Language and literature curriculum changes

The new IB Diploma Studies in language and literature curriculums are in their last stage of development and will go into first teaching in 2019 with first assessment in 2021.

The new courses in DP Language A Literature and Language A Language and literature will have both a common syllabus structure and a common set of assessment components. There will be an increased presence of conceptual understanding in them, with seven key concepts at the core of both syllabi. There will no longer a one-to-one correspondence between the parts of the syllabi and the assessment components, which will allow for greater flexibility in the way the syllabus content is organised. As a result of these changes, teachers and students will be able to establish more meaningful and profound connections between different texts and across the different parts of the syllabus.

The six pedagogical principles of Approaches to teaching

The new courses will make the six principles that are the foundation of IB pedagogy imbue the teaching, learning and assessment of Literature and Language and literature. Apart from the centrality of conceptual understanding to the new syllabi that was already mentioned above, the new curricula will allow teachers and students a significant amount of freedom in their decisions about how to make the syllabus content interact with assessment components. In this sense, there will be plenty of room for choice about the organisation and sequencing of the curriculum, which will result in a greater differentiation within the Studies in language and literature courses.

This added flexibility will to some extent also allow students to make more autonomous decisions, and to follow lines of inquiry into the texts and into how they relate to one another that will be the result of personal choice and interest. Students will also be able to critically explore the texts studied and formulate questions about them in the learner journal, a new tool developed to help foster a more meaningful and personal interaction between students and the texts they study.

New assessment

The learner journal offers a space in which students will be able to assess themselves, their understanding of the texts, and the progress they are making in connection with the assessment objectives. As such, this will be a valuable opportunity for ongoing self-assessment, and therefore an instance of formative assessment which will inform both teaching and learning.

The new assessment components, in particular the internal assessment, will lay emphasis on the relevance of literary and language studies to local and global contexts. Students will be required to establish points of comparison and contrast between two texts based on a common global matter they choose to address. The main idea is to help students become aware of the relevance of the study developed in these courses to their lives, the communities they belong in and the wider global context.

Increased collaboration

The new curriculum for both courses relies heavily on a spirit of collaboration. This is evident primarily in the collaboration that takes place between the teacher and the students, and among the students themselves, so that each one of them will be able to make sensible and informed decisions on how to prepare and organise the texts they study to meet the requirements of the assessment components.

Overall, the future syllabi aim at overcoming the perception that the parts of the syllabus and the texts that are included in them can be dealt with in isolation and without a need for interaction between them. The parts of the new syllabi, on the contrary, are now interconnected and this contributes to enriching the student’s experience of understanding and interpreting the texts they study.

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