Approaches to teaching
I have always thought that I’ve been very lucky to earn my living by teaching Chemistry (and TOK) to IB students as it is something that I really enjoy doing.
By and large IB students are studying because they want to rather than because they have to, so they are generally highly motivated young people. They are at an age when they are finding out who they are and they retain a sense of idealism. Although they are coming to the end of their secondary education, the skills we as teachers can impart to them will remain with them throughout their life. The IB Learner Profile stresses the importance of lifelong learning. Just as we hope our students will continue to learn and be curious about the world, so should we. It is a poor teacher who stops learning once he or she has completed graduate training.
Two of the key words in the IB Learner Profile are ‘Inquirers’ and ‘Reflective’.
An inquirer is someone who develops their own natural curiosity. An inquirer will acquire the necessary skills to conduct inquiry and research and show their independence in learning. An inquirer actively enjoys learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their whole life.
A reflective person gives thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. A reflective person is able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their own learning and personal development.
A successful IB teacher will not only be trying to instil and encourage these two traits (and others) in their own students but should also be actively inquiring and reflecting on their own teaching and career path. The links in this section of the website look at some of the ways in which you can further your own professional development.
These links cannot hope to be comprehensive as there are many different ways in which you can enhance both your teaching skills and your overall professional development - some of which will be country or school specific. The IB has produced its own document "Approaches to teaching and learning in the DP programme" which you should certainly read. Rather than simply reproduce its contents I feel there are areas of teaching that may be particularly relevant to all IB Diploma Chemistry teachers and I have tried to focus more on these than on teaching in general.