International Mindedness in the International Baccalaureate Classroom Chandra Michael George Mason University Introduction • Qualitative study • One goal of the (IB) program is to develop internationally minded students. • IB teachers in one Fairfax County, VA public school. • Examine teachers’ support for IB philosophies in relation to other teaching requirements My question With the pressure of high-stakes standardized tests (on state schools), are teachers able to make room for internationally minded curriculum? What are the experiences of these IB teachers? How do teachers foster international mindedness in their classrooms? Participants and Setting • Three IB MYP teachers in a middle school in Fairfax County (6-8 grade) • “Try” to be Internationally Minded teachers • This middle school voted to implement IB program by both the faculty and community about 10 years ago. • The teachers at this middle school are warm to visitors and collaboration. • Administration is highly supportive of the IB program School Profile • The Middle School is an incredibly diverse community. The students hail from over 65 countries and speak 33 languages. Demographics Black 12% Asian 21% Hispanic 37% White 30% American Indian & Multi-Racial 3% Education Classifications Gifted and Talented Center 11% Learning Disabled 26% ESOL 41% Free or Reduced Lunch 65% All those letters… • AVID Program College Readiness • PBS Program 3 school themes Must make AYP which means they have to focus on SOL (Standards of Learning) prep! • IB MYP AOI IB Learner Profile Methods Data Collection Interviews Semi-structured design (allowed for flexibility) Interview began with background questions, then questions about their opinions/feelings on IB, and ended with questions about their curricular decisions Observations Classroom instruction Teacher journals Lesson plans Findings – The How and the Why Two questions were answered… How do they foster international mindedness? Why was this a priority? (Why did they spend time on it) HOW -Climate of Collaboration and Integration • Areas of Interaction provide the main focus for developing the connections between the disciplines, so that students will learn to see knowledge as an interrelated, coherent whole ..Ideas are always “floating around and opportunities to talk about ideas to do cross-curricular projects with other subjects are common among the staff.” • Faculty’s willingness to collaborate has allowed for the AOI to supplement the curriculum and develop internationally minded thinking in the classrooms How - Being tuned into the students • “Stay out of their way” • “Keep it relevant. Try to find something that’s real to them. And find a question that gets them to think about that. And then provide them with the experiences that let them process it and share it and communicate it.” • “Find an approach that is relevant to them. If a teacher can do that.. the learning will just “go on forever.” The teachers felt that the IB program provides a structure to help teachers do that. How - Strong School Support Administration only brings in new teachers that are willing to support IB “I think it has to do with the culture of the school since I came here. I’m not sure if it was always that way. I think it’s been encouraged by the administration, both the two Principals that I’ve had here have both encouraged that and encouraged teachers to take on leadership roles and things like that. So, I think it’s just kind of in [the] culture. And I think also because of the student population we teach, the teachers feel the need to support each other because it’s not always the easiest group of kids to work with.” Why was International Mindedness a priority? • They believe in the program “It’s just good teaching” “It’s what we should be doing anyway” “I was an IB teacher and didn’t even know it!” • “It really isn’t another thing. It’s building on what you’re doing and making it better, I think. The teaching that goes on is really what best practices are. It lays a ground work for you.” Why - It is best for kids! IB structure is grounded in a holistic assessment of the student and a conceptual philosophy of teaching Rubrics: • Assessment criteria as a way to “look at the whole process and the whole approach that the kid takes [toward an assignment] as well as the result.” Future benefits for students: • One of the main goals of the IB program is help students see their role as a part of a world community. This goal is important because globalization has caused “the world to shrink”—in the words of one teacher—making intercultural maturity an urgent concern for educators. • Communication-Writing across the curriculum Why - Ownership The school voted and decided to adopt IB! Ten years ago, a group of teachers was asked to pilot the IB program and present the findings about the effectiveness and appropriateness of the program to fellow staff and community. The community and staff had the opportunity to vote on adopting the program after hearing the teachers’ presentation. Because the teachers had a say in including the IB program they were more motivated to incorporate it in their classrooms. Conclusion This experience has been valuable because I have deepened my own understanding of the IB program, real IB practices, and how IB relates to teachers’ perceptions of international education. I would like to continue to research IB teachers’ perceptions of international mindedness and how that leads to changes in their practice. Reflection • Here is graphic I created to demonstrate how conducting my own qualitative study has informed my previous theories on teachers’ perceptions of international mindedness and applications to my own professional practice. • As I collected research, analyzed data, and reanalyzed theories about IB and international mindedness, I started to see the connection between teachers’ perceptions of IB and how that molds their practice and influences their curricular decisions. • This connection influenced my thinking about my research goals on this topic. Reflection References • IBO (2011). MYP Program. Retrieved from http://www.ibo.org/myp/curriculum/interaction/ • Merryfield, M. (2003). Like a veil: Cross-cultural experiential learning online. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education 3(2), 146-171. • Maxwell, J. (2005). Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach (2nd edition). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. • Strauss, A. (1990). Getting started. In A. Strauss & J. Corbin (Eds.), Basics of qualitative research: grounded theory procedures and techniques (33-47). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.