This section gives basic information on a range of different resources and professional development for all practising IB Chemistry Diploma teachers. There is also a section on 'getting started' which aims to give a quick introduction (survival guide?) for those new to teaching IB Diploma Chemistry. It gives a quick breakdown of the position of Chemistry within the IB Diploma programme, some basic resources you will need and an initial scheme of work to get you on your way. Throughout the 'getting started' pages, links are made to other sections of the site so that as you become familiar with the course you can gain a deeper understanding and gain access to further materials and examples.
Teaching IB Chemistry should be fun. John Devonshire, my colleague for 26 years, arriving for work on a Monday morning.
Even for experienced IB teachers it is worth considering what makes the IB special compared to all other educational systems. Chemistry is universal so of course there are many similarities with national and other international systems of education. However, the IB is distinctive in several ways as it aims to be much more than just an examination system. Although I’ve never seen them written down anywhere it appears to me that there are essentially five main differences to any other examination systems for the 16-19 age group.
Differences between the IB and (most) National Systems and other International Systems for 16-19 Chemistry education
Students must study six academic subjects – three at Higher Level and three at Standard Level from a broad range of disciplines. In addition, they must integrate Theory of Knowledge (TOK) into the programme, complete a 4000 word Extended Essay in a subject of their own choosing and be actively involved in experiential learning through a range of artistic, physical and service activities known collectively as Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS).
The core/AHL content is very similar to other systems but the options contain much material that is not on other 16-19 year old programmes.
The IB aims to develop the skills of lifelong learning. These are exemplified through Approaches to learning and the Learner Profile. Emphasis is placed on students taking responsibility for their own learning. The IB Learner Profile is covered fully in the section on the IB Core.
IB teachers are actively encouraged to contribute to curriculum development.
Methods of examination
All Diploma students are examined in a wide variety of different ways which prepares them extremely well for further education at university and beyond. These include: Multiple Choice, Short answer questions, Essays in mother tongue, Essays in a Foreign language, Internally assessed course work in a range of disciplines, an Extended Essay, Oral examination in mother tongue, Oral examination in a foreign language, Group 4 interdisciplinary project, TOK presentation and TOK Essay etc. etc.
These are all positive differences and are perhaps the main reason why the IB is so successful and growing rapidly. Some of these differences are important right from the beginning and will be addressed in the 'getting started' section. Others become more apparent as teachers develop their knowledge and skills of teaching IB Diploma Chemistry and will be addressed fully elsewhere on the site. If you are a successful Chemistry teacher within your own national system then you should easily be able to adapt to become equally successful as an IB Diploma Chemistry teacher. Hopefully though, whatever your starting position, this InThinking Chemistry website will enable you to become an even better teacher. Enjoy the challenge and the learning process along the way.