New Study Explores What It Means to Be an IB Teacher

Article ID: 600501

Released: 19-Mar-2013 9:00 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: International Baccalaureate

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    The IB teacher identifies with qualities associated with the IB Learner Profile and international-mindedness.

Newswise — Researchers at the International Baccalaureate (IB) set out to learn what ingredients go into making an IB teacher an IB teacher -- to better understand the perspectives and attributes of this effective, dedicated corps of educators. Researchers Liz Bergeron and Michael Dean used an online survey, focus groups, and document review to improve current understanding of teaching in IB programmes, compared to commonly held more general beliefs about effective teaching. Their findings, reported in the study, “The IB teacher professional: identifying, measuring and characterizing pedagogical attributes, perspectives and beliefs” support the assertion that IB teachers approach the whole student with inquiry-based instruction, and with the intention of shaping their students into socially responsible citizens.

“This study supports what we in the IB community have long known: IB teachers are themselves lifelong learners who aim to develop the same keen interest in their students,” says Chief Academic Officer Judith Fabian, International Baccalaureate. “IB teachers approach their students with creativity, flexibility, openness, care and compassion. Their pedagogical approaches and belief systems are at the core of their excellence as teachers.”

The survey sample included 3,184 IB teachers who completed The Teaching Perspective Inventory (TPI) developed by John Collins and Daniel Pratt; a widely used instrument of self-examination that allows for comparison against a population of non-IB teachers. Each respondent received a profile report on both their dominant and recessive perspectives from a total of five TPI perspectives characteristic of teaching practice: transmission, apprenticeship, developmental, nurturing and social reform. As a unit, the average IB teacher profile has nurturing as its dominant perspective, backed up by apprenticeship and development. Although this pattern is similar to the general primary and secondary teacher population, IB teachers were found to score higher than 60 percent of their peers on not one, but four perspectives: social reform, developmental, apprenticeship, and transmission, suggesting that IB teachers identify with these four perspectives more than the average teacher.

In focus groups and open-ended survey items, IB teachers defined their attitudes, perspectives and beliefs with words and phrases that fell under seven central themes: international-mindedness, open-mindedness, flexibility, teaching approach/skills/beliefs, collaboration, universality of good teaching and love of teaching.

“IB teachers sustain their commitment to professional development throughout their careers,” states Anthony Tait, Director of IB Professional Development. “They model a culture of lifelong learning and continuous improvement that not only benefits their own professional and personal growth but also improves learning experiences and outcomes for all IB students.”

Content analysis of IB documentation was undertaken to identify the teaching approaches, beliefs and tools that the IB promotes. Of the codes that emerged from the analysis, the IB teaching approach emphasis was on making connections, inquiry, and student-centeredness. The IB teaching beliefs included the words global, cultural, whole student and sense of social responsibility. The tools the IB encourages in effective teaching were identified as reflection, collaboration, assessment, and adaptability. Commonalities among the IB documentation, focus groups, survey results, and a review of the broader educational literature include: focus on the learner, and a combination of creativity, fairness, flexibility, openness, caring, and knowledge. Nonetheless, international mindedness as a teaching perspective is more strongly emphasized in IB teaching. By combining this quality with inquiry-based teaching and social responsibility, the IB has created its own unique teaching identity. Put simply, if IB teachers could be meta-tagged by the words that best describe their attributes, perspectives and practices, they would be tagged with inquiry, global, whole student, connections, social responsibility, creative, and flexible.

Find the research summary here: Find the full research report here:

About the IBFounded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a not-for profit foundation, which offers four high quality and challenging educational programmes for a worldwide community of schools. For 45 years, IB programmes have gained a reputation for rigour and high academic standards, for preparing students for life in a globalized 21st century, and for helping to develop citizens who will create a better, more peaceful world. Currently, more than 1 million IB students attend nearly 3,500 schools in 144 countries.


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