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:
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:
Social Skills — In order to show that students are able to apply social skills, they will be able to:
Thinking Skills —To be able to say that a students is a good thinker, they will need to:
Communication Skills —To ensure that students are effective communicators, they will show that they understand:
Self-Management Skills — In order for students to succeed at school, they must learn how to:
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:
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!
The learner profiles help M’KIS to create a caring and collaborative learning experience for our students in the elementary school.
During each Unit of Inquiry teachers decide which learner profile fits best with their lessons. Lessons are then planned to incorporate activities which promote specific learning profiles to make learning active, enjoyable and meaningful.
Learner Profile Attributes are important because our PYP students get the opportunity to be:
Making good decisions, being thoughtful and learning from mistakes.
Asking good questions, knowing how to research and find the right answers to challenges.
Exploring the unknown and acquiring new understandings.
Understanding personal culture and the beliefs and cultures of others. Searching for a wide range of points of view.
Showing empathy, compassion and respect to others. Having a personal commitment to making a positive contribution to the world.
Acting with integrity and being honest. Taking responsibility for actions and being fair and just.
Applying forethought and acting with courage when faced with uncertainty and unfamiliar situations. Being brave and articulate when defending beliefs.
Being creative and confident when expressing ideas. Feeling comfortable with working collaboratively.
Understanding the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional well being.
Supporting personal development with considered thought about experiences.
So What’s with all the Concepts?
Creativity and insight almost always involve an experience of acute pattern recognition: the eureka moment in which we perceive the interconnection between disparate concepts or ideas to reveal something new.
So how do we get our students to perceive and recognize patterns across all of the many subject areas that they are studying? How can we unite content that is at the heart of learning with broader ideas that allow our students to appreciate and reveal something new?
The answer lies in conceptual relationships; the driving force behind the units and study within the framework of the MYP.
Whether a student is looking at angle relationships in the mathematics classroom, the main factors that were catalysts of the first world war, or the importance of teamwork in P.E class, it is of great importance that we do not isolate these learning points from the concepts that link them. What is considered a standard component of education in different subject areas can reveal something new when we regard them linked by an over-arching idea. How does one angle communicate with another? Was a lack of communication between countries a catalyst of the war? Can we work in a team without communication? All of sudden we can see that with a clear understanding of the effect and application of ‘the concept of communication’ we can build bridges within the curriculum as well as within the learning of our students.
The MYP fosters this approach from the early stages of teachers developing unit plans all the way to the assessments that the students complete at the end of the units.
Every unit currently being taught at M’KIS in the MYP is driven by its own unique and individual statement of inquiry. This is a statement that is inclusive of 2 or 3 chosen concepts that are able to be explored directly through the content of the subject area. The statements are designed to be applicable across the curriculum, and oftentimes the chosen concepts are shared by the different subject areas.
A good example of this is from our grade 9 Science class looking at ‘Motion and Waves’.
‘Movement enables living creatures to change their surroundings’
Schmidt and McElvenny
When thinking about this statement in terms of science it is very clear to see the links to the subject area. The statement becomes interconnected when we think about its relevance towards other areas across the curriculum.
This statement could be true when thinking about migration in social studies; literal movement and technique in P.E or dance; or even the plight, and development of a character in language and literature. By creating transferable conceptual statements of inquiry we allow our students to recognize patterns throughout their education which leads to a deeper understanding of specific subject content and ways to apply their conceptual knowledge in the real world.
The goal to educate our students in their chosen subjects remains at the forefront of what we offer here at M’KIS but as we move deeper within the MYP framework the expectations on students to apply their conceptual understanding will grow. As we endeavor to help our students become intellectual, kind and outgoing we will also strive to prepare them for the challenges of the real world by helping them to unlock the ability to apply their skills in new and insightful ways.
Theory of Knowledge, CAS, and the Extended Essay are three required components of the IB Diploma Programme. The DP core aims to broaden students’ educational experience and challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills. The DP core is also what marks the difference between our IB Diploma candidates and our certificate candidates, only full Diploma candidates are required to complete the Core.
November happens to be a special month for one of these components, the Extended Essay. During this month, our Seniors are finalizing their work at the same time our Juniors delve into understanding the expectations and steps of this process to start their self-directed research.
Prior to COVID, we would showcase our students' works by having them share the topics they had researched and written about with our school community. We are hoping to be able to do that this year once we return from the winter break.
The Extended Essays for our 2022 cohort have been done in the following subjects:
Biology, Business Management, Economics, English, Film, Geography, Information Technology in a Global Society, Psychology, and Visual Arts. We are looking forward to the final submissions and to have the chance to later celebrate this important accomplishment with our school community.
Embracing a New Model of Teacher-Led Professional Development
For educators, lifelong learning and development are key to growth and to improving their craft. Just as students must continually strive to learn, grow, and practice new skills, so must teachers.
With the pandemic still affecting travel, in-person gatherings, and training opportunities, teachers across the world have had to get creative with how they approach their own learning and development. In answer to this dilemma, the M’KIS Professional Development (PD) Working Group was born.
Recognizing the incredible wealth of expertise that already exists at our school, the PD Working Group has risen to the challenge in order to provide their colleagues with meaningful opportunities to learn from one another. Made up of 12 faculty members, the group’s main aim is to build on the teaching expertise within our school and to encourage collaboration to strengthen the M’KIS teaching community. The group has prioritized a democratic approach to professional development, soliciting feedback from staff about what opportunities they are most interested in, and matching these needs with the skills of our M’KIS workshop providers.
Over the course of the last several months, the PD Working Group has discussed teacher needs, the benefits of staff-led training, and how to support continued education among faculty and staff.
Before the summer break, the PD Working Group conducted a survey and found that overwhelmingly, staff wanted more training in technology and digital tools. The group agreed that exposing staff to the wealth of Google Suite tools would be an ideal place to start.
When teachers arrived back for the start of the school year in August, the first task was to outline the skills staff were most interested in developing, and finding the right teachers to step in as trainers to provide the workshops. Based on staff feedback, the PD Working Group decided to offer the training school-wide to those interested, including teaching staff, administrative support staff, and as well as ELementary School classroom support staff. All in all, it would mean providing professional development to approximately 100 staff members at M’KIS, which is no easy feat.
Despite a busy season of preparing to welcome students back and the challenges of starting another year of school online, many teachers expressed a willingness to host workshops and take a more active role in providing training to their colleagues. Given how busy the M’KIS staff were at this time, the desire of faculty to work with and upskill their colleagues was positive and inspiring. What was even more promising was that both veteran and new staff were eager to contribute, as well as staff from across both the Elementary and Middle and High School.
The only thing left to do was to match the skills that teachers wanted to develop with what the workshop offerings. With 10 workshop hosts, the challenge was then to get 100 staff members into the right workshops. To foster a truly democratic approach, participants were polled again to gauge their interest in the various training options. Staff were excited to provide their feedback and became even more engaged in the process as the plan for a teacher-led process took shape.
With the first professional development workshops now behind them, many staff members have commented on just how helpful the trainings were. Using their new skills, many have been able to make immediate changes to their teaching practice. Most importantly, the positive energy created from attending this kind of teacher-driven professional development is a boon to our staff and learning community.
Teacher-led professional development promotes teamwork and collaboration, builds trust among colleagues, and strengthens teacher leadership and empowerment. As continuous learning occurs, teachers become more confident in their skills and more reflective in their teaching practice, all of which directly contributes to student learning and well-being.
As the M’KIS Professional Development Working Group looks to the future and developing additional workshops for their colleagues, we are excited to see how this initiative continues to support teacher growth and contributes to a spirit of whole-school development.
Thank you to Nick Cross, Chair of the M’KIS Professional Development Working Group, for contributing to this blog.
M'KIS News: Meet Our New Head of Admissions
We're excited to officially introduce Carol Fitzgerald, our new Head of Admissions, to our M'KIS community! Read on to hear about the vast experience she brings to the role, and to learn more about how our Admissions Team supports families during their international school search.
Tell us a bit more about your background and how your experience will shape your role as Head of Admissions.
I have been an educator for more than 20 years now and am passionately devoted to supporting students and families in every way I can. I joined M’KIS in 2013 and have loved my time here.
During my decades-long career in education, I have built a wealth of experience in the classroom and beyond and have served in several leadership roles. I also hold a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. My expertise is in meeting the educational needs of diverse students, a skill which I think is vital to supporting our families during the admissions process.
During my time working in special education, gifted and talented education, English as an Additional Language instruction, and as a certified Reading Specialist, I’ve learned that nothing is more important than providing students with a personalized educational experience in a nurturing environment. This is our driving philosophy at M’KIS, and something that we take special pride in. As an educator, I have worked with every kind of family to ensure their child is supported to reach their full potential — academically, socially, and emotionally — and I look forward to continuing that work as Head of Admissions.
What factors should families consider when they are searching for and deciding on an international school for their child?
Moving your family to another country is an exciting adventure, but it also comes with challenges. One of those challenges is finding an international school that’s the best fit for your child.
Parents naturally want the best standard of education possible. This means finding an educational environment where your child is supported academically, emotionally, and socially. In addition, convenience, safety, and proximity to your new home is another important consideration for many families, as is the culture of the school.
M'KIS offers families a rigorous International Baccalaureate education in the heart of a thriving and safe expat neighborhood. The Mont’Kiara neighborhood has all the amenities a family needs, including the option to walk to school and live close to friends and other international families.
Before and after school, as well as on the weekends, M'KIS is a hub of family-centered activities including sports, clubs, social events and volunteer opportunities, and community events. With 50+ different nationalities represented among our families, M’KIS is also a truly diverse, internationally-minded school. Students and families feel at home here, no matter where they come from.
Although we are brought together by academics, we are held together by school values that support the well-being of all members of the M’KIS community. This focus on a world-class education, paired with the strength of our school community, is what sets M’KIS apart.
What are some important things prospective families should know about the M’KIS Admissions process?
I want prospective families to know that, despite the challenges of Covid-19, our Admissions Team continues to offer all prospective families a personalized admissions process, from initial inquiry to enrollment and beyond. Our focus is meeting the needs of each child and each family that comes through our doors.
We do this by offering tailored virtual tours, a streamlined testing and orientation process, and flexibility to accommodate the needs of families both here in Malaysia and all over the world. More than anything, we want families to know that in the midst of the ongoing challenges posed by this pandemic, M’KIS is ready to provide the stability, consistency, and reassurance children and families need as they make this important transition.
What are some of the things you’re most excited about and looking forward to as you step into this new role?
This role offers a wonderful opportunity to showcase the excellence of our educational program, as well as connect families to a well-established, supportive school community.
As the proud parent of two recent graduates of M’KIS, I have seen first-hand the many aspects of M’KIS that are unique, and I look forward to sharing these strengths with prospective families.
I am thrilled to bring my deep appreciation and understanding of the M’KIS community to our admissions efforts at M’KIS as we support families through the admissions process.
IB Blog Series: Providing Students with Authentic Learning Experiences
Welcome to our second update in the IB Blog Series! This month's blog focuses on how the components of each IB Programme, from the PYP, to the MYP and DP, provide students with authentic, rich learning experiences that broaden their real-world understanding and abilities.
The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) Transdisciplinary Themes
The Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a transdisciplinary curriculum framework that offers authentic learning experiences. In practice, this means that the PYP encourages students to learn to appreciate knowledge, conceptual understandings, skills, and personal attributes as a connected whole.
Schools do this by collaboratively developing a Programme of Inquiry that reflects the unique aspects of that school’s community. At M’KIS, our Programme of Inquiry is organized and framed by six transdisciplinary themes:
These transdisciplinary themes together provide children with authentic learning experiences that are not confined to the boundaries of traditional subjects. Although subjects play an important role in learning, PYP learners explore real-world problems by going beyond these boundaries. Students have opportunities to reflect on the significance of their learning to take meaningful action in their community and the wider world.
The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) Learner Profile Attributes
The Middle Years Programme (MYP) not only offers a rigorous and conceptually-driven curriculum designed to prepare students for the challenges of the Diploma Programme; it is also driven by 10 learner attributes that ensure students have the characteristics they need to succeed.
Each unit of study across all subject areas has a specific attribute that is focused on ensuring students see both academic and personal growth. These attributes are also prioritized in more detail throughout our advisory program, which all of our Middle and High School students participate in.
Learner Profile Attributes are important, because we want our students to be able to say:
The Importance of the IB Diploma Programme Core
All of our Grade 11 students get the chance to experience the IB by taking IB subjects or by opting to be Diploma Programme candidates. So what is the difference?
If a student decides to take IB subjects, they can be IB certificate candidates and earn a certificate at the end of the 2 years to show universities they have taken academically rigorous and demanding courses. Many universities will provide credit for this, which is something worth consulting with each school’s Admissions Office about.
If a student decides to take the full Diploma Programme, they not only will need to register in 6 IB subjects, but also complete a series of Core Requirements. This is the main difference between the Diploma Programme and other high school academic programs.
The three mandatory Core Components of the Diploma Programme are:
What about CAS?
Students get to pick what meaningful experiences to join considering these 3 strands, so each CAS program is individual and should meet the student's needs. We start the year by doing a personal profile inventory to discover each student's skills, talents, and interests to help us guide their experiences selections and ensure the time invested is worthwhile for their personal growth.
CAS should be looked at as an outlet, a time for students to invest in themselves and experience a new kind of growth. Under the current circumstances, which are always shifting due to the pandemic, selecting appropriate and safe experiences is challenging yet extremely rewarding. For example, since there are no sports seasons at the moment, which is how the majority of students chose to meet the Activity strand of the component, students must now find more unique ways of keeping physically active. Following home workouts, doing yoga, or going on walks/runs/hikes are all meaningful activities that meet the needs of being active.
Together, the elements of the DP Core are an incredibly valuable part of the IB experience for students as they mature through high school and prepare for the rigors of a university education and beyond.
We look forward to sharing more developments with you in our next IB blog!
Introducing the International Baccalaureate (IB): A Future-Focused Educational Framework
Welcome to our new M’KIS International Baccalaureate Blog (IB) Series! Starting this month, our M’KIS IB Coordinators and Faculty will be providing engaging updates about the IB Primary Years Programme, the Middle Years Programme, and the Diploma Programme at M’KIS as a window into our students' IB classroom experience. From program updates to exploring the unique strengths of this challenging framework, we look forward to sharing the latest IB developments with our community.
For our inaugural blog, we invite our readers to learn what makes this rigorous, globally-recognized curriculum so valuable for today’s students. Read on below!
The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP): Nurturing Curiosity via Inquiry-Based Learning
The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is a student-centered curriculum framework of education for children aged 3-12. Through an inquiry-based approach, it nurtures and develops young students as caring, active participants in a lifelong journey of learning. M'KIS was officially authorized to deliver the PYP in 2019.
The PYP framework is based on 5 essential elements: Knowledge, Key Concepts, Skills, Attitudes, and Action. In addition, the PYP is underpinned by 10 Learner Profile attributes that describe what we want our children to be: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-Minded, Caring, Risk-Takers, Balanced, and Reflective.
As educators respond to the challenges and opportunities facing young learners, the PYP has evolved to provide a future-focused approach to education. The PYP curriculum framework begins with the premise that students are agents of their own learning and partners in the learning process. It prioritizes people and their relationships to build a strong learning community driven by children's natural curiosity.
PYP students use their initiative to take responsibility and ownership of their education. By learning through inquiry and reflecting on their own schooling, PYP students develop knowledge, conceptual understanding, skills and the attributes of the IB Learner Profile to make a difference in their own lives, their communities, and beyond.
The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP): Encouraging Growth and Independence
This will be the third year of the Middle Years Programme (MYP) at M’KIS after officially being authorized as an MYP school in 2020.
The IB MYP is an educational framework that encourages students aged 11 to 16 to make practical connections between their studies and the real world. At a time when students are establishing their identity, building self-esteem, and developing important learning habits, the MYP is uniquely designed to offer a well-rounded education and help students achieve success in school and beyond.
As we revise and improve our Middle Years Programme to meet the evolving needs of our student population, we are implementing valuable teaching and learning opportunities that ensure a breadth and depth of understanding across multiple subject areas.
Despite the continued challenges of virtual learning, our MYP students are engaging with big ideas, taking an active role in their education, and developing learning skills that they can rely on as they continue their education. In the classrooms (whether virtually or in person), both teachers and students are finding creative and innovative ways to advance critical thinking skills, develop confidence and agency, and prepare for the academic challenges of the Diploma Programme (DP) in the later years.
As we move forward in the new school year, our MYP focus at M’KIS will be to continue the implementation of our inquiry-based learning framework as we support student growth during this critical middle school period. By helping students relate their studies to real world situations, we are preparing the next generation to confidently face the challenges of our global, interconnected world.
The IB Diploma Programme (DP): Cultivating Motivated, Intellectually-Curious Global Citizens
The Diploma Programme (DP) offers Grade 11 and 12 students a challenging and rewarding two-year, pre-university academic experience that leads to one of the most widely recognized external qualifications in the world. We are proud to have offered the IBDP at M’KIS for the last 20 years.
The Diploma Programme aims to develop students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge, and who flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically. The DP curriculum is made up of 6 subject groups and the DP core, which comprises of Theory of knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS), and the Extended Essay (EE). Through the Diploma Programme core, students reflect on the nature of knowledge, complete independent research, and undertake a project that often involves community service.
At M’KIS, DP students can select 22 different subjects at a Higher or Standard level, creating a combination of 42 different course options to meet their needs.
We are excited to add a new course at the Diploma level this year — Global Politics — which draws on a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. The new course offers students the opportunity to understand abstract political concepts by grounding them in real world examples and case studies, and also invites comparison between these examples and case studies to ensure a transnational perspective. It encourages dialogue and debate, nurturing the capacity to interpret competing and contestable claims.
In an increasingly globalized world fraught with cultural challenges, political conflicts, and a rapidly changing media environment, these skills are invaluable to success at university and in the workforce.
As we move forward this year, we would once again like to celebrate the achievements of our last Diploma Programme cohort, the Class of 2021, for their impressive IB exam results. Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, last year’s results are some of our highest ever. Due in large part to the DP’s academic rigor and focus on holistic education, we are confident our most recent graduates are well-prepared to meet future challenges.
We hope you've enjoyed this first IB update, and we look forward to sharing more developments with you in our next IB blog!
M’KIS Class of 2021 Celebrates Impressive IB Exam Results!
After a year of unprecedented challenges faced by the Class of 2021, we are extremely proud to announce that the M’KIS International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) exam results for our 2021 cohort are some of our highest ever.
M’KIS IB Diploma students achieved a phenomenal average point score of 38 and a 100 percent pass rate. This is compared to the global IB average of 33.02 points and an average 88.96 percent pass rate, based on the results of 170,000 IB Diploma students worldwide.
We are also thrilled to announce that of the M’KIS IB Diploma students who took the exam, one student achieved a perfect score of 45, and 41% of our students received a score of 40 or above, which is an incredible achievement for our Class of 2021.
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme offers Grade 11 and 12 students a challenging and rewarding two-year pre-university academic experience that leads to one of the most widely recognized external qualifications in the world. The programme provides students , normally aged 16 to 19, with an academically rigorous course of education that prepares them for success at university and life beyond.
You can learn more about our IB Diploma Programme here.
Congratulations to our entire 2021 cohort, and the countless parents and teachers who supported them over the last year and beyond. We are so proud of your achievements!