• This section of the site addresses the IB document Approaches to teaching and learning (2015), and is full of practical, transferable teaching techniques
  • The ATLs proposed in Approaches to teaching and learning (2015) are summarised and discussed: there are sections on the skills of...
  • Thinking ... proposing ways to expand students' ability to handle the gathering, exploring and presenting of ideas
  • Research ... focusing particularly on internet research techniques, both commonplace and useful in the modern language classroom
  • Communication ... the inherent basis of English B teaching, of course!
  • Social skills ... with particular emphasis on cooperative work in the language classroom
  • Self management ... exploring the 'Approaches' document's distinction between 'Organisational' and 'Affective' skills
  • An overview is provided of the range of Tasks & activities, forming a toolkit for language teaching
  • The overview section Computer verbs explores ways in which information technology influences and informs the processes of thought
  • The range of internet teaching techniques and procedures is closely linked with materials provided under Topics

What the students actually do ...

The essence of the IB document Approaches to teaching and learning (2015) is that it sets out to define how IB courses should be taught - as opposed to the Subject Guides which define (principally but not exclusively) what should be taught, and how this should be assessed.

All teaching involves the teacher organising the general activity of the class, and this will involve setting the students specific tasks. At the most ... what shall we say ... primitive level this means "Shut up and listen!" It seems evident that the more sophisticated the teaching approach, the more interactive the general activities involved, the wider the range of tasks proposed to the students - and the more precisely the task chosen is related to helping the student grasp, absorb and take command of what is being taught. What students do must have a close relationship with how they think.

This area of the site is intended to review, assess and develop these general activities and specific tasks, as comprehensively as possible, over time.


This section of the site, accordingly, contains :-

ATLs - core ... about Approaches to teaching and learning as a whole, reviewing the general approach proposed.

ATLs - applications ​... summarises and comments on the pedagogical principles underlying the ATLs; as well as the further guidance in five specific teaching areas.

Following headings address the five fundamental elements of teaching and learning proposed in the document, which may be summarised thus:-

Thinking ...Thinking skills - ways of teaching the ability to think critically, creatively - and reflectively

Research ​ ... or "...advanced information literacy capabilities..." as the document ringingly puts it

Communication ​ ... skills of communication - which is what English B is all about, all the time, surely?

Social skills ... not just the social skills involved in language inherently, but also working together cooperatively

Self management ​ ... in two areas: Organisation skills (e.g. planning), and Affective skills (e.g. self motivation)

(You might notice that I have slightly re-ordered the list, compared with the original: I have put 'Research skills' to follow 'Thinking skills' ... because, frankly, I think they fit together better that way!)

Two overview sections are provided :-

Tasks & activities ... Within the overall framework of an activity, tasks are what students actually do at each stage of the process. Such tasks require students to practise specific skills of thinking - skills which students will probably do naturally, but may not use deliberately or methodically (such as summarising, ranking by priority, or using analogy).

Computer Verbs ... Information technology has changed, and is changing, the way that teaching functions - and provides new options for the way that various activities and tasks can be carried out. Using computers in the language classroom means that students can be encouraged to practise using IT to think more actively. Essentially, this means exploring new ways of researching, editing, and presenting ideas.


The Ideas Bank ... Another way of exploring the range of different teaching techniques and activities is to consult the various pages under this heading, which focus on specific elements of language teaching, such as 'Texts for analysis', 'Stimulating discussion', and so on


Selected Pages

Techniques, Activities & Tasks 3 October 2020

This section provides a range of different teaching techniques for promoting active use of language, along with the development...

Social skills 3 April 2020

Let's define our terms - it is not, it seems to me, part of the English B teacher's job to teach students correct forms...

Research 13 August 2018

I have the impression that research skills as such, in any formal way, are not a high priority for most English B teachers....

Thinking 13 October 2017

In a sense, the phrase 'thinking skills' appears amazingly redundant as a label for a significant element of education....

ATLs - core 23 February 2016

The document Approaches to teaching and learning in the Diploma Programme (2015) is a significant statement of IB policy,...

ATLs - applications 3 May 2015

This page aims to summarise and comment on the second section of the document Approaches to teaching and learning in the...

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