Teaching students to think for themselves

Rather than compartmentalise studies into subject oriented lessons, the Primary Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate is divided instead through overarching themes into units of inquiry. Each unit lasts typically 4 – 6 weeks of their academic year.

These units of inquiry are age appropriate but, as they are under one overarching theme, allow themes to be built on and referenced year to year. The themes typically seek to place students within a global network, giving them local context within a larger international picture, for example: Where we are in place and time.

Inquiry-based learning puts the student at the centre of the study, encouraging them to seek out what they don’t know in areas that most interest them. This motivates students and they are enthusiastic to find answers to their questions.

Involving students in the learning process this way has been proven to better cement knowledge and, perhaps even more importantly, develop skills to better equip students to use and seek out knowledge in the future.

Students do not rely on teachers to hand them information, or wait around to be given instruction. They are active in the learning process, and see their own value in finding new information.