Meanings and practices of inquiry-based teaching and learning in the International Baccalaureate (2022)

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Joseph L. Polman and Karla Scornavacco—University of Colorado Boulder

The International Baccalaureate (IB) seeks to integrate inquiry-based teaching and learning (ITL) across all programmes and subjects. This study examined the meanings and practices of ITL, and involved students, educators and schools engaged in the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and/or Diploma Programme. Researchers conducted the study in two main phases. The first phase included an academic literature review, interviews with key personnel in organizational leadership positions and analysis of relevant IB documents. The research team then refined and enhanced the initial findings by examining perspectives and practices of ITL in a selection of eight IB World Schools in two IB regions. The final products of this study are proposed organizational and instructional theories of change for ITL, along with a rich description of what IB stakeholders mean by ITL and how ITL varies across programmes. Findings indicated that IB educators have a strong sense of what ITL can and should mean, and how to put it into practice due to an effective set of resources and a supportive ecosystem. This study could serve as the basis for further research to build upon these theories of change and to explore inquiry-based learning within classroom settings.

Research summary (PDF, 227.4 KB)

Full report (PDF, 10.2 MB)