Schools embrace Baccalaureate to produce ‘fantastic results’

WHEN St Leonard’s College became the first Victorian school to introduce the International Baccalaureate diploma in 1982, just two students enrolled – including the principal’s son. The only other school in Australia to teach the internationally recognised qualification – which requires students to study six subjects, including a second language, write a 4000-word research essay and perform community service – was Narrabundah College in Canberra. Thirty years later, the prestigious diploma is offered at 63 schools, including 16 schools in Victoria, which accounts for about 40 per cent of enrolments nationwide. Victorian schools that offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma. This year, Werribee Secondary School will become the first state school in Victoria to offer the IB diploma, which enables students to go on to study anywhere in the world. Selective-entry state school Melbourne High is also seeking authorisation to implement the program. St Leonard’s College student Kara Robinson, who was one of about 3000 Australian students to receive her results on Friday, was grateful for her school’s pioneering approach. See more at … Schools embrace Baccalaureate to produce ‘fantastic results’.

The year of the “Pot Luck” …

So it seems one of the ‘themes’ for this 2012-2013 school year is the “Pot Luck.” It started in September, when out of the blue, one of my grade 11 Computer Science students came up and asked me if he could use my microphone to ask the class a question. Within a few minutes, he had not only proposed the idea of a pot luck, but organized it. A week later, we had a Computer Science pot luck with a class of 95% boys (often very shy and apathetic boys). The kids enjoyed a variety of tasty snacks including homemade samosas (from his grandmother). One of my other classes, my grade 12 I.B. Theory of Knowledge class of 95% girls, heard about this and organized their own pot luck to coincide with Halloween day and our second lesson on ethics. In addition to enjoying tasty snacks (like oranges carved like pumpkins with faces on them and filled with grapes), the kids did ethical dilemma skits (with a Halloween theme) with full stomachs from the pot luck. In addition, a week ago, the Alternative Education program in our school (which is designed for kids who want to recover credits they may not have received  or kids who have troubles operating within a ‘typical’ classroom setting) also organized a pot luck after I mentioned it to the class (I help out in this program every other day). Three different classes: Computer Science, Theory of Knowledge, and Alternative Education all had pot luck meals within their classes. This unique opportunity to create a classroom community, promote sharing and bonding has been a valuable if not unexpected surprise to this year. Below is a short cell video short on Halloween morning during the Theory of Knowledge pot luck:

Thinking about next year’s Computer Science I.B.

Well, I have a I.B. faculty meeting tomorrow (Monday) and my thoughts turn to the changes in the I.B. Computer Science course. This is the last year that I.B. Computer Science students will have the course fall under the Mathematics group, and next year it moves to the Experimental Sciences group. As well, it now becomes a full science (no longer an option) and will be part of the group 4 project. On the I.B. website is states: Computer science – The International Baccalaureate (IB) computer science course will be taught as an option in group 4, experimental sciences, from August 2012. The IB LogoComputer science previously formed an option in group 5 of the Diploma Programme curriculum but now lies within group 4. As such, it is regarded as an experimental science, alongside biology, chemistry, design technology, physics and environmental systems and societies. This group change is significant as it means DP students can now select computer science as their group 4 subject rather than having to select it in addition to mathematics as was previously the case. The IB computer science course is a rigorous and practical problem-solving discipline. Via Computer Science.