IB (International Baccalaueate) regional conference

The International Baccalaueate’s (IB) regional conference was held this year in Rome from Wednesday 15/10 to Sunday 19/10.

Eight of us from the International School of Helsingborg attended the conference with 1300 other school heads, principals and coordinators from Africa, Europe and the Middle East (IBAEM). The title of the conference was ‘Ways of Knowing’ and consisted of a pre-conference day on the Thursday when one could choose an area of focus (mine was inclusive education) to increase ones understanding and work on collaboratively as teams of educators. The other three days consisted of workshops covering many different areas in Primary and Secondary education. Throughout the three days there were also plenary sessions which are essentially lectures run by educators knowledgeable in particular fields. Below is a summary of some of my high points during the IB regional conference.

Teaching and Learning

2-dimensional teaching is essentially a focus on information and skills. However a concept-driven curriculum goes beyond that as one needs to apply and transfer that knowledge by using it in a different way which leads to problem-solving and critical judgement. One does that by exploring the concept and as we all know concepts are timeless, abstract, universal and transferable such as conflict, patterns, etc. However as true understanding comes from knowledge we need the knowledge to build understanding. If we haven’t enough knowledge then the understanding is shallow.

To assess one then develops a rubric that measures the depth of understanding:

IB

Trigger words in great classrooms: Inspire, enliven, envision, inform, transform, predict, dream, take us places, surprise, mystify, provides dilemmas, ideas, examples, hope

Inclusive Education: Inclusion increases access and engagement in learning as it identifies and removes barriers. But how can a school work to become even more inclusive? That is done through working together (collaboration), support, mutual respect and problem solving. In that way ones school becomes a dynamic learning community which responds positively to each student’s particular needs.

Words of wisdom from varying workshops

Collaborative culture has the greatest impact on teaching and learning;

To implement something new one needs to name it, model it in practice and monitor it;

If you want to change the group, use the group to change the group;

Think of the teacher as an ‘activator’ rather than a ‘facilitator’;

Learning is a partnership between and among teachers, students and parents;

/ Roseanne McCormack, International School of Helsingborg