International Mindedness in the IB Classroom

International Mindedness in
International Baccalaureate
Chandra Michael
George Mason University
• Qualitative study
• One goal of the (IB) program is to develop
internationally minded students.
• IB teachers in one Fairfax County, VA public
• 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
 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
School Profile
• The Middle School is an incredibly diverse
community. The students hail from over 65
countries and speak 33 languages.
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 Learner Profile
Data Collection
 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
Classroom instruction
Teacher journals
Lesson plans
Findings – The How and the Why
Two questions were answered…
How do they foster international
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
How - Being tuned into the
• “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
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.
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
I would like to continue to research IB teachers’
perceptions of international mindedness and
how that leads to changes in their practice.
• 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
• This connection influenced my thinking about my
research goals on this topic.
IBO (2011). MYP Program. Retrieved from
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.

similar documents