Commentary on International Baccalaureate

This commentary is a personal opinion for class assignment of International Education, May 2016.

Cultural Identity

According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, culture is the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group. It’s the characteristic features of everyday existence shared by people in a place or time. Referring to the definition, culture is grown within a person by the family or the surrounding people a person was raised in. The culture will guide the person to see the world and everything one knows into the person one is right now.

The uniqueness of the combination between an individual’s character, upbringing and experience through environment and education system will reflect as cultural identity, which more or less similarly shared by people in a region. Thus wherever one goes, one will bring the cultural identity for other locals to see. And this cultural identity will affect how someone interact with others.

Encounter between different cultures is always interesting, as it opens new chances; to love or to hate, nevertheless, always to respect. Because something considered polite or noble in a culture may be considered rude or patronising thus there might be conflict arisen. Or when the encounter leads to pleasing experience in similarities of fun and happiness, there might be future collaboration.

The readiness to accept and respect others who do not share the same values and norms require mutual understanding and open mindedness in order to set prejudice to zero to begin the encounter with.

International Education

How international education brought into context may differ depends on many factors. It may depend on what first impression a person got about the word ‘international’, how education is carried out and how international schools are practised in one’s country. So to coin this term into definition may not be as precise as how science are describing nature of its objects.

IB programmes is said to develop international mindedness in a global context. For many chances in Indonesia (as a self example) if you mention about ‘international’ what comes first to mind will be high cost and the use of English. Despite the fact that there is no statement of referral to certain race, considering the history of colonisation on this nation, international means western countries and caucasian. International mindedness denotes to share the idea about the world from the standpoint of western countries citizens.

International education, which originally meant to cater for children from varied cultures, in practise has become the melting pot of varied cultures since the term international itself intimately connected to borderless. There is more chance for people to experience and grow accustomed to cultures different from their ethnicities. No more neat lines of who can perform ethnic dances, rituals, read old scripts, be proficient on a region’s history, and so on. Relevancy between ethnic origin, interest and skill is no longer considered necessary.

This, can be advantageous as the cultural identity of a place is better known to others. But the downside is when the natives are less knowledgeable because it is not run through schools, communities and families. With anticipation, the importance of international mindedness whilst providing education which centres on learners has been implied in IB’s mission statement.

International Baccalaureate’s Perspective

IB believes in global contexts for education, which may be a concise way of saying ‘it can be applied anywhere according to your own local significance’. It aims to create learning communities in which students can prepare themselves to be ready to globally engaged in the future. This perspective sides with learners instead of subjects which act as context of learning.

International education must be perceived as providing education which accommodates learners with different cultural identities and providing contexts where the learners can develop their skills, build attitudes, nurture behaviours and sharpen capabilities represented by ‘21st century skills’. The ideal practise of international education must not take away localities and cultural identities.

Learner Profile

Key areas of commonality which IB wants to preserve since childhood (PYP) are continuity of learning, ensuring international-mindedness of learners and practical connections between the learners’ studies and the real world to create a better and more peaceful world.

Regardless what program a learner is involved in, a learner’s profile is undoubtedly important. The noble idealism would require certain learner’s characteristic, which is described in IB’s learner’s profile. IB programmes asserts that these 10 attributes when personifies can be a responsible citizen of local and global communities who can answer the challenge of unknown global problems, despite one’s locality and position.

IB programmes would be easily suitable to well-balanced children who are self-driven. Aspired IB learners would be skilful in all subjects tier, good personality, and having good social responsibility and manner. Even so well-rounded learner is not common. Mostly kids have certain area of strength and tolerable or average on other area. A child who has very specific talent and decided to follow the path of nurture for this talent may not find IB programmes suits one. Nonetheless, the IB learner profile is a model global citizen who we all need.

Hallgarten, Joe, Ralph Tabberer, and Kenny McCarthy. Third Culture Schools: International Schools as creative catalysts for a new global education system. Rep. RSA, Apr. 2015. Web.

“IB Education Programmes| International Baccalaureate®.” International Baccalaureate®. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2016.

James, Paul, and John Tulloch. “Globalization and Culture.” (2010): n. pag. Web.

Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 13 May 2016.

Wright, Katie. International Baccalaureate Programmes: Longer Term Outcomes. Rep. Melbourne: Melbourne Graduate School of Education, 2015. Print.

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