Gaining Global Perspectives in the YCIS Beijing IB Diploma Programme
In 2012, YCIS Beijing was chosen as one of a group of 12 schools across the globe to develop and test the Global Politics course for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. The course, which is now in its first year in the worldwide mainstream IB curriculum, was developed in part by YCIS Beijing’s very own Global Politics teacher Gareth Evans. Below, Mr Evans shares how the course enhances each student’s IB experience and encourages global citizenship.
Enhancing the Understanding of Global Citizenship
Students enrolled in the IB Diploma Programme are already familiar with global citizenship as most of the curriculum’s humanities courses have this concept at their core. Mr Evans introduces the course, “Global Politics is a subject based on a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities and gets the students to study the underlying ways in which the wider world around them actually works day-to-day.” While the course does include academic theory, emphasis is placed on the understanding and application of these theories through the study of real-world problems issues.
Engaging Contemporary Challenges
There are no shortage of real-world problems at hand; Mr Evans cites the civil war in Syria and the resulting refugee crisis as two major topics discussed in the most recent semester of class. “The course strives to give the students a greater understanding of how such events occur, and, very importantly, the language with which to discuss them so that they can critically engage with the challenges they will face as adults.” Rather than viewing contemporary crises from afar, IB Global Politics encourages students to engage and solve rather than simply analyse.
Connecting Theory with Reality
More powerful than any classroom lesson is direct real-world contact with what you are studying in class. Samantha Kwek, a Year 13 student at YCIS Beijing, was able to attend a summer programme and visit Tibetan refugees experiencing the very problems that she had studied in her Global Politics class: “This experience changed everything. Having a real-world insight was extremely heartbreaking for myself, but at the same time the significance of my words and what I learned reflected reality onto our academic studies – so many concepts and theories I had learned now had a reality overlaying them.” Experiences and realizations like these are vital to what the IB Diploma Programme, and what YCIS Beijing, try to accomplish in crafting global citizens.
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