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IB Diploma Programme Online Workshops: the Key to Academic Excellence

18 July 2018

In an attempt to enhance the knowledge of the Diploma Programme staff, the IBO has provided participants around the globe with the opportunity of having online encounters that would allow them to enhance their knowledge and teaching practices. As IBDP Language A: Language and Literature instructor, completing Category Two workshop on effective teaching skills of the course and its internal and external assessments is mandatory this year. To me, I showed no reluctance to join the online workshop due to my frequent attendance of online workshops organized by Oregon and Iowa Universities, the USA organized through the American Embassy in Beirut. Such online workshops would allow the participants to undergo exhaustive readings and thorough researches on the selected educational topics.
IBDP Category Two online workshop aims at ensuring that our teaching practices support achievement in DP external and internal assessments, expanding our literary repertoire by discussing literary texts and resources in addition to providing teachers with effective strategies for widening their access to the Diploma, including differentiation of the curriculum and scaffolding strategies to enhance skill acquisition. The four-week workshop that started on March 14 and closed on April 16 included four modules, each of which tackled a particular topic and specific practices. The first module started with a welcome note from our knowledgeable and supportive workshop facilitator, Linda Olson, who set up the workshop and its learning objectives, introduced the participants to Moodle and to each other, and opened forums for discussing the new circular IB model and the concept of international mindedness. During this module, we’ve also commented on one of the IB beliefs that “Education for international mindedness values the world as the broadest context for learning, develops conceptual understanding across a range of subjects and offers opportunities to inquire, act and reflect.” (“What is International Mindedness?” Besides, one of the aims of the first module has been to create an online learning community that is constructive and collaborative. In the second module, we explored language and texts in context through identifying the value of assessments, exploring parts 1 & 2 of the course, checking samples of written task (1), Paper 1 & Further Oral Activity (FOA) and creating connections to Theory of Knowledge (TOK). Concerning the third module that focuses on part 3 of the course, we got to pay particular attention to the idea of literature “in context”, explore social, cultural and historical influences that can affect reading texts, and become aware of the Extended Essay as a core diploma requirement and the three possible categories of Group 1 essays.
Successfully completing the required weekly tasks, I was able to move to the fourth and last module that has enhanced my understanding of the requirements, demands and challenges of the syllabus for Part 4: Critical Study as it enabled me to gain greater understanding of the summative oral assessments in Part 4 and discussed my own insights or concerns for better understanding of marking standards. Through this part, I’ve got to know more about the importance of mindfulness in creating balanced learners capable of commenting on literary texts with utmost confidence and accuracy. In conclusion, this interactive and insightful online workshop has been an asset to my learning journey in the IB world.

Nihmat Dandashly ~ English Language Teacher and Coordinator/ Writing Center Director/ IBDP Language and Literature Instructor