Embracing the core of IBDP

When we embrace the growth mindset and build skills, we see positive results in academic performance.

Having been a teacher since 1994 and witnessed education’s many changes and transitions, there seems to be a visible shift towards collaborative teaching and learning across International schools. While teachers need to give students agency and freedom, students also need clear roadmaps to help them take control of their learning processes.

As a firm advocate of the growth mindset, I believe the development of the right skills can genuinely contribute to academic success. As the IB head at ABWA, I want to empower students with essential skills. Teachers too need to upgrade their skills so that their students are more engaged in teaching and learning.

In today’s education scenario, teachers face different challenges, one of which is to make them self-directed learners. The IB Diploma program, for instance, gives students many opportunities to steer their learning journey, but many of them need structure and the skillsets to navigate their course.

At ABWA, we have a detailed and robust DP assessment calendar; which is shared with the students at the beginning of the academic year. It has the entire year’s deadlines mapped, including internal assessments, TOK deadlines, timelines for the extended essay, and even weeks set aside for the summative assessments.
While this makes it easier for students to plan and organize, it also makes them responsible for their deadlines. Self-reflection sessions with students during every reporting cycle also helps realign their focus.

A huge problem faced by DP students is time management. DP students grapple with numerous impending submissions and deadlines. The school's SEN department steps in to support the students with this problem and helps them to create a schedule for themselves.
We also place much emphasis on the emotional well-being of the students. The curriculum is challenging. I think they need to be emotionally strong to handle their learning in the best possible way. The school’s pastoral team provides emotional support and guidance to the students to ensure that they are successful learners.
It is easy to link specific skills to academic excellence. If skills are in place, these skills will automatically lead to academic success, and the scores will follow. The whole philosophy of the IB revolves around the approaches to learning. These approaches include skills like research, thinking, communication and self-management.

The IB has identified a set of learner profile attributes; this helps teachers establish a link between skill-building and the attributes. With the job market changing considerably, employers are looking for people with the right attitude and skillsets. I think we, as educators, should continue to focus on holistic education. A holistic education includes building a growth mindset and moving away from a fixed mindset. To facilitate this, we need to provide students with access to numerous opportunities. They could be in the form of extra-curricular activities, international competitions, inter-house competitions, inter-school competitions, and internships. At ABWA the session Academia and Industry, included as a part of our Pre-IB program, brings our students face to face with experts and professionals from different fields. Such events enable students to establish connections with the world outside the classroom and develop a better understanding of the demands of work life.

Trying to do justice to both skill development and content delivery within the school schedule is challenging. The Callido sessions at ABWA focus on critical thinking and research skills and helps the students with their academic writing. The Callido modules scaffold a student's learning process and help them complete their IAs successfully. The Extended Essay modules further help the students frame research questions, understand the research methodology. Thus writing the 4000-word extended essays is not such a daunting task for the students anymore.

The mammoth shift to synchronous and asynchronous teaching during the COVID crisis, too was seamless. It has been business as usual at Aditya Birla World Academy. The teachers and students have integrated digital tools as a part of everyday teaching and learning. The assessments and grading, too, have been carried out through various online platforms.

Thus at ABWA, we continue to endeavour towards building lifelong learners. The thirst for learning is something our students should carry forward for the rest of their life. Students need to set realistic goals for themselves. Grades cannot be the prime focus; education has to be holistic and inclusive. It is for us educators to bring out the best in each one of our students.

Image source-freepik


Shalini John

Ms. Shalini John

IB- Head at Aditya Birla World Academy


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