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TIPS's I.B. (International Baccalaureate) Section

What's the IB?

Welcome IB teachers, and those interested in, or curious about, teaching the International Baccalaureate Program. This section of TIPS is to help you find information and collegial support. It is not sponsored by the International Baccalaureate Organization. Here TIPS presents you with ways to find or to add:

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See also, TIPS' Advanced Placement Page

What's IB?

I.B. stands for International Baccalaureate, a program (or programme) of study meant to give students a well-rounded education which will be accepted by any institution of higher learning in any country. The IB is organized (or organised) and regulated by the International Baccalaureate Organization ( The IBO, as it is called, over-sees curriculum, teaching and testing of the program in schools interested in both "well-rounded" and also "international" education. Students studying in the program choose either a two year "certificate" or a two-year "Diploma" course of studies. These studies include languages, mathematics, humanities and sciences, arts, a meta-knowledge course called Theory of Knowledge, and a Creativity, Action and Service requirement, generally viewed as a community outreach component. At the end of two years students sit for exams which are then marked by the IBO. These extensive requirements make successful completion of the certificate or diploma programs a truly important milestone in students' lives. Universities world-wide view candidates with IB certificates and diplomas favorably. Please see the links to other resources on the net for more detailed information, or add your own suggestion.

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IB Resources on the Net

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TIPS' IB-related Articles

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CAS: A positive experience

Originally written for TIPS by Linda Sande, Brent School, Manilla

"What do we have to do, Miss? What counts for CAS? How many hours did you say we have to do?... We should get extra credit!. No, we should be paid!" Grade ten, Pre-IB.

"We went to visit prisoners in a Jail, Miss. It was really scary at first but most of the ones we talked to just seemed to be sad and unhappy. They weren't at all what I thought they would be." Grade 12 CAS.

"There was nobody else there to help. They had all these donations but only two people to help sort them into boxes. They were glad we came. We got so much done in just one day. I know I don't need anymore CAS hours, Miss but I'm going back . . . ." Grade 12, CAS.

CAS: a bothersome requirement or an enriching, learning experience? The movement from the first to the second is seldom accidental. It begins with the student developing an understanding of CAS, where and why it should fit into their lives. Without this understanding, CAS becomes a tiresome obligation to be fulfilled and "got out of the way" as quickly as possible. The challenge is to encourage them to modify their lifestyles. They have to feel or believe (as distinguished from intellectually knowing) the differences that participating in CAS types of activities will make in their lives.

The students need to understand the reasoning behind the CAS program: the why is very important. Everyone needs a reason to change and we would not want mindless robots who do things or believe simply because someone told them. This generation of students are more focused on health awareness, the importance of a balanced lifestyle. Introductions to CAS which focus on the healthy mind in a healthy body aspect are generally well-received as the students have been exposed to this continually through the mass media for years now.

The service component can be described in terms of citizenship and again the media has focused attention on concepts global citizenship for many years now. However, there is a difference between intellectual beliefs and personal ones. The service component is very difficult for children who come from families or cultures that don't believe in "giving something for nothing." Expect students who have been raised with these beliefs to be skeptical and encourage them to voice their disbelief. The only way they will change their minds is if they discover intrinsic rewards during their CAS experiences. It always helps if the CAS supervisor is a good role model. If he or she can explain how CAS is still a part of his or her adult life as a good citizen and point to other teachers and adults who are also good specific examples, the students respond positively, as well.

To effect change, the CAS program has to fit into the students' lives, not vice-versa. Personality research indicates that people have distinct ways of performing activities. Some prefer groups and others detest them. Some like linearly organized activities and some prefer lateral ones, creating the timeline as they progress. Activities that conflict with a student&39;s personality are counter- productive and discourage the student from desiring to be involved. Yet, few teachers have the time to solicit and process and interpret the personality information about all 200 plus students in the CAS program. Designing a single, flexible program which offers experiences for all personality types and interests is impossible. Does this mean CAS programs, by definition, cannot be effective?

The person who knows best what kinds of activities he or she likes to do is the student him or herself. After introducing the concepts of CAS, the students can customize and individualize their own CAS programs to suit their talents, interests and personalities. Given a set of descriptors for each area and the need of a qualified adult supervisor, most seem to be able to do this easily. The role of the CAS supervisor becomes one of assisting those few who have difficulty with deciding parts of their plans. For those who like to join big group activities, the CAS supervisor can assist with school sponsored events but there is also a place for those who prefer individual activities and who share individual talents.

While, ideally, the CAS supervisor observes the students in action, sometimes, the supervisor is not allowed. For example, one student is a gifted folk dancer and when important visitors and heads of state visit the embassy of his country, he is asked to dance for them. This involves the student in donating weeks of rehearsal and performance time each year. The supervisor cannot just drop by an embassy function. Often, the students are already involved in CAS activities through other groups they belong to.

One boy spends his Sunday afternoons with his church's young people's group offering primary classes for poor children who can not afford to go to school. Visiting the site would be a disruption as the school is not conducted in English and the children would be embarrassed to have a foreigner suddenly appear. In these instances, one must trust the judgment of the activity supervisor who attends the activity and writes the reports. As students discuss among themselves how they are going to fulfill their CAS hours, they inspire each other far more than a teacher can and they develop a respect for each other's accomplishments.

For every CAS paper turned in, there is a story, a feeling and a learning experience the students want to share. What did they do? What was it like? How did they feel about it? Do you know what I did this weekend, Sir? I visited a leper hospital, an orphanage, won a race, lost the BB game, wrote this poem, planted trees in the park, sang in the choir, entered a contest, painted this picture. I was scared; I was excited; I was proud; I was sad; I was mad; I was upset...

"You've already turned in 300 hours; you don't need to turn in any more forms!"

"But, we like to, Sir."

Further information regarding adjusting teaching for student personality traits can be found in Learning Style Profile Handbook II:
Accommodating Perceptual, Study and Instructional Preferences
by James W. Keefe in the ERIC database.

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Copyright David M. Bucknell©,1996, 1997: TIPS grants limited permission for educational, non-commercial quotations. The entire contents of all work herein is copyrighted by TIPS and its authors. (Please contact for permission to use any parts of TIPS for further publication.) : Comments are Welcomed.