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18 November 2021

Moving From An American Curriculum To IB

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Regardless of whether your child is moving to another nation or just from one school to the next, how they make that transition to a new educational program is constantly a significant worry for parents. At international schools, this will mean getting acquainted with the International Baccalaureate program  (IB program) offered by many such schools.

Most children make this transition into the IB Middle Years Program (MYP), which occurs during the same time as middle school in the US. The IB Diploma Program is for students in their final periods of secondary school.

The greatest test kids face moving from an American Curriculum has less to do with the substance of the courses they will be studying in the IB program and more to do with the method by which they will be studying.

One of the foundations in the IB educational program is the utilization of basic reasoning and task-based learning, and in that capacity, a great deal of obligation is put on the student to frame their own thoughts and make plans for executing a specific venture. This can come as a serious surprise for those used to a more top-down way of dealing with education, where students receive various assignments and tests from teachers to demonstrate their knowledge.

Expat essayist and mother Sarah Shumate insightfully describes her experience of moving with her younger daughter from a run-of-the-mill middle school in the US to an IB MYP international school halfway across the world, in London. Despite the fact that her little girl had been in a class for skilled students in the US, she noted that it still takes a while for kids to make the transition and catch up to her companions in the new framework.

“At an IB school, it’s all about the application — how can I apply what I’ve learned on a grander scale? To quote the IB program itself, the program seeks to “develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect”. Sounds pretty good, right? I think it is — it just takes a while to get the hang of. I mean, math exams that require essay writing? That was a new one for us.”

Be that as it may, making this transition doesn’t need to be as troublesome as it sounds. However, like their IB counterparts, international schools following an American curriculum also focus on developing critical thinking skills in students with a collaborative approach to learning that places responsibility in the hands of the student. Because of this, students from these schools make the move into IB programs much easier.

At last, it is mainly about which framework the kid best flourishes in. Children with an innate desire to learn and who enjoy the process of learning will always prosper. Shumate summarized this best in her experience with her daughter:

“Would it have been easier to choose an American school? Probably so. Would we have enjoyed it as much as this school? Who knows? What I do know is that Lexie says she likes it here at this school more than any of the others she’s attended and that makes all of the work and transitioning completely worth it!”

While ISSP operates using the American curriculum, our unique approach thoroughly prepares students for transitioning to any kind of educational program. For more information on how we do this, please contact our admissions team.





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