IB must review old course material

The International Baccalaureate program is frequently praised for providing students with a broad, in-depth education. However, observing some students in the program may cause outsiders to question its effectiveness in teaching more common material.

According to www.ibo.org, the program’s mission is to develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. While it certainly meets this mission at our school, the fact there are still students sitting through IB History of the Americas believing Dwight Eisenhower was a Civil War general in 1810 is mind-blowing, and not in a good way. In addition, although students are assigned dozens of essays, teachers still must deal with improper comma usage and atrocious spelling.

IB successfully teaches difficult material, but does little to ensure students understand base material in each of the core classes. Individual teachers must discover solutions to this problem, considering IB cannot significantly dumb down its material or limit the students it admits based on their knowledge, or lack thereof. To alleviate some general ignorance, teachers can dedicate portions of class to reviewing old material whenever an old subject is reintroduced. This way, those who paid attention in the past will receive easy A’s, while those who did not will avoid becoming buried over their heads in new material they cannot understand without prior knowledge. Some teachers already provide review time during RAISE; if teachers cannot alter their busy curriculums, this approach can work as well.

Although there may always be some students busy playing Temple Run during class rather than learning material, others may legitimately need time reviewing old content. Because grueling IB classes often build new information around old material, that teachers ensure these students have a thorough understanding of all knowledge is more important now, as the second semester commences, than ever before.