Themes, 2018 onwards

  • The Themes specified by the Subject Guide introduced in 2018 will overlap with the Topics of the 'old' Subject Guide for some time...
  • ... specifically, teaching Themes under the new Subject Guide begins in September 2018, but...
  • ... the teaching of Topics according to the 'old' Subject Guide will continue while preparing students for the examination sessions of May 2018, November 2018, May 2019 and November 2019 
  • In order to cover both requirements, this website will provide two organisations of materials to cover both Themes and Topics - this column, and the column next door, entitled Topics to 2019 
  • This column provides exploration of the Themes required for English B, considering how each may be approached, and how materials from the previous Topics may be re-deployed
  • For each of the Themes, a header-page provides links to the mass of relevant material already existing in this site ...
  • ... much of which relevant material is filed under different areas of the site, for different teachering purposes
  • Each page includes factual information to stimulate discussion, but also practice in language skills and thinking skills

The Themes required by the 2018 Subject Guide are wider than the Topics of the 'old' Subject Guide - but in fact, they cover much the same ground as the old Topics. So, how do we deal with them?

It is worth bearing in mind from the start that these Themes are specified so as to define suitable subject matter with which to practise the use of the language. Language has to be about something ... and Language as part of the IB's Diploma programme should be about something challenging (not just gossip about what you did last weekend!). On the other hand, the Subject Guide is clear that factual information, as such, is not assessed - so we should not imagine that we are required to be devising Sociology ('Social organisation') or Psychology ('Identity') courses.

Note that the introduction to the Guide's section about Themes (pp.18-20) states three significant purposes of the study of Themes:-

  • Themes should provide "opportunities for students to communicate about matters of personal, local or national, and global interest" - note the wide range of what is considered relevant and suitable
  • the study of the Themes will also "allow students to compare the target language and culture(s) to other languages and cultures with which they are familiar". Notice that this does not require that the Themes should be exclusively focused on studying Anglophone Culture, but rather that the approach should be intercultural
  • discussing the Themes will allow "students to make connections to other disciplinary areas in the DP" - drawing in ideas from Economics, Biology, and so on, to enliven and support exploration of the area




Selected Pages

Sharing the planet unit: Too late? 29 May 2019

This is one of a series of pages designed to illustrate how to go about developing unit plans for teaching the Themes. These...

On nationalism 7 May 2019

Do nations share? ... perhaps the nation state is the biggest stumbling-block in the development of the concept of 'sharing...

Negative globalization 1 February 2019

Sharing the downsides? ... that everything is becoming 'global' is now a trite cliché, a statement of the obvious - but...

The Migrant's Tale 25 January 2019

Sharing experience ... we 'share the planet' with other people, and the most basic aspect of sharing is to try to share...

Negative globalization task 25 January 2019

You should read the text 'The impact of globalization', provided in the box below. You can either open this and read it...

Nationalist myths 24 January 2019

The experience of nationalism ... It is pretty clear that nationalist movements are based powerfully on the experience of...

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