements, in terms of referencing,

“It’s not enough to just advise our students to reference and cite work, we need teachers to be examples and role models in how to do this” we contact the school to request an explanation, and the vast majority of responses are that students rushed the assignment or essay. They understand that they must reference, but forget to do it.” The vast amount of information available on the internet makes it very easy to accidentally plagiarize. “Sometimes students don’t understand that information on the internet does belong to someone,” says Garza. “The new generation is flooded with information and, if they’re facing difficulties, the temptation to copy and paste increases.” But some students do cheat intentionally. They might use the services of ghost writers to prepare work on their behalf. “But those are most definitely the exceptions,” says Garza. “Most students understand what they have to do, they just don’t manage their time correctly.”

and university admission officers can obtain student information and contact them outside of the system. My School website IB World Schools can now house school information in one place on the IB’s new ‘My School’ site. School Heads and Coordinators can update


Westend61 GmbH/Alamy

John Cucinello Community and Service Director at Western International School of Shanghai (WISS), China

Students and schools should work together to safeguard academic honesty

Pressure on schools and teachers Students, teachers and schools are under huge pressure to succeed. In the past, the IB has received reports of teachers over-editing a student’s piece of work. “All pieces of work should only be changed once and the teacher should only comment on one draft. If a teacher edits six drafts, for example, it’s no longer the student’s work,” says Garza. “Teachers are trying to help their students achieve their best but it’s fundamental for the school to understand the implications of what they are doing.” It is important to include parents in the discussion. They undoubtedly want their children to do well but should understand the limits of what teachers can do. “We would like to see schools follow the IB philosophy of academic honesty,” says Garza. “We have plenty of examples of schools who are doing extremely well in that sense. They come forward when they discover a breach and report it to us.” Lead by example Support should be provided on a daily basis, according to Garza. “Referencing work takes time, and it’s a difficult skill. We are expecting young teenagers to do things that are usually reserved for

school profiles and, by the end of this year, will be able to apply for new programmes and conduct programme evaluation via the site. Over 50 per cent of schools have already logged in to verify their contact information, and Heads are being urged to get involved. For more information, visit www.ibo.org.

university level. Teachers should allow students to correctly develop and polish these skills.” There are tasks that teachers can set that avoid plagiarism, such as encouraging students to look in more detail and use different resources with their support. Tasks where bonus points are given if students correctly acknowledge a piece of work used is also a great idea. Teachers should set an example, too: “It’s not enough to just advise our students to reference and cite work, we need teachers to be examples and role models in how to do this,” says Garza. “This will help students get to the point where they produce honest and genuine pieces of work and it becomes second nature, rather than to escape an accusation of academic dishonesty or misconduct.” “When schools have a clear Academic Honesty Policy, and the right vision and mission, they can deliver that easily and students can learn and follow this,” adds Garza. “They’ll understand how knowledge is produced, how to use the work of others in an acceptable way, and how to reference and cite correctly.” * To find out more about the IB’s academic honesty

Tell us about your career… My career has been an accident. I never planned anything. I just woke up one morning and thought: “I need to give back.” I’ve worked in two schools in New York City, and in one of them I received the best advice I have ever had. A colleague told me: “The hard road is the easy road. The harder you work, the easier your job gets”. I observed him for five months and learned what it took to be a good teacher. I also worked in Saudi Arabia before moving to Shanghai, China. I have been here for eight years. How do you inspire and challenge your students? By positive modeling and encouragement. I tell them to ”go for it! Give when there is nothing left to give and then inspire others so that you can give more”. They notice and respect the effort. I put them in situations that challenge them, like the WISS Cambodia trip that we run annually. Students are building homes, planting trees and meeting villagers. What was your biggest teaching disaster? During my second year of teaching, we were holding a talent show and one of my students was going to play the guitar, but I didn’t know he couldn’t play. He went on stage, but was only strumming air and not hitting the strings. I laughed. He saw me and froze. I couldn’t find the words to get him to continue. I was angry with myself for a long while. What’s been your most rewarding moment? I received the Star of Xujing Award to celebrate the work we are doing in the community. I had my own billboard-sized photo and biography on a street corner for almost two years. I also recently won the Shanghai International Excellence Award for my service work, too.

competition, or to enter, please visit: www.ibo.org

Anniversary planning The IB turns 50 in 2018 and we want to know what you would like to see in the anniversary issue of IB World magazine. Let us know which topics you would like us to address, or if there’s a special interview we should cover. Email your ideas to editor@ibo.org.

Poll results

Do you ‘flip’ your classroom? 0% 40% Yes

Next issue’s question: Are boys under pressure to perform well in STEM subjects? Take part on Twitter: @IBWorldMag

15% No, but I will soon

45% No

IBWorld 7

news likes

Tweet wall

Selected materials for forward-thinking educators He Named Me Malala (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

On the afternoon of 9 October 2012, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman on her way home from school. Undeterred, she has since emerged as a leading campaigner for the rights of girls’ education and became the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. This documentary tells her incredible story of survival and bravery. Concept-Based Mathematics: Teaching for Deep Understanding (Corwin)

“Memorizing facts and formulae is a sure way for students to disengage from learning if they don’t have the foundations to build on,” explains Jennifer Wathall, Head of Mathematics at Island School, Hong Kong, in her new book. Packed with engaging assessment examples, discussion questions, research and resources, IB mathematics teachers will be inspired by ideas they can implement in the classroom straightaway.

Check out what’s been happening on Twitter

experiments, TED presents 11 talks that are designed to inspire creativity in and out of the classroom. Perfect for educators, who can either watch them with students or get ideas for lessons. Plickers (plickers.com)

How can you quickly check student understanding? Plickers cards feature unique numbered shapes that represent an answer. Teachers simply ask a question, students hold up their cards and teachers then use their smartphone to scan the responses and receive instant feedback on their answers. Free for both iOS and Android, Plickers is a fun and effective tool for all classrooms. Beautiful Planet (Disney/IMAX)

This stunning documentary by acclaimed writer and director Toni Myers features never-before-seen footage of the Earth, shot by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. It not only captures the raw beauty of our planet, but also offers a unique perspective of our relationship with it.

Teach Like a Pirate Looking for technology-free ways to engage your students? Enthusiastic high school teacher and seminar host Dave Burgess offers inspiration, practical techniques and ideas – and what he calls ‘hooks’ – to help you increase student engagement and boost your creativity. Talks to watch with kids (www.ted.com/playlists/86/ talks_to_watch_with_kids)

From an inspiring presentation by a teenager who developed a promising early test for cancer, to fun science

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Google Classroom (Google Apps for Education)

This handy app is an ideal way for both teachers and students to keep track of their assignments, improve communication and share resources. Teachers can create, review and grade homework all in one place, while students can check their assignments on the go, find class materials and get instant feedback. The paperless system – which means no more lugging books around or losing your work – is also easy on the environment. Available to all schools with Google Apps for Education.

For the chance to be featured here, simply tweet us @IBWorldMag to show us what exciting things are happening in your school



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mindfulness and wellbeing

Mindfulness Could it change the way you teach? Drawing on the traditions of Buddhist practice, the concept of mindfulness has become a global phenomenon – and it has particularly profound possibilities for education


hen students become over-excited and noise levels begin to rise, how easy is it to get them to shut their eyes and focus on the moment, in silence, for five minutes? This might sound impossible, but teachers around the world are doing it, and reporting benefits for students and themselves. Mindfulness has fi nally made a major breakthrough in education. The centuries-old Buddhist meditation technique has become a secular philosophy centred around focusing on what is happening moment-bymoment without being judgmental. Teachers are adopting mindfulness strategies to improve students’ concentration, self-awareness and empathy, and reduce stress and classroom conflict. Studies have shown that mindfulness can have positive effects on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and mental health disorders. The mindfulness-in-education movement complements social emotional learning (SEL). Both teach children how to build self-awareness and empathy, and ways to effectively handle their emotions, enhancing academic success and providing essential life skills. The IB embraces SEL. It’s reflected in the IB Learner Profile

attribute ‘balanced’, which encourages learners to understand the importance of calibrating all aspects of their lives to achieve wellbeing. The IB’s Approaches to Teaching and Learning (ATL) element of ‘emotional management’ is included in the ‘Affective skills’ part of the guidelines, which focuses on managing state of mind. Mindfulness encourages a growth mindset, and research shows that it creates better teachers. It helps them prioritize the demands of a working day, reducing stress and increasing resilience. But there is still skepticism. Parents have taken legal action against a school in the US as they were unhappy with the religious roots of mindfulness (see p15). And a lack of evidence demonstrating the long-term academic impact of mindfulness has raised concerns about the role it plays as an effective educational tool. But it’s a movement that can’t be ignored. In this special feature, IB World looks at how schools are embracing mindfulness beyond Personal, Social Health Education (PSHE) classes, and how it is helping students deal with the stresses of a demanding curriculum. Teacher health is important too. We’ve included wellbeing tips that can be tried right away by even the busiest of teachers. IBWorld 11

“Take a deep breath and count to three...” Students and teachers share how being in the present moment has enriched their lives

Three-minute deep breathing technique through the nose, expanding 1 Inhale your belly and filling your chest.

Eye pillows and lavender oil Nanjing International School, China “To me, mindfulness is when you relax without falling asleep and without thinking about yourself,” says Middle Years Programme (MYP) student Nohemi from Nanjing International School, China. “I find it relaxing and your mind kind of opens up,” adds classmate Freja. Neila Steele, a Primary Years Programme (PYP) grade 5 ELL (English Language Learner) teacher and certified yoga instructor, practices mindfulness with students and offers yoga. Her ‘balloon breath’ exercises help get PYP students settled during transition time. “As a teacher, mindfulness is about bringing awareness to the present, where you stop multitasking and instead focus on the moment,” she says. Steele also practices mindful eating, mindful walking and mindful ‘body scans’ with older students. As students lie on the floor with their eyes closed, they have the option to use eye pillows and put lavender oil on their temples. “They love it,” she says. “At fi rst they didn’t realize we were practicing mindfulness until we started using the language – that we’re living in the moment and letting our thoughts float away.” Students are also encouraged to reflect on negative emotions by naming their ‘monster’. “They connect to their sensations and emotions, identifying thoughts that are unkind to themselves and others,” says Steele. Due to its popularity, during the recent MYP exams, 60 students signed up for a mindfulness session. They have also been using their strategies at home. “Mindfulness helps them to be more creative,” says Steele. She encourages fellow teachers to try mindfulness and realize the multitude of benefits for themselves.

Mindfulness increases…

Mindfulness reduces…

Attention and focus


Confidence and willingness to take risks with learning


Self-awareness and a feeling of empathy towards others

Disengagement, distraction and disruption

Connection to others


12 IBWorld March 2016

1,2 ,3

2 Hold and count to three. fully from slightly 3 Exhale 4 Repeat. parted mouth and feel your body releasing tension and negative energy.

Grounding exercise

Try scheduling deep breathing exercises so that you won’t forget

1 Remain still, keeping eyes open. 2 Notice what you see, silently. 3 Feel your feet on the floor. 4 Ensure you breathe deeply throughout.

Maintain health and handle stress International School of Paris, France

Eye pillows and mindfulness help promote relaxation

“Mindfulness helped to distract me from trying to remember stuff for the exams, which was probably stressing me out more than the actual exam!” said one student at the International School of Paris (ISP). “It helped me relax and forget all the stress and imagine that I was the only one in the room,” said another. “It helped me to calm down and focus my thoughts.” ISP uses a range of mindfulness techniques, integrating them into the curriculum and classroom teaching. Students are taught breathing techniques and have been offered yoga to help maintain health and handle stress. At the start of MYP internal exams, students were read a two-minute ‘relaxation script’ to help focus and calm them. Now, 98 per cent of students surveyed have requested that it be used in the IB Diploma Programme (DP) exams. DP students set up a ‘Balance’ club as part of a Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project and it provided support for the IB Learner Profile attribute, which can be difficult to maintain during the DP years. “Students invited local specialists in different health professions to share ideas about how to maintain balance in their emotional, physical and academic lives,” says Tim Logan, ISP Vice Principal for Student Wellbeing. A wellbeing team (consisting of homeroom teachers, mentors, a counselor, nurse, and heads of grade) supports students by teaching the skills needed to emotionally and academically regulate themselves. Mindfulness has enriched teachers’ experience in the classroom, too. “It’s reinvigorated their development of new techniques and enhanced learning,” adds Logan.

mindfulness and wellbeing

Quiet time outdoors

15-minute Body Scan

High Meadows School, Georgia, US

on back with legs spread out in front and 1 Lie arms to the side, palms facing the ceiling.

“Mindfulness in the classroom is encouraging students to recognize how they’re feeling in the present moment, be aware of what’s happening around them and share their main goal for the day,” says PYP Coordinator Kathryn McElvaney from High Meadows School, Georgia, US. “We often get ourselves wrapped up in the past or worried about the future, so we talk about staying in the present moment.” To promote mindfulness, students take their classrooms outside. “Teachers will incorporate the outdoors in some aspect of learning every day. Quiet time in the fresh air is a good way to bring you back to the present moment and minimize stress,’ adds McElvaney. Students work with school counselor Sue Amacker to recognize the ‘power of the breath’, which means conscious breathing. Mentors help students explore their feelings when they are stressed, and they are offered meditation. Amacker says: “Mindfulness is critical to social emotional learning. It calms us when we are angry, sad or frustrated. Being mindful helps our youngest students process difficult emotions they aren’t familiar with, and it allows our older students to more fully experience the joy in life.” But mindfulness is not just for the students at High Meadows; teachers are offered yoga sessions every week. “It’s a great way for them to slow down. When we are looking after our own wellbeing, we are doing well for our students. We need to Students at High model that wellness back to them.”

with a few deep breaths 2 Begin to get students into a calm state. students to bring attention to every 3 Ask part of their body. Slowly name them, part by part – eg. toes, ankles, calves, knees, lower back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, neck and head. if they can feel any tension in 4 Ask each body part, allowing it to soften as they bring attention to it.

5 End with a few deep breaths.

g aryin Try vlength the this of ise exerc

Awareness of attention triggers International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHMC-AA), Vietnam

“For me, mindfulness is about trying to make students aware of their own attention triggers,” says science teacher Jozef Bendik, who has taken what he learned as a DP teacher and now applies it at International School Ho Chi Minh City American Academy (ISHMC-AA). “Students reflect on why they might become disengaged Meadows School and less interested in certain scientific topics by writing practice yoga reflections in their journals.” Students at ISHMC-AA used to frequently memorize and recite facts for quizzes and tests. But Bendik has changed this with mindfulness French International School Hong Kong techniques. “I help them realize that thinking precedes understanding. They have to think DP Assistant Examiner and language teacher at French about what they are learning and how that will International School Hong Kong, Nathalie Grobe, help their understanding,” he says. practices mindfulness for 20 minutes every day, with Student Lisa Nguyen says: “I can learn about the help of an app called Headspace. It’s allowed her to what I’m best at, control myself and avoid stress.” be more present and calm, listen more, talk less, and be It was a challenge at fi rst. Students didn’t more open. “Now, I don’t let things build up,” she says. understand what Bendik was trying to do. “I use my breaks wisely by doing breathing exercises.” They found it difficult to distinguish the Grobe is studying mindfulness with Mindful Schools differences between thinking, understanding and and has brought her new-found skills into the classroom: memorizing, but the results have been invaluable. “I recently gave my fi rst mindfulness session to my year “It was a whole new skill for them,” he says. 11 class. It went really well. Soon, I will offer lunchtime Mindfulness “Now, they fi nd that learning is more effective and sessions with the help of meditation apps.” exercises have they are more confident in their learning. Students She is also currently completing continuing been popular with students in Vietnam are self-motivated and their learning has become professional development (CPD) with the English School faster and more effective.” Foundation on positive education, which is a shift away from focusing on academic achievement and instead increases motivation and promotes wellbeing. “I’ve visited a few schools, looking at the teaching of Balloon breaths ‘character strengths’ and ‘character education’, which is linked to emotional learning,” says Grobe. Sit down with legs crossed. “Mindfulness through positive education teaches students compassion, gratitude and kindness. We are encouraged to write gratitude letters to ourselves, and Place hands on belly and imagine a balloon inside. this helps us focus on the moment and be thankful for what we have.” Suitable “Practicing mindfulness helps students improve their for PYP Inhale, which inflates the belly (balloon). time management skills as they can focus better,” adds students Grobe. “It also helps students recognize and process (It’s a good idea to any difficult emotions they may experience.” use a Exhale to deflate the balloon. balloon as

Positive education and gratitude




a visual aid)


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mindfulness and wellbeing

Is it just a fad?


indfulness has enjoyed a recent boom in mainstream education, but while the immediate benefits seem attractive, there is a concern that it’s becoming too popular, too quickly. As a result, it has been called a ‘fad’, and its shortcomings highlighted by some scientists and educators.

What the critics say Mindfulness may help students to become more aware of their immediate surroundings, but can it increase resilience? According to a headteacher in the UK, there is a place for mindfulness, but it falls short when helping children to cope with the pressures of the real world. David Lambon, Head of Ampleforth College in the UK, says: “We need to give children not just coping strategies, but values that they can rely on, no matter what life throws at them. We need to give them something that forms their character.” He suggests serving the community in more direct ways, such as the IB’s CAS component of the DP, is a more effective way to help students cope with stress. It helps them change their perspective on the world, and can improve their capacity for empathy, he says.

Oxford academic and author Theodore Zeldin agrees. He thinks mindfulness is “bad for people”, and that the world needs to move away from an era of self-discovery. Zeldin believes people are wasting valuable thinking-time on meditation and mindfulness, and should stop trying to “clear their heads”. He instead encourages individuals to make new relationships with those who share different views. While many studies demonstrate that mindfulness improves concentration, research has also found that it can have a negative effect on memory, making it less accurate. Three separate experiments conducted by the University of California, San Diego, US, found that imaginary experiences were perceived as real after mindfulness training.

Religious roots

Since the 1960s, the United States Supreme Court has found it unconstitutional for public schools to teach religious practices. Although mindfulness originally stems from Buddhism, it has since also become a secular practice. Many schools avoid using the terms ‘meditation’ and ‘chanting’ as they suggest religious overtones. What to consider before introducing Mindfulness mindfulness to your students promotes a caring attitude as students Practice mindfulness yourself and find are encouraged to out what the benefits are. Teaching send good thoughts students to be present starts with you. to others, while Ensure you explain to students what yoga is hailed for mindfulness isn’t, such as chanting, its ability to teach mysticism and just sitting cross-legged on breathing exercises a mat. This will help manage expectations. and reduce stress. But some Beware not to force it on students – parents still feel certain techniques, like meditation, uncomfortable with don’t suit everyone. mindfulness’s roots in Eastern religion Be mindful of the terminology used – and say it’s a waste ‘chanting’ may imply religious affiliation. of class time. Instead, promote mindfulness as In 2013, parents part of a healthy lifestyle. sued California's Encinitas Union Last, but not least, make sure it’s fun. school district. At the time, it was

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Gregory Bull/AP Press Association

Mindfulness has been praised for its ability to increase student wellbeing, but its impact on learning has been questioned by critics. Sophie-Marie Odum investigates

Many schools teach yoga both as exercise and with mindfulness

believed to be the fi rst district in the country to have full-time yoga teachers at every one of its schools. Concerned parents felt the classes were “inherently religious” and violated the constitutional principle of separating church and state. Administrators argued yoga is a secular way to promote strength, flexibility and balance. Prosecutors were overruled, as the judge agreed. Parents are still fighting the verdict, causing concern in some quarters, and showing that schools need to be aware of how mindfulness is taught.

Conflict of interest There’s a thin line to tread when it comes to teaching mindfulness in the classroom. Mindfulness teaches students to live in the present moment but encouraging forward planning helps students effectively manage their time. This discrepancy could cause confusion. Once teachers have overcome this hurdle, continuity may also be an issue. When students leave one classroom in a calm and mindful state, this could be instantly disrupted in their next class if that teacher does not practice mindfulness. Ensuring the principles are applied at home is also a challenge. Teaching mindfulness is harder than it looks and teachers require proper training to practice it with students. There’s more to it than asking students to ‘breathe deeply for three minutes’. By not practicing it themselves, there is a risk that teachers will have a different mindset to their students or students could be put off, warn experts. There are certain caveats, too. Studies suggest that mindfulness is not for those who are currently depressed. It tends to uncover hidden emotions, so teachers need to be trained and prepared to support students. There may be plenty of research that make the benefits of mindfulness seem very attractive, but many realize that it’s not a quick-fi x solution. Teaching this technique requires commitment, and schools may want to approach it with caution. IBWorld 15

Investigating stress in the DP The IB’s Chief Academic Officer David Hawley reveals the organization’s plans to combat stress within the DP Tell us more about the IB Workload and Stress survey currently underway This is the first year of a two-year study. We’ve asked questions related to wellness at the beginning of the DP and then again towards the end of the first year. We’ve found that most measures of self-reported wellbeing decreased from the beginning to the end of the school year. Some students are experiencing a tremendous amount of stress, but we don’t think it’s unique to the IB. When I visit schools and talk to students, I find that students who don’t report that the IB is stressful manage their time particularly well. For students who are struggling, what will the IB do to address this? First of all, we want to get some good baseline data. We are auditing student workload to ensure it is reasonable and will make adjustments based on what we discover. We are also driving towards more of an interdisciplinary approach, focusing on big ideas and essential concepts and less on adding more content to our courses. We will explore how to design a single assessment that would measure what has been learned in more than one subject. Finally, we want to alert schools about all the developments related to social and emotional learning (SEL) and find ways to provide teacher resources in this area, including what is working in approaches to mindfulness, attention and time management. An explicit requirement or expectation for students to dedicate time to physical fitness is not a formal part of the DP, but perhaps it should be. Does the IB put more emphasis on academic achievement than on SEL? One of the fundamental aspects of the IB is the IB Learner Profile, and the attribute ‘balanced’ encourages students to achieve this in all areas of their lives. The experience of the IB is strongly 16 IBWorld March 2016

influenced by what we measure. We’ve looked at a student journey through the DP and how many of the attributes we are assessing. We discovered that we assess the cognitive attributes well – ie inquirer, knowledgeable, thinker, communicators and reflection. But we don’t give enough attention to the social, emotional, wellbeing and health aspects, such as caring, open-minded, balanced. How does the IB promote wellness? Approaches to Teaching and Learning (ATL) is common to all IB programmes and every student experience. Last year, we published a microsite about ATL, providing more information, and highlighted selfmanagement skills and resilience. In a recent conversation with David Perkins, author of Life in the Mindful Classroom: Nurturing the Disposition of Mindfulness, I asked him how teachers can develop empathic, ethical young people. He explained that such dispositions are best absorbed directly from the school environment, from the culture that educators create and model. If adults are frenzied and stressed, the students will be too. And, of course, the opposite will be true. How have parents responded to the pressures of the DP on their children? Some parents emphasize the instrumental value of the IB, say, as a passport to a good university instead of its more intrinsic value as education for life. Sometimes parents themselves are the drivers of some of the stress students experience. How will the IB develop best practice in terms of teaching wellness? We are working with a number of different partners who are doing important work in this area. For example, we have partnered with Peter Senge and Daniel Goleman to find ways to apply principles from their book, The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education, which looks at the inner, outer and other person. We are exploring questions like: Can empathy be taught? We are on a journey of co-creation in partnership with educators to do this important work.

BREAKING THE TABOO Psychologist and co-author of Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools, Katherine Weare (pictured below) speaks candidly about how schools can address mental health issues Saying “I’m stressed” is socially acceptable nowadays. But be aware that such a statement could be disguising deeper issues, such as anxiety and depression, either in students or staff. Overwhelming stress is not conducive to effective learning in students or good teaching in staff. Our brains go into fight, flight or freeze mode. Positively teaching the skills that underpin good mental health and wellbeing – such as self-awareness, emotional control, resilience, and empathy – is vital. School staff have a clear role in both modeling these skills and developing them in their students. Being a young person can be hard in today’s world. Schools really need to clue up and help children navigate what can be the dark side of social media, such as cyberbullying and the normalization of eating disorders, self-harm and suicide. We don’t want to turn every teenage drama into a mental health issue, but we don’t want to dismiss issues either. Teachers are good at spotting when a young person is behaving differently – they may either act out in anger or violence, or become more quiet and withdrawn. Good teachers can recognize that ‘difficult’ behaviour needs addressing and has an underlying meaning. It can be an opportunity to help, get to know a student better and find positive ways forward. The most basic need is for staff to have a friendly, kind and respectful relationship with students so that they feel they can approach an adult if they need to talk. It can be a life saver. Self-harm, for example, is something many teachers find frightening, but is sadly increasingly being used as an outlet for difficult feelings in students and even staff. If you spot signs, such as a someone who is suddenly particularly keen to cover up, gently take them aside and give them an opportunity to tell you if anything is worrying them. It’s important to remain calm if they do open up. Matter-of-factly help them get any dressings they may need and encourage them to keep talking. Making sure you and the whole team are well informed about mental health issues will give you the confidence to handle challenging and upsetting situations should they arise.

mindfulness and wellbeing

Keep calm and carry on Regina Labardini Muench DP student (pictured right), Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico “I’m a teenager so there is always something to stress about – friends, boys, school… the list goes on. The DP is very demanding but music, exercise and scented candles help me stay calm. “Being a risk-taker and open-minded encourages me to look for different ways to release stress. Sometimes I’ll play my guitar and sing. This helps me refresh my mind and then I feel ready to continue with my studies. It’s important to find time for my friends, too. “Time management is key to the DP. It’s about organization and being able to handle many things at once, so I set myself a strict schedule. “In the past, I’ve become stressed by leaving things to the last minute. If I feel overwhelmed, I stop and recognize I’m stressed and tell myself not to rush or burn out. I sit down, take a deep breath and relax a little, and then continue. “Creating a balance can be hard to maintain, but it’s not impossible. A balanced lifestyle includes physical, emotional, and intellectual wellbeing. Having a healthy body, and being emotionally stable makes it much easier to do better academically.”

Stress-reduction tips to share with students


Students reflect on the DP and share how they maintain an air of tranquility during stressful moments Rachel Bellman

Krishna Venigalla

IB alumna, who now works with Lanterna Education, which offers study skills sessions to current IB students

DP student, Downingtown STEM Academy High School, US “I had become so used to hearing the word ‘stress' in my school that I decided to change my perspective of it. I would rather indulge in solutions, than problems. “The hardest week was when I had to complete various summatives, revise for my SATs, create an agenda for an upcoming school club meeting, complete an internship application, be a good friend in a time of need, as well as be a responsible daughter and sister at home. I thought, “how am I supposed to do this all?” On top of it all, I was unwell.

“I identified the specific topics that I didn’t understand and then asked questions about them until I understood. This was the only way to truly stop myself from getting stressed out about what I didn’t know.

“I soon realized there was much more to be happy about. This helped me to draw a line between what I wanted to do and what would look good on an application form.

“I feel I was successful at not getting too overwhelmed. It helped that I really loved my other subject choices, and I also made sure that I kept on seeing my friends and doing other extracurricular activities.

“The key to a peaceful environment is positive energy, and mindful actions, words and attitudes.

“Learning to give yourself a break when you need it can be one of the hardest but most important things to remember when dealing with stress. Doing things I enjoyed that had nothing to do with work and spending time with friends not only helped with the stress, but also made the workload feel more manageable.”

“I started learning about yoga and understanding the importance of wellness. It helped me. Now, my friend Diana and I are planning our first wellness day. We’ll help people explore the potential of yoga and how they can handle stress through mindfulness.”

Approach workloads in a rational way Write down all your tasks. “This can help to identify the problem and work out a solution. Recognizing what exactly is causing stress doesn’t always come naturally,” says IB alumna Rachel Bellman.

June 1






























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“I remember the DP felt like a lot of work. But I was lucky in that my school offered a lot of support. Ultimately, I found that the only way to manage stress was to deal with the problems head-on; for me this meant admitting to myself that I needed to put extra time and effort into the subjects I wasn’t as strong in.

Rest Sleep is still important, even if it is the night before an exam. Lack of sleep affects our mood and if prolonged, has negative effects on wellbeing. Maintaining a healthy diet is important too. Skipping meals affects memory and concentration.


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Commit to a plan “To-do lists, schedules and visual calendars can help. This level of planning doesn’t always come instinctively to students, but can really help to minimize stress in the long term,” advises Bellman.

Pause Stopping and breathing deeply can help shift the mind from a stressful situation. IBWorld 17


steps to improve teacher wellbeing

You might be great at caring for others, but what about looking after yourself?

Upward hands pose


Mindfulness begins at home

Mindfulness can help teachers manage the demands of teaching. “When I practiced mindfulness regularly, I was calmer, felt less flustered by student behaviour and took disruptive behaviour less personally. As I was more effective at managing behaviour, my classroom was calmer, and students were more engaged and learned better,” says Professor Patricia Jennings, psychologist and author of Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom. Mindful activities include walking, eating and meditation. Try going for a walk and paying attention to your surroundings. The main goal for all these activities is to bring your mind to the present moment and not stress about the future.

Low lunge, right foot forward

Low lunge, right foot back

Sun salutation Downward facing dog

Plank pose

Four-limbed staff pose

Upward facing dog (or cobra)

Go off-script

In Jennings’ book, she discusses scripts: “A database of stored emotional memories that influence the way we think, feel and behave. Scripts are shortcuts; they enable us to react to a situation quickly and without thought,” she writes. Jennings says that many scripts are formed during our childhood, as this is mostly when we learn what is deemed ‘appropriate’ behaviour. But scripts can cause problems. When we project a past problem on to a present situation, this causes worry, anxiety and stress. For example, you may assume that a student’s bad behaviour is intentional when it’s more likely the result of something going


Forward bend

Forward bend

3 Alamy


Upward hands pose Start

Becoming mindful of ‘scripts’ can combat negative emotions

on outside of school. Being mindfully aware can help you recognize and disengage from scripts when they arise, reducing negative emotion.

Take care of yourself

“Teachers need to take care of themselves by getting enough sleep, exercise and rest, and by doing activities they find fun,” says Jennings. Consider yoga. It boosts physical and mental wellbeing and can improve sleep, and concentration. You learn how to clear the mind through breathing and yoga poses (try the sun salutation, above), which are designed to reduce the effects of stress on the body. And if you don’t have time to work out or go for a walk, conscious breathing counts as an exercise: “Three mindful breaths can calm the nervous system and help teachers get back on track if they are starting to notice themselves getting stressed, anxious or frustrated,” says Jennings. See page 12 for this exercise.

How to change negative thinking 1 Find a quiet space

2 Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths until you feel relaxed

18 IBWorld March 2016

3 Reflect on a problem that is currently worrying you

4 Imagine a positive outcome for about one minute

5 Stop and notice how this feels in the body

Press Association Images

mindfulness and wellbeing


Teacher workloads can be stressful – so try to take a break from the classroom

4 Exercise

Take a break Know when to stop. The greatest pressure comes from ourselves. Making time for family and hobbies contributes to happiness. And, if the workload is too much, don’t be afraid to delegate, where possible.


Recognizing emotions This can be done five minutes before a class a quiet space where 1 Find you won’t be disturbed

2 Close your eyes and breathe deeply 3 Notice how you feel 4

Name the emotion

yourself what prompted it and 5 Ask investigate the emotion by asking: “How am I feeling physically?” ,“How intense is this emotion?” release the emotion, exhale 6 To deeply and imagine the emotion leaving your body.


2 3


Monitor your emotions

Stress manifests itself in physical ways. How do you know when you’re overwhelmed, stressed or anxious? Signals may include tense shoulders, jaws and an increase in body temperature. These telltale signs may be accompanied by irritability, lack of sleep and loss of appetite. “When teachers start noticing these things, I encourage them to calm themselves by taking three deep

Brain dump

1Draw a circle and inside, write ‘control’ another around it and write 2 Draw ‘influence’ in the second ring

“When teachers start noticing signs of stress, I encourage them to calm themselves by taking three deep breaths”

the things you can control in the 4 Write centre, things you can influence in the

breaths, or to do a grounding exercise,” says Jennings (see page 12 for this exercise). Recognizing your triggers will help you choose how you react to a potentially stressful or challenging situation in the future.

next ring and things over which you have no control in the outer ring. This will help you plan what you can influence and think of solutions and ways forward, while helping you realize what you cannot control.

Start a ‘feel-good’ jar Every time you receive a compliment from friends, family, students and parents, write it down and put it in a jar. You can draw on this positive encouragement whenever you feel it’s all getting a bit too much.

a third circle around the other 3 Draw two and name this ‘no control’


Ask for help Finally, if you feel you’ve tried everything, but still feel stressed, ask for help. Whether that’s from a colleague, manager or a doctor. Stress doesn’t have to be part of everyday life. High levels over long periods of time can be seriously bad for health.

IBWorld 19

The recipe for a great IB World School

handful of collabo ration sprinkle of creativ ity 1 great team a tin of professio nalism pinch of equity 1 mission x2 diversity & inc lusivity

What’s the difference between a good school and a great one? Fresh from the IB Africa, Europe, Middle East regional conference 2015, Finnish educator and author Pasi Sahlberg names his essential ingredients

Collaboration should be a fundamental principle of schooling, for both students and teachers. It creates cultures that strengthen helpfulness, communication and social capital among students. Cooperation between students is also the best way to advance interpersonal skills that are essential for teamwork

20 IBWorld March 2016

Sprinkle of creativity Play is a natural and powerful way to learn. If education aims to help each individual reach their full potential, then curiosity and imagination are key. Schools can only become more creative when they are places where teachers and children feel safe, respect one another, and have

Mark Edward Harris/Getty Images Alamy, Superstock

Handful of collaboration

outside of school. A strong collaborative culture builds a safe and secure psychological and social environment for risk-taking, creativity and innovation. Lack of collaboration can lead to unhealthy competition and isolation. Building stronger social bonds between individuals can then become difficult. Non-cooperation can also affect young people’s ability to understand how to learn together, how to communicate effectively, and how to solve problems together.

Essential ingredients

a sense of community. The current movement towards standardization of teaching and learning – and testing to see if common standards have been met – is doing the opposite. Celebrating failure is one way schools can become more creative. Everyone should learn to think that success and failure are not opposites. Failure precedes success. Also, be sure that creativity is not something that is always linked to arts and music. We all have creative capacities and talents, but they manifest themselves differently.

1 great team There are four elements to a great team – good personal mastery of each individual, a sense of belonging, emotional bonds and diversity of personalities and skills. Team members should complement one another, rather than be too similar. Organizing schools into groups of teachers is the best way to practice team skills. There is no shortcut to a ‘team-based school’ with strong team dynamics and productive cooperative learning.

“An inspiring school mission statement can be a critical tool in moving the school forward”

a tin of professionalism Successful school leaders share similar qualities to great sports coaches. They know how to inspire the people they lead. This requires a shared vision or dream that everyone feels passionate about. Great leaders know how to get the best out of their colleagues, and sustainable leadership in school requires that they understand the power of collaborative and distributed leadership practices. Great leaders are those who are masters of collaboration and teamwork.

Pinch of equity Equity refers to fairness and inclusion, and the most successful education systems are equitable. When students’ family backgrounds say less about their performance in school, overall learning outcomes improve. Regardless of each child’s circumstances, they should have an opportunity to fulfill their dreams. However, schools also need adequate resources and system-level policies to enhance fairness and inclusion. Most equitable education systems, like that of Finland, for instance, systematically allocate more resources to those schools that have more demanding student populations, in terms of equity

outcomes, rather than relying on head count. These policies are sometimes labeled ‘positive discrimination’.

1 mission Everyone should own the school’s mission statement. Unfortunately, in many cases, a mission statement is there for bureaucratic purposes rather than as an inspiring beacon for bringing the school together to work for a common purpose. Mission statements should be prepared together with all stakeholders, be brief and easy to remember, and helpful in the daily work of teachers and others in school. An inspiring mission statement can be a critical tool in moving the school forward.

x2 diversity & inclusivity The world we live in is diverse and inclusive so education should prepare children for that. International mindedness encourages diversity and inclusivity in education, as well as open-mindedness and an appreciation of other cultures. Most young people today live in international social networks and diversity for them is much more natural. We must not let our schools become segregated in terms of social class, race or religion.

difficult conversations


ow do you explain to your students why every year, millions of people put their lives at risk to flee wartorn countries, or why people in some parts of the world are dying of starvation, when you, as an educator, encourage compassion and empathy? It may be a natural instinct to protect children from what is happening in the news, but with instant access to the latest

22 IBWorld March 2016

events via social media, it’s hard to ignore. Discussing difficult topics is likely to begin at home, but how do you continue the conversation in the classroom without increasing fear and anxiety, and instead promote understanding and peace? IB teachers share how they tackle difficult topics, and explain why open and honest conversations can help students learn justice, integrity and respect.

Mark Edward Harris/Getty Images Press Association Images

In a world of alarming news stories and graphic social media reports, young people are confronted with confusing events every day. IB World asked teachers how they introduce these tough conversations in the classroom

REFUGEE CRISIS When Primary Years Programme (PYP) student Amelie Samson watched the news and saw scenes of Syrian men, women and children crossing borders on foot and fleeing by boat – risking everything to escape conflict – she wanted to take action. But when she shared her idea with classmates at International School Basel (ISB), Switzerland, PYP teacher Jeff Rea realized that there were big misconceptions. “Students had seen things on the news and heard things outside of school that they did not understand,” says Rea. “Many of them didn’t know what a refugee was. Some thought they were criminals running from the police. Others thought they were terrorists. When they started to inquire, perspectives immediately changed.” Rea explained the situation in greater depth and helped students understand what was actually taking place, but also gave them the freedom to make their own decisions about how they felt. There was a lot of attention given to the subject in Germany, and students

travelling to school from France would see the border staffed by heavily armed military. “There were many questions, which tied really well into what we were learning in class,” says Rea. “Everyone wanted to help out. Amelie’s home learning led to an entire class taking action alongside her.” On the UN’s International Day of Peace (21 September 2015), the entire class presented to students in grades 4 and 5, explaining the situation as they understood it. Teachers from ISB’s Aesch campus, who worked at refugee camps in Germany, came in to share their stories. Throughout the week, clothes, toys and shoes were donated, which parents helped to transport. “It’s important to deal with difficult topics head-on,” says Rea. “I just try to make sure that, as an educator, I am representing as many perspectives as possible. We don’t want to be presenting students with the information, we want to give them as many different ways to view the situation as possible.”

IBWorld 23

difficult conversations

RACISM very important not to jump to conclusions, and give others the space to speak.” To help discuss the topic, Cooke used techniques from international organization Facing History and Ourselves. It offers content that helps students make connections between past moral dilemmas and present ethical choices. Cooke uses pedagogical strategies, such as silent conversations, where students have a discussion with each other – not in words, but in writing. This slows down the students’ thinking process and helps them focus on the views of others, while the ‘Scope and Sequence’ technique examines human behaviour and looks at identity, membership and belonging in a society. Cooke’s students keep journals to reflect on their emotions. “Facing History training helps discuss difficult topics. It encourages students to make judgments, but also see how decisions are affected by a person’s broader identity,” she says.

The community of Ferguson, Missouri attend a demonstration

RELIGION AND EVOLUTION Hickory Day School in North Carolina has to tread very carefully when discussing evolution with its middle-school students. “Creationism vs evolution is a very personal issue for people who live in the area,” says Rick Seay, Head of School. “In Southern parts of the US, there are people who interpret the Bible differently to others. As an IB World School, we are not trying to change people’s beliefs. We let students and parents know that there are 24 IBWorld March 2016

other ways of understanding our world.” Teachers present scientific findings but have to make students aware of other views on creationism. Hickory only offers the PYP, but middle school students draw on the IB Learner Profile to discuss evolution and other potentially challenging subjects. Students become risk-takers as they step out of their comfort zone and learn about the scientific findings, which can contradict much of

what they have been told at home. “Even though we are a small school, we are very fortunate to have international students with many different religious viewpoints,” adds Seay. “But it also creates an environment where learning to respect one another is key.” Discussing difficult topics takes a great deal of preparation. Seay says: “Be inclusive and don’t let one student or one viewpoint dominate the conversation.”

Internet Book Archive Images, Press Association Images

When Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, US, in 2014, it made front-page news. After a grand jury declined to charge Wilson, demonstrations turned violent. It caused a worldwide debate and brought institutional racism back under the media spotlight. Humanities teacher Stephanie Cooke from Halcyon London International School, UK, and her Middle Years Programme (MYP) class discussed these events while learning about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States: “Students had to examine their language as these discussions touched on personal and contemporary understandings of racism, patriotism and self-awareness,” says Cooke. “We did a lot of talking about how we speak to each other, allowing students the space to alter their opinion if they chose to,” she says. “With such a complex topic, it’s

difficult conversations

SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ABUSE Around 83 per cent of females in grades eight to 11, in US public schools, have been victims of some form of sexual harassment, IB Diploma Programme (DP) student Raven Medrano told her class in a geography presentation. Students were learning about gender inequality as part of a broader unit on disparities in wealth and development, and Raven came across the statistic on the UN Women website during her research. “The students were disturbed,” says Gregory Roman, humanities teacher at Milwaukee’s Ronald Reagan IB High School. “Seeing that statistic made it painfully evident that some students must be keenly aware of what constitutes sexual harassment, while others are not at all.”

“Don’t be afraid to broach difficult subjects – students might be more at ease discussing them than we teachers assume”

They had a class discussion about what sexual harassment means, and what forms it might take. “There was a range of understanding,” Roman adds. As the school’s head American Football coach, Roman also discussed the topic with his players. This was based on a UNICEF approach, which uses soccer as a platform to promote awareness of sexual violence and harassment towards women. “Don’t be afraid to broach difficult subjects with students,” says Roman. “Exhibit the IB Learner Profi le of ‘risktaker’. Many students might be more at ease discussing difficult subjects than we teachers assume, and for those students who aren’t, it could be a good way for them to become more relaxed about it. “High-school students so often want to be seen as adults, so introducing difficult subjects with statements such as ‘having a mature discussion with a mature audience’ can lead to students assuming that level.” Students were inspired to take action and spearheaded an ‘Orange Day’ – which

is part of the UN’s UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign. It promotes the 25th of each month as a special day to symbolize a future without violence. On their fi rst Orange Day, students created posters and spoke at a staff meeting, explaining what it was all about. “Participation was even better than we had imagined,” says Roman. “Awareness of this critical issue has been raised significantly here. The fi rst step was awareness, and now there is discussion about extending our campaign.”

be targeted differently. We also looked at Stephanie Cooke, humanities teacher at patriarchy, and how that can be another Halcyon London International School, UK, took a risk when she decided to create factor in identity,” she says. To further explore the topic, Cooke a unit called ‘Sexual violence in conflict’. invited Fiona Lloyd-Davies to talk to After attending a Facing History and students and answer their questions. Ourselves educator workshop, entitled The Lloyd-Davies made the documentary Nanjing Atrocities: Crimes of War, where the Under the Shadow (set in the use of sexual violence and Democratic Republic of rape as a weapon of war was Congo), which follows the discussed, Cooke realized story of Masika, a woman that this issue isn’t really who offers help and shelter discussed in schools, and it to rape victims after should be: “I felt that it was suffering attacks herself. my responsibility, as a Male students approached history teacher, to address the topic maturely: “They this topic,” she says. Students in London tackle could see how it affects “One parent found the harrowing subject matter gender structures. It’s in a mature way subject matter quite bold, getting all students to consider but felt it was important for something they’ve never really thought students to learn about it, as well as about about before,” says Cooke. patriarchal structures in society.” Students also explored the Everyday Cooke used the Facing History and Ourselves ‘Scope and Sequence’ technique Sexism Project – a website that records incidents of sexism experienced by women. with students, which examines human Cooke says: “Students discussed the kind behaviour, and discusses identity, of behaviour they might encounter in their membership and belonging in a society. everyday lives, related to patriarchy, and “We looked at how being female can affect your role in conflict and how you can how they might deal with these situations.”

Press Association Images

WAR ATROCITIES In 2014, China held its first Nanjing Massacre memorial day

Cool tools for the classroom From rap battles to cartoon illustrations, IB teachers around the world are bringing learning to life in new and exciting ways


he words ‘classroom’ and ‘fun’ are not traditionally synonymous with each other. But as the battle for student attention gets fiercer, things are starting to change. A student’s attention span is often short at the best of times, so if they feel under- or overwhelmed by a particular topic, you might be lucky to even get them listening in the first place. Add to this the long list of mobile devices and apps widely available, and it means educators are having to ramp up their efforts to keep students engaged in the classroom. But IB teachers are getting creative as they combine their talents with teaching, providing fun and motivating lessons that encourage natural and easy learning.



The Maker Movement – learning through making – is the latest catchphrase in education and it’s something many educators do naturally. However, schools are making it a fresh experience for students. At United Nations International School (UNIS) of Hanoi, in Vietnam, PYP teachers are working with the MYP design team to incorporate ‘making’ into units of inquiry (UOI), mathematics and literacy. Students recently created an air cannon from recycled water bottles and plastic bags, and put them to the test. “They made a chart, shot off their cannons, analysed their results, then they used their findings to redesign them,” says PYP teacher Mindy Slaughter. “This made an excellent lesson in organizing data, which fits well with our mathematics and UOI.” Students sometimes work on their designs during the weekly Genius Hour – a movement inspired by Google that encourages creativity in the classroom. UNIS Hanoi calls this I-time. Students then present their project and explain what they have learned. “When students are making things, they have a chance to release their creativity and it opens their natural curiosity,” says Slaughter. The students are more engaged in their learning. “They feel successful. Maker activities naturally differentiate according to students’ needs and abilities. This helps students show improvement in a variety of areas,” says Slaughter. “Students have shown increased meta-cognition, they understand how they think as learners and what they need to do to improve.”

28 IBWorld March 2016



“Let it go, it’s Orgo. Can’t hold it back anymore. Let it go, it’s Orgo. Send the leaving group out the door. I don’t care, if its tertiary, let the carbocation rage on… SN1 never bothered me anyway,” sings IB Chemistry HL teacher Scott Milam to his class. It’s a parody of Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’, called ‘Let It Orgo’ (organic chemistry). Milam, from Plymouth High School in Canton, Michigan, US, combines chemistry and music to create catchy songs, complete with videos. He plays them live in class via YouTube, allowing him to pause and ask reflection questions. Classroom and homework materials are also linked to the videos. The Little Mermaid’s ‘Part of your world’ and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s ‘Oompa Loompa song’ have also been remixed by Milam. His ‘epic rap battles of chemistry’ include Au (gold) vs Ag (silver) and sodium vs sodium ion. “The goal is to get students to make connections between different things in chemistry,” says Milam. “It helps engage them, and it gives them something simpler to start with.” Students enjoy watching Milam’s performances and many of his videos have over 1,000 views. The school was authorized to offer the IB Diploma Programme (DP) in 2014 and Milam’s songs help recruit more students to the programme. “My videos get shared across social media so students outside the programme can learn something, too. It gives them something to talk about.”

It’s cool because “Mr Milam’s chemical characters really add a creative spin to chemistry class and at the same time re-emphasize important content we have learned throughout each unit.” Manish Rajendran, DP student

“The music videos may seem cheesy, but they are extremely beneficial and show our teacher’s dedication to making sure we not only know the material, but also have fun.” Priyank Patel, DP student


cool tools



The Silent Disco craze that once revolutionized the clubbing scene has now made its way into a physical education class in Germany. MYP students at IB World School International School of Düsseldorf are using wireless headphones as part of a unit on goal setting, which focuses on developing running and fitness levels. They can choose their stage of running development and put their endurance to the test by following different episodes of Couch to 5k, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) fitness podcast. Students can choose whether they are at a beginner, intermediate or an advanced level, and receive instructions through the headphones. “It gives them autonomy over their learning,” says MYP teacher Lieke Burghout. “By choosing their own levels, students accept the consequences of the training. If they pick ‘advanced’, for example, they understand that it will be a tough workout. It offers encouragement as everyone feels that their training goals are achievable.”



Books, online articles and films could all help explain the nature vs nurture debate, but MYP Individuals and Societies and DP Theory of Knowledge (TOK) teacher Gary Allen Goodwin uses cartoon illustrations at the Canadian International School of Beijing, China. “Cartooning and visual literacy is a powerful tool in instruction, especially with second language learners. It helps them understand key vocabulary, understand cause-and-effect relationships in history and participate in discussion,” says Goodwin. He has drawn almost 60 cartoons that explain the entire French Revolution for his MYP class, and has used illustrations to help describe the Leipzig experiment. Insightful discussions have come from using his technique: “I once used a grade 8 inquiry question cartoon about an area of potential human settlement to help brainstorm ideas. Students came to the board to draw over my cartoon, showing where they would choose to live,” explains Goodwin. “This led to a great debate and discussion.” English as an Additional Language (EAL) students (where the school provides support for students for whom the language of instruction is not their first language) have improved their literacy skills as a result. Goodwin has spotted them reading his cartoons online and copying them in notebooks during breaks. “My students are more engaged in class discussions and visual learners feel that their style of learning is valued. Students also use them to catch up on material when they’re away,” he adds. Cartoons are a massive hit in other departments as teachers are using Goodwin’s creations in their classrooms, too.

It’s cool because

The original purpose of using headphones was to eliminate distraction while the school gym was being refurbished. Burghout had to teach physical education classes in a huge, shared, semipermanent inflatable tent on the soccer pitches. “It was disruptive for teachers and difficult to get the students to focus,” she says. “Listening to music was almost impossible.” Burghout remembered a documentary she’d seen on TV about silent discos. “I thought that would be cool to use with my students,” she says. She made an enquiry and soon enough had 40 headphones and three transmitters. As well as differentiated learning, students also use the headphones to receive instruction from a central screen, follow instructions from fitness apps, and for group work. Students are more focused, can better pick up on the musical beat and are likely to practice more to improve their skills. For the future, Burghout hopes to include a microphone too. This will help with tactics for offence and defense strategies during other types of sports lessons, she says.

“I didn’t think I would ever be able to use cartoons to learn in school. Studying is not boring anymore, I love the cartoons – they are fun. Because I am an EAL student, having pictures along with words helps me learn vocabulary and understand. I feel like I am part of the class now.” Lucy Liu, MYP student



Who would have thought that the traditional whiteboard could transform teaching? But after a teacher used them in a new way in his classroom, it revolutionized his 20-year teaching career. DP students at UWCSEA east campus, Singapore, are working on the 360˚ whiteboards during their mathematics lessons, enhancing their collaboration and problem-solving skills. Students work at the boards, answering questions individually or working in pairs or groups. Sometimes they move around a series of activities that have been set up around the classroom – which is ideal for revision – and comment on and correct other students’ work. Students can take pictures of their work and continue their learning outside the classroom. “It’s had an amazing transformation on the students,” says IB Mathematics and TOK teacher Paul La Rondie. “They’re not doing anything particularly different from what they did sitting at their desks, but they are far more engaged. They’re allowed to talk to their classmates and we’re finding that the collaboration that goes on between them is far greater.” Students love that they can share different ways of solving a problem instantly with each other. They’re encouraged to do a ‘gallery walk’ around the classroom, which helps them spot better solutions to something, which they can use next time. “The ability to rub out encourages experimentation and a willingness to get things wrong,” adds La Rondie. “It’s amazing for brainstorming and sharing ideas in my TOK lessons, too.” Other departments now want to follow suit: “The languages department has been keen to use the whiteboards – they can all see the advantages.”

IBWorld 29

How the DP arrived in the US A series of unlikely events led to the launch of the IB Diploma Programme in US public high schools. Pioneer and former Principal Mel Serisky looks back


he year 1978 is remembered for many reasons: film lovers flocked to watch Grease premier in cinemas, The Jacksons released ‘Blame It On The Boogie’, and in Queens, New York, Francis Lewis High School became the first public high school to graduate IB Diploma Programme (DP) students. Today, there are 1,623 IB programmes offered in US public schools. And this is partly thanks to Mel Serisky, former Principal of Francis Lewis High School in New York. In 1975, he set out to find a programme that would challenge his students academically.

Chance meeting Serisky attended an education conference and came across a brochure entitled The Time Has Come, which was about the DP. “I read it and was very impressed with the programme it described,” he says. “It stated that the DP was being implemented at The United Nations International School (UNIS) in New York

Mel Serisky was the first public school Principal to take on the DP

30 IBWorld March 2016

City, which was a private school not far away.” The DP was in its infancy, but Serisky was willing to take a leap of faith. Without hesitation, he visited UNIS that very day to find out more. By coincidence, Alec Peterson – the first IB Director General – was also there. They spoke about the DP and Peterson promised to send Serisky detailed information and an application form when he returned to Switzerland. Peterson had to leave right away to catch his

programme. He was impressed and was able to secure the funds from his budget.” Parents of selected students were overjoyed and eager to have their children participate in the programme, recalls Serisky. “The students loved it – they were challenged, and had the best teachers and peers.” As all IB World Schools know, the authorization process is rigorous and demanding. But Serisky didn’t employ

“The teachers happily agreed to additional training and the time needed to learn the programme… The students loved it – they were challenged, and had the best teachers and peers.” plane. But keen to continue the conversation, Serisky drove him to the airport. The flight was delayed for 24 hours so Serisky offered Peterson a bed for the night in Long Island, which he accepted. That night, Serisky learned more about the programme and, the following day, he took Peterson back to the airport.

Retraining staff Serisky immediately wrote a letter to Peterson to apply for the programme. “I didn’t ask my secretary to type it because if I were turned down I did not want anyone to know, ” he says. However, Francis Lewis High School was accepted. Next, Serisky had to secure funding for the school. “I met with the Superintendent for the New York City School System to explain the

new teachers. Instead he provided additional training. “I knew the strengths of my current staff members,” he says. “I held a meeting with my department chairmen, explained the DP and asked them to select their best teachers. The teachers happily accepted the invitation and agreed to additional training and the time needed to learn and absorb the programme.”

Inspiring change Francis Lewis started a domino effect in the US and later around the world. “When I implemented the DP, dozens of Principals from US public schools visited me to learn more about the programme,” says Serisky. It was a fantastic opportunity. He was invited to sit on the IB North America Board of Directors and travelled the world, speaking to international audiences about the IB. Serisky’s leap of faith proved vital to the spread of the programme in the US and is a source of great pride: “I feel very satisfied and proud of my innovation,” he says. As the IB leads up to its 50th Anniversary in 2018, we are looking back on the early days of the International Baccalaureate. If you have a story to share, please email editor@ibo.org


Izquierda: peri贸dicos locales y escolares destacan el 茅xito de la primera implantaci贸n del Programa del Diploma del IB en el Francis Lewis High School. Arriba: carta de Mel Serisky (fotograf铆a).

IBWorld 31

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Mathematics with everything Teaching mathematics through inquiry enhances essential skills. But how can you ensure a transdisciplinary approach?

Illustration Tim Biddle


struggled the first time I taught ‘telling the time’ to my year 1 class. Students showed very little interest and enthusiasm for memorizing the positions of the hands on the clock and the corresponding time. They didn’t have a deeper understanding of what a minute or an hour was, or how a clock is structured. This seemed counterproductive to inquiry-based learning. I was determined to teach time differently in my second year, and came up with the idea of teaching all mathematics through inquiry. Whenever possible, I integrate mathematics into inquiries to ensure a transdisciplinary exploration of concepts and central ideas. Although there are some inquiries where few genuine mathematical connections can be made, the concept of time links to many more things than we realize. The central idea for this unit was that a clock is a universal measurement tool that structures and organizes our daily life. We looked at the history of sundials and how they work. We created our own dials and students placed them around the school. We spent a day checking them at different times and discussed why some locations seemed to work better than others. Students were amazed to see how the dials functioned and continued to check them at break times. We explored the concept of time through stories, art projects and various physical education activities. Students were divided into teams of hours and minutes, and would move around a large clock drawn in chalk on the playground. They also examined how sand-timers work, and independently discussed how the size of the sand and structure of the timer affects how it works. Students were exposed to manipulatives, and used online games and handwritten tasks to develop their problem-solving skills.

“Before dismantling the clocks, students drew a diagram predicting what was inside. One student illustrated a little man, who knows when to move the hands by counting” We also looked at the related concepts of dates, and different time-keeping systems and measurements. During the exploration, one student asked if they could take the clock apart to “see what’s inside and find out how it works”. But before dismantling the clocks, students were asked to draw a diagram predicting what the inside would look like. One drew a little man, and when I asked: “How does the man know when to move the hands?,” she said: “He counts.” This was an insightful and creative mathematical formative assessment, inspired by student engagement and inquiry. Students were able to apply their knowledge of the components of a clock, and the relation between hours and minutes, and show their understanding through

imagination and ingenuity. When we looked at the gears inside the clock and how they moved, we began considering more scientific questions, such as how gears make things work and how they are used in other inventions. All students completed year 1 being able to tell time to at least a five-minute interval. They demonstrated their interest by using appropriate language to describe time, and many parents reported that their children became more aware of, and interested in, how their days are structured. In future, I would like to work with the music teacher to consider how timing affects music and rhythm. By Jillian Young, PYP Teacher, International School of London, UK

IBWorld 33

communıty Bachillerato 5 de Mayo, where a student project is helping young people continue in education; (right) the students who started the project

Bachillerato 5 de Mayo, Cuautlancingo, Mexico

Saved from the streets Out-of-school teenagers have been given a second chance at education, thanks to an ambitious CAS project by IB Diploma Programme students


n parts of Mexico, encouraging young people to remain in full-time education can be a challenge. For some, finances are a problem, and others may get caught up in gang culture. But IB Diploma Programme (DP) students from IB World School Bachillerato 5 de Mayo in Puebla, Mexico, have created a successful Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project that aims to tackle the problem. Now, four previously out-ofschool teenagers are studying at the school. The Aguanta No Te Vayas (ANTV) project, which translates as Hang in There, Do Not Go, is part of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, which US President Barak Obama launched in 2011 to increase international study in Latin America and the Caribbean. Bachillerato students worked with more than 70 out-of-school teenagers with the help of 12 volunteers and the Jóvenes en Acción (Youth in action) programme – which gives high-school students from 34 IBWorld March 2016

Mexico the opportunity to spend one month in the US to build essential skills. “The three students had to work hard to gain entry into Bachillerato,” says CAS Coordinator Claudia Gracida Olvera. “They had to attain a 9.0 grade point average and take mathematics, Spanish and English tests, as well as Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla tests. This represents an extraordinary achievement.” Teenagers were guided towards building their own meaningful learning and cognitive

Students work on a banner as part of their school’s ANTV project

Romero. “I haven’t been as responsible until now, and I have more discipline.” To avoid leaving education again, the teenagers wrote themselves letters of commitment to stay in school. They also reflected on their actions and the consequences of a lack of education.

“They had to work hard to gain entry into Bachillerato. Students had to attain a 9.0 grade point average and take tests. This is an extraordinary achievement” goals. They were able to understand and identify their individual strengths, and how they can use them to help others, in a lesson called ‘self knowledge’. “This school has changed my life and my character,” says DP student Keren Cocom

Bachillerato 5 de Mayo now houses an ‘education club’, encouraging teenagers to drop in for further lessons in selfknowledge. The ANTV team hope to continue their work, giving better options to the teenagers of Cuautlancingo.

Sekolah Victory Plus (SVP), Indonesia

IB students tackle the floods in Tblisi

European School, Tbilisi, Georgia

Graduates bravely step up

Real meaning of World Teachers’ Day School shares the benefits of inquirybased learning with local teachers

With approximately 55 million students and only 3 million teachers, Indonesia’s schools are desperately understaffed. Many teachers are underpaid, underqualified and The flood killed 21 people. Several are undertrained, working in schools that “Does this count as a CAS activity?” still missing, thought to be dead, and struggle to provide electricity. students at European School, in Tbilisi, dozens were left homeless. Tbilisi Zoo Inspired by UNESCO’s World Teachers’ Georgia, were often heard asking when was also destroyed and loose tigers were Day (October 5th), IB teachers, starting a new project. But when floods reportedly found roaming the streets. coordinators and workshop leaders at IB destroyed the capital in June 2015, after Vincent Evanno, Head of IB World School, Sekolah Victory Plus (SVP), their final exams, the entire class worked programmes, is proud of his graduates. Indonesia, are sharing their knowledge and tirelessly to help repair the community “The experience quickly transformed them providing free teacher training workshops without a second thought about how it into real global citizens rather than mere to local educators. might benefit their studies. academic graduates,” he says. “They were “We looked at the origin of World Trying to coordinate all the volunteers there from the very beginning, working Teachers’ Day and found that it came from was chaotic at first. But the 20 graduates seven- to eight-hour days for over a week.” UNESCO wanting to improve the skills of demonstrated their organizational skills Other students, teachers and local teachers in developing countries as and worked without immediate supervision administrators also helped collect and part of a Millennium Development Goal,” to help rebuild the community. They also distribute donated hygiene products. says Head of School Liam Hammer. distributed food, medicine and personal Funds raised helped purchase new desks “We thought it should be bigger than just hygiene items to affected residents. for the School of Tomorrow in Tbilisi, thanking advantaged teachers. It should DP graduate Omar Vardzelashvili which was severely damaged. be about reaching out into the community says: “Some students were not Georgian Anna Tavadze, DP graduate, adds: and helping teachers who are working in origin, but they worked side by side “We hadn’t experienced anything this throughout Indonesia on low salaries with in the streets of Tbilisi without any destructive before. The flood gave us the little training.” thought of how this would help them motivation to effectively work together for Teachers from the surrounding area gain a university recommendation from the good of our country.” attend SVP for half a day, once per term, their coordinator.” and learn about inquiry-based teaching and learning, International School of Tanganyika, Tanzania differentiation and assessments. They leave with practical strategies that they can implement straightaway. but Inaara is continuing the especially at university,” says From cooking quiches in Lunch and refreshments are classes with grade 11 student Inaara. “It’s important to be cups to baking cookies in also provided. Saiba Nanji. “I’ve developed my able to make nutritious meals microwaves, two keen DP “We want to improve leadership skills and that are inexpensive, fast and chefs from the International the quality of teaching in all confidence,” says Inaara. easy to prepare.” School of Tanganyika (IST), local schools,” says Hammer. “I hope Saiba will continue Students learned how Tanzania, held weekly cookery “Our IB workshop leaders are the activities after I leave.” classes to help their classmates to create a variety of dishes, living the IB Learner Profile prepare for life beyond school. including pancakes, scrambled and assisting to spread the eggs, trifle, hummus and Grade 12 students Inaara benefits of an IB education Cooking classes at IST Thawer and Natasha Grimard’s macaroni cheese. to more people.” The project had its Cooking for College CAS project Over 40 teachers attended teaches easy-to-cook, low cost challenges. IST lacks cookery the first event in December facilities, so students fried recipes that can be prepared 2015, and SVP will provide on Bunsen burners and cooked within limited dormitory ongoing support if needed. in borrowed microwaves. kitchen facilities. “We are principled and Their survey found that only “It’s been an accurate mock-up leading by actions. Community of a dorm kitchen,” says CAS one in seven grade 10 to 12 service isn’t just for students,” coordinator Rebecca Gillman. students could cook. adds Hammer. “We must give Natasha has now left IST, “Cooking is a crucial skill, back too and reflect what we ask of our students.”

After a devastating flood hit their town last year, DP students in Georgia now understand the true meaning of community service and action

Anyone for quiche in a cup?

IBWorld 35

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past & present IB alumni and students share what they have been up to in and out of the classroom



IB graduate Monique Dorsainvil is now in public service at the White House

Students around the world have been working on some exciting projects

Monique Dorsainvil didn’t have a job, a home, or even know anyone when she moved to Washington D.C. Six years later, she is walking the West Wing. Starting as an intern in Michelle Obama’s office, Dorsainvil went on to join the Office of Public Engagement, where she focused on the Council on Women IB alumna and Girls, and outreach, which promotes Monique equality for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. was the ability to take a deep look at the She is now the Deputy Chief of Staff for intersections of race, class, gender and the Office of Public Engagement and the sexuality and examine how they affect Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. large-scale systems in society,” she says. “I’m most inspired by our ability to Attending a bilingual school taught ensure access and create opportunities Dorsainvil how to navigate complex for people,” she says. issues while taking into account multiple Dorsainvil had her first taste of politics points of view, and this is what she liked at UWC-USA, in New Mexico, US, most about the DP. “I enjoyed the where she completed the IB Diploma international curriculum and diverse Programme (DP). “The DP helped viewpoints presented across subject lay the foundation for how I think matter,” she explains. about politics, identity, intersectionality “The DP helped me develop strong and service. My belief in community critical thinking skills and subsequently mobilization and an individual’s generate my own creative ability to enact change transformed,” she says. “The DP helped solutions. Theory of (TOK) “While at UWC, lay the foundation Knowledge and Creativity, Activity, Service I had roommates for how I think (CAS) helped me foster a from Burkina Faso, West Africa, and about politics” connection between classroom learning and my community.” The Netherlands. I learned about life and political systems Memorable moments alongside students and faculty from every The White House can be an exciting corner of the world.” place. “Working behind the scenes on historical milestones like the launch Powerful role models All her life, Dorsainvil has been surrounded of the President’s My Brother’s Keeper by strong, fearless women who have broken initiative and the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington has been especially through glass ceilings to contribute to significant to me,” says Dorsainvil. America’s progress. As well as Michelle But there’s lots left to achieve. Obama, she admires her boss Valerie Dorsainvil wants to continue working Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President. towards social equality over the next “Like so many leaders today, she 10 years: “Serving this President has recognizes the strides that have been made taught me that it is far more important while also acknowledging the collective work there is to do ahead,” says Dorsainvil. to focus on the impact you hope to make, rather than what job you want to obtain,” At Emory University, in Atlanta, she says. “In 10 years, I will be continuing Georgia, US, Dorsainvil was encouraged the legacy that this administration is soon to chase opportunities, connect with faculty, and immerse herself in the greater to leave behind.” Atlanta community. This led her to pursue a degree in Women’s, Gender, and Join Monique and fellow alumni in the IB alumni Sexuality Studies and Global Health: network. Visit blogs.ibo.org/alumni to learn “What attracted me to these disciplines more about this growing community. 38 IBWorld March 2016

PYP students at BCIS, Beijing, China The BIG math project Using various mathematics skills, students created a life-sized model of NBA star Yao Ming.

PYP class, Campus International School, Cleveland, US Measurement practice Students estimated then measured various things in the classroom, including their friends! DP class at La Côte International School Aubonne, Switzerland FM radio desgn Sketching, researching and making prototypes during design and technology workshops.

DP project at Colegio La Paz de Chiapas, Mexico 21 ways to fulfill your life of flavour Students won a scientific contest for their project, which stimulates the motor development of those with Down’s Syndrome.

DP Environmental Systems and Societies class at International Academy, Michigan, US UN Summit Meetings To learn about different cultures, students become representatives of a UN country during class. For a chance to be featured in this page, tell us about your fun or cool class projects. Please email your submissions to editor@ibo.org


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