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IB Blog Series: Key Skills Taught in the International Baccalaureate

Welcome to the fourth update of our IB Blog Series! In this month's blog post, we share key essential skills taught at different stages of the IB Programme and how they complement each other to form a holistic learning experience for our students.

The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP):  Action to Promote Thoughtfulness & Responsibility

What is action?

Action is one of the Essential Elements of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). Action promotes a connection to learning where students can see how their knowledge, skills and progress come together to make a real and tangible difference.

Why take action?

The IB PYP is concerned with students being thoughtful and responsible so they can demonstrate meaningful action that will make an impact. This impact should give a sense of purpose to learning and allow student voices to be heard. Action does not need to be earth-shattering to be empowering for students. In fact, the impact of action begins with how students feel about themselves, then how that action impacts others in the immediate community, wider community, or even globally. Regardless of the extent of the ripple effect of action, taking action becomes empowering for students.

How Can Students Take Action?

We encourage students to take action by giving them the knowledge of what action looks like. We help them identify appropriate action by focusing on:

  • Personal Action – What can I do for myself to make a change that will benefit me? This is often linked with goal setting.
  • Action for Others – What can I do for others (including the local community, wider community, or global community)? This is often connected with guided or student-led inquiry.

The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP): Challenging Students to be Effective Learners

The PYP is designed to provoke and support student-led action, which allows for a smooth transition into the Middle Years Programme (MYP) at M’KIS. MYP students connect their learning with their life and the world through global contexts, which can be real world problems, events and circumstances. Having the foundation to apply action from the PYP sets students up for success in MYP.  The MYP challenges students to be effective learners by focusing on the following skills. 

Research Skills — Within the scope of research skills, students will show understanding in:

  • Information Literacy, where they will find, interpret, judge and create information
  • Media Literacy, where they will interact with media to use and create ideas and information
Social Skills — In order to show that students are able to apply social skills, they will be able to:
  • Collaborate with others in academic and personal settings
  • Have the ability to lead groups and understand how to get the best out of themselves and others
Thinking Skills —To be able to say that a students is a good thinker, they will need to:
  • Critically think in order to analyze and evaluate ideas and issues leading to solving problems
  • Think creatively and generate new ideas and perspectives that can be applied to the world around them
  • Transfer knowledge and skills into new, exciting and often challenging contexts
Communication Skills —To ensure that students are effective communicators, they will show that they understand:
  • The exchanging of thoughts, message and information effectively through interaction
  • How to read, write and use languages to communicate effectively and efficiently
Self-Management Skills — In order for students to succeed at school, they must learn how to:
  • Apply affective skills and manage their own state of mind, concentrate and focus on necessary tasks
  • Problem solve and learn from their mistakes
  • Organize themselves and manage tasks and their own time effectively
  • Reflect on their processes to ensure that they are considerate of their needs and responsibilities and the needs and responsibilities of others

To IBDP or not to IBDP? IB is the Answer.

At M’KIS, a Continuum IB World School, our students have the chance to experience the IB before they reach the Diploma Programme (DP) years. In the second semester of Grade 10, students will need to start considering what their last two high school years will look like. At M’KIS, they have 3 alternatives:

  • Full IB Diploma
  • A mix of regular courses and some IB subjects
  • Regular high school courses
Students choosing to do the full IBDP, after successfully meeting all the diploma requirements, will graduate with two diplomas. Some students will graduate with a High School diploma plus IB certificates for the subjects they choose to sit exams for, while others will receive only the High School diploma.

What is the difference between receiving the IB diploma versus an IB certificate?

Students that choose to complete the full diploma will have to take three higher level (HL) and three standard level (SL) courses and exams. They will also need to complete the three core components: Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS). Finally, they will need to score more than 24 points out of a maximum of 45, while making sure they get more than 12 points in their higher level subjects, and no less than 9 in their standard level subjects.

Pursuing the full IB diploma requires excellent self-management skills, as students must be able to juggle the academic load with the additional components of the programme. In the last 4 years, on average, 99% of the M'KIS cohort took between 1 to 6 IB subjects, and 69% of the cohort opted for the full diploma. Depending on the university they apply to, some of the students taking just courses have the chance to get a certificate that will allow them to get college credit for the course. 

During their high school years, student’s at M’KIS will be able to experience the IB either by joining the full diploma program or picking from a variety of IB subjects. What is most important is to find a path that will allow each student to shine and grow as a learner.

Thank you for taking the time to read our latest IB update! If you found this article an interesting read, share it with your friends. We look forward to sharing more developments with you in our next blog!

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