Can my children cope with the demands of the IB Diploma?

 

We keep hearing about the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme and how challenging it is. We know as a parent you are concerned whether the curriculum will be too difficult for your child. After all, you don't want your child to go through the "All work no play" situation.

To address the query whether the IB Diploma Programme is suitable for your child or not, we have collated all the pertinent information about the programme. We hope you will find the article useful and it will help you make an informed decision by the end.

What is the Diploma Programme?

The Diploma Programme has been developed by the International Baccalaureate Organisation for students aged between 16 to 19. The rigorous programme has been developed to provide a complete knowledge of each subject. This helps students developmentally, physically, ethically and emotionally.

The Diploma Programme (DP) Curriculum

This curriculum consists of DP Core and 6 subject groups:

DP Core: The DP core consists of three components which helps widen a student's knowledge and viewpoint and provides maximum educational experience. These 3 core components include:

l Theory of knowledge - which helps students reflect their own knowledge and how we gain certain knowledge.

l The Extended Essay - where students have to undertake an independent research and complete a paper on a specific topic.

l Creativity, activity, service - where students undertake and complete a project.

Subject groups: The 6 subjects groups include in DP are language and literature, language acquisition, individuals and societies, sciences, mathematics and arts. There are different courses within each group.

Students get an option to choose subjects within each group. This provides students with a unique opportunity to study what they like. Apart from these, students can also opt to take up an additional course in science or language or arts or individuals and societies. Students have to take some subjects at higher level and some at standard level. The different levels determine the scope and hence varies in the level of knowledge obtained by the student. Each student has to take a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 4 subjects at the higher level and the rest at standard level. The standard level subjects include 150 teaching hours and the higher level includes 240 teaching hours.

Benefits of IB DP

The IB DP is a programme that has far-reaching benefits for students. To begin with, students who go through this challenging curriculum perform better at the university level. IB students are exposed to social and emotional issues along with gaining academic knowledge. They not only have a better understanding of the subjects, but they also have better insight into their own emotion management. Hence, they are able to outperform their competitors.

The programme also encourages them to be independent thinkers and take charge of their own learning. By taking part in different programmes, they gain insight into how the world works. Students are more culturally aware. They learn more languages which helps them in the future. They become effective communicators and are able to keep pace with world competition.

How to manage the IB DP workload

One of the common issues faced by students is the difficulty in keeping pace with the challenging curriculum. Often students fail to keep up and thus get disheartened. However, a little bit of understanding and smart work can help deal with this stress. As a parent, here are a few things that you can do to help your child shine during the Diploma years.

Communicate with the child: Experts opine that communication and complain are the two sides of the same coin. However, communication is constructive which is the main point. Communicate with your child and understand what difficulties he/she is facing. This will help your child open up about the problems and thus you can help him/her overcome it.

Practice stress management techniques: The most important thing is to manage stress. Help your child by learning stress management techniques yourself and helping your child with it.

Encourage your child to enjoy the learning experience: Although rigorous, the programme exposes your child to an in-depth understanding of a subject. Encourage him/her to enjoy the experience rather than view it as a punishment. Anxiety is normal, yet the intense research and enquiry methodology helps students learn better than others, which is valuable.

Provide a caring environment: While your child goes through the gruelling year, as a parent it is your duty to create a loving environment. Arrange for movie nights, cook your child's favourite food, appreciate small achievements to make him/her feel loved and cared.

Take the help of experts: There is no harm in providing external support. Find out good tutors who can help your child sail through those years. Tutors can provide insights and their experiences can be valuable.

Keep a long-term perspective instead of keeping a short-term view of the programme. This programme can benefit your child in several ways and that's what counts.