Heather E. Michael—Columbia University (United States)
The purpose of this study was to learn how students and teachers conceptualize the IB Diploma Programme Core (TOK, CAS and the EE), and how connections are made between these elements. Students were asked to reflect about the Core in relation to the development of identities, using the questions: who am I as an internationally minded thinker in TOK, as a community leader engaging in CAS, and as a researcher doing the EE? Based on stories told, it was found that engagement and interest in the Core significantly improved when students were given the time to connect personal interests with Core elements, and the framework and language to help make connections between themselves, their learning and assessments. In other words, the Core was taught, not tasked. To make this happen, teachers stressed the need for strong leadership, time to plan and teach, and professional development to build on pedagogical skills to make this happen.