“Life in the 21st century, in an interconnected, globalized world, requires critical-thinking skills and a sense of international-mindedness, something that IB Diploma students learn to know and understand.”

The internationally respected IB Diploma curriculum is underpinned by IB’s approaches to learning, five key learning skills that are essential for success:  self-management, social-skills, communication, thinking, and research. In the IB learning environment more emphasis is placed on higher level skills including analysis, research, writing, problem-solving, and working in cooperative groups.

IB requires students to study six subjects, three at the Higher Level and three at the Standard Level.  This allows for both breadth and depth of knowledge.  The Diploma Programme is built on the belief that concurrent learning of different disciplines provides a rich interdisciplinary perspective.

The IB Diploma Programme also develops students’ critical thinking and experiential learning with the Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay, and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) components.  All areas integrate an international perspective.

West Vancouver Secondary School offers the following IB Diploma courses in grades 11 and 12 at the Higher and Standard levels:

IB English Language and Literature
IB French
IB Mandarin
IB Spanish
IB Japanese
IB Geography
IB History
IB Physics
IB Chemistry
IB Biology
IB Mathematics: analysis and approaches
IB Visual Arts

IB Film

IB Diploma students must also complete a Theory of Knowledge requirement, a Creativity, Activity, Service component, and write an independent research Extended Essay of up to 4,000 words.

TOK (Theory of Knowledge)

Theory of Knowledge is a fundamental part of the IB Diploma, offering an all-embracing base from which group-specific studies follow. It provides students an opportunity to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and how we know what we claim to know.

The TOK programme challenges students to reflect critically on their learning experiences, be creative, learn collaboratively and communicate their ideas.

The aims of the Theory of Knowledge programme are to lead students to:

•    engage in reflection on and the questioning of the bases of knowledge and experience
•    be aware of subjective and ideological biases
•    develop a personal mode of thought based on critical examination of evidence and expressed in rational arguments

TOK is spread over 18 months in grades 11 and 12, enabling students to take part in discussion, reading, and individual and small group presentations.

The Theory of Knowledge course provides IB Diploma candidates with an opportunity to develop a coherent approach to learning which crosses subject specific boundaries and encourages internationalism.

CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service)

The purpose of the CAS program is to help the IB student focus on their personal and interpersonal development. It helps student come to an understanding of their needs and those of others through participation with and service to the wider community.

This compulsory component of the IB Diploma Programme is mostly completed outside of normal school hours.  There are some activities done at school, for example, participation in school sports, service clubs, school theatre production, dance or music programs which can provide a student with credit hours for CAS. Students also seek volunteer opportunities to fulfill CAS requirements.

Extended Essay

The Extended Essay is a piece of individual personal research, presented 3,000- 4,000 words in one of the Extended Essay subjects of the IB Diploma.

The Extended Essay should be focused in its approach, but apart from initial teacher guidance it should be the student’s own personal research, albeit at an introductory level.  Extended essays are evaluated by external IB examiners.

The Extended Essay offers IB Diploma candidates a unique opportunity to engage in the process of personal research, to communicate ideas and information logically, and to develop their skills of analysis, evaluation and reasoning.

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