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Academics

The IB Diploma Programme is an academically challenging and balanced programme of education, with final examinations, that prepares students aged 16 to 19 for success at university and in life beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students. The programme has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities. (IBO, 2019)

The approaches to learning (ATL), which the IB programmes aim to develop, are cognitive, meta-cognitive and affective skills which are crucial for effective learning as well as in preparing students effectively for life beyond school. There are five ATL categories: thinking skills, communication skills, social skills, self-management skills, and research skills. By developing ATL skills and the attributes of the learner profile, DP students can become “self-regulated learners” (Kaplan 1998).

The IB promotes a broadly constructivist and student-centered approach to teaching which is based on connectedness and concurrency of learning. There are six key pedagogical principles that underpin all IB programmes. Teaching is: based on inquiry; focused on conceptual understanding; developed in local and global contexts; focused on effective teamwork and collaboration; differentiated to meet the needs of all learners; informed by assessment (formative and summative).

Language and Literature

In both Japanese and English, IB Language and Literature is a two-year course in which students explore the power and possibilities of language in all its variety. As both creators and consumers, they examine the ways in which texts are deliberately constructed. Texts studied will be balanced between non-literary (journalism, film, photography, advertising, social media, etc.) and literary (poetry, prose fiction, drama, creative nonfiction) selections, with most of the latter appearing on the IB Prescribed Reading List. Students will encounter texts in translation as well as those from Japan or English-speaking countries.

Through units of study centered around key concepts such as communication, identity, perspective, and representation, the course investigates how language develops in specific cultural contexts and the ways in which it shapes both individual and group identity, as well as examining the evolution of mass media and the roles it plays in contemporary cultural discourse. Students engage in close readings and analysis to inquire into the relationship between literature and global issues ranging from gender and ethnicity to power and identity, taking into account contextual factors that influence authors’ creations.

The course is offered at the standard (SL) and higher (HL) levels. Students opting for the HL course will study more texts, and some of these will be linguistically and conceptually challenging. All students will create portfolios containing their own written tasks, both creative and analytic, for a variety of purposes and audiences.

They will also apply the texts they study to a variety of IB assessments:

  • A fifteen-minute oral discussion
  • A 1500-word essay (HL only)
  • Two written examinations (taken at the end of the course)

Language Acquisition

Language B is designed for students who have studied the language for an extended period of time (MYP phase 3-5 students). In the course, students learn receptive and productive communication skills and interaction skills. The course has a strong emphasis on inference skills and reading comprehension, especially using context to understand words and phrases in texts.

In the course, students read two works of literature and explore the language used by the writer and the culture in which the works take place. In the course, students learn to interact and narrate their environment in familiar and unfamiliar situations. Students learn to describe situations, narrate events, make comparisons, explain problems, and express and support their personal opinions on a range of topics relating to the learning experiences in the course. In the course, students are exposed to a range of texts exploring issues from around the world. It is through this exposure to current events that students develop international mindedness and respect and empathy for cultural diversity.

 

Individuals and Societies

Studying a subject in I&S provides for the development of a critical appreciation of:

  • human experience and behavior
  • the varieties of physical, economic, and social environments that people inhabit
  • the history of social and cultural institutions.

In addition, each subject is designed to foster in students the capacity to identify, to analyze critically, and to evaluate theories, concepts, and arguments relating to the nature and activities of individuals and societies.

OYIS offers Business Management and History.

DP Business Management, offered at both HL and SL, is a rigorous and dynamic discipline that examines business decision-making processes and how these decisions impact on and are affected by internal and external environments. It is the study of both the way in which individuals and groups interact in an organization and the transformation of resources.

DP History is a history course focused on the conceptual, comparative, and multi-perspective understanding of world history. It is offered at both the SL and HL level. DP History does not focus on national narratives, so-called “great man history,” or the major conflicts that animate most of the discussion in the amateur historian sphere, although these topics are certainly a part of the course. Instead, students in DP History can examine a multifaceted view of our past, including politics, economics, sociology, and culture.

Experimental Sciences

The Experimental Sciences are comprised of the three core experimental sciences; biology, chemistry, or physics. Students will pick one or two of these subjects to study over the course of two years.

DP Biology is the scientific study of life and the processes that support it. Our planet is home to a vast, interconnected web of living organisms, unified by common biological processes and needs as they grow, seek nutrition and energy, defend themselves, and reproduce. Students will explore these fundamental principles of life at multiple scales, from the interactions of living things with each other and the environment to the physiology of individual organisms and the structure of the basic building block of all life, the cell, and ultimately all the way down to the molecular chemistry itself that occurs within each cell and is shared across all known forms of life.

Through the lens of the IB learner profiles, students in DP Chemistry will explore topics ranging from chemical disposal and its effects on the environment to chemical structures of different medications. The students will engage and explore the subject through theoretical content, utilizing the ATLs in relation to various assessments, readings, and projects.

Essential to the class, students will be required to perform hours of hands-on learning by performing, creating, collaborating, reflecting, and pushing themselves to question the depth of chemistry through hours of experimentation in our chemistry lab. The course is rigorous and requires dedication, but it will also prepare students to inquire about the natural world and encourage them to reflect on their future endeavors after school.

DP Physics is the study of one of the most fundamental of the natural sciences. At its core, it seeks to establish laws that explain the patterns of the universe. From the biggest super-clustered galaxies to the smallest particles of subatomic existence, physics seeks to explain why the universe works the way it does. Students will study classical physics topics such as mechanics, thermodynamics, waves, electricity, and magnetism as well as more modern topics such as atomic, nuclear, particle and quantum physics. Additionally, the students will choose one optional topic to study. Possible areas of study for these topics include astrophysics, relativity, or optical physics.

Mathematics

The aims of IB DP Mathematics courses are to enable students to:

  • develop mathematical knowledge, concepts, and principles
  • develop logical, critical, and creative thinking
  • employ and refine their powers of abstraction and generalization.

Students are also encouraged to appreciate the international dimensions of mathematics and the multiplicity of its cultural and historical perspectives.

The DP Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches course recognizes the need for analytical expertise in a world where innovation is increasingly dependent on a deep understanding of mathematics. This course includes topics that are both traditionally part of a pre-university mathematics course (e.g. functions trigonometry, and calculus), as well as topics that lend themselves to investigation, conjecture, and proof. This course utilizes technology as fluency in math software is relevant in a digital age. It is important to note that Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches has a strong emphasis on the ability to construct, communicate, and justify mathematical arguments.

The DP Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation course recognizes the increasing role that mathematics and technology play in a diverse range of fields and a data-rich world. As such, it emphasizes math in context by focusing on topics that are often used in applications and mathematical modeling. The course makes extensive use of technology, so knowledge of the TI-Nspire is necessary for success. Mathematics: Application and Interpretation will develop mathematical thinking, through the lens of practical problem-solving.

The Arts

The DP Music course is designed to prepare the 21st-century music student for a world in which global musical cultures and industries are rapidly changing. The course is based on the knowledge, skills, and processes that strengthened the approach to student creativity through practical, informed, and purposeful explorations of diverse musical forms, practices, and contexts. The course ensures a holistic approach to music as an art form, through the roles of performer, creator, and researcher offering ample opportunities for a diverse and rich learning experience.

The aims of the music course are to enable students to:

  • explore a range of musical contexts and make links to, and between, different musical practices, conventions, and forms of expression
  • acquire, develop and experiment with musical competencies through a range of musical practices, conventions, and forms of expression, both individually and in collaboration with others
  • evaluate and develop critical perspectives on their own music and the work of others.

Theory of Knowledge

In the Theory of Knowledge (ToK) course, students examine the ways in which humans acquire, evaluate and create knowledge in each of the academic disciplines, as well as the ways in which those processes shift over time. This examination is approached through the identification of the implicit and explicit claims about knowledge that students and experts make in each academic discipline and the knowledge questions that arise from these claims.

The content of ToK is multi-disciplinary by nature, so students compare and contrast the definitions of knowledge and methodologies of knowledge acquisition they encounter in their various subject areas. Through the dissection of various real-life situations that challenge our perceptions of knowledge in the arts, the natural and human sciences, history and mathematics, students come to recognize the complexity with which we construct knowledge, and the manifold ways that our distinct cultures, values and worldviews interact with that process.

Creativity, Activity, Service

Creativity, activity, service (CAS) is at the heart of the DP. With its holistic approach, CAS is designed to strengthen and extend students’ personal and interpersonal learning from the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP). CAS is organized around the three strands of creativity, activity, and service defined as follows.

  • Creativity—exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance.
  • Activity—physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Service—collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need.

CAS aims to develop students who:

  • enjoy and find significance in a range of CAS experiences
    purposefully reflect upon their experiences
  • identify goals, develop strategies and determine further actions for personal growth
  • explore new possibilities, embrace new challenges and adapt to new roles
  • actively participate in planned, sustained, and collaborative CAS projects
  • understand they are members of local and global communities with responsibilities towards each other and the environment.

Extended Essay

The extended essay is compulsory for all students taking the Diploma Programme. A student must achieve a D grade or higher to be awarded the Diploma. The extended essay is externally assessed and, in combination with the grade for theory of knowledge (ToK), contributes up to 3 points to the total score for the IB Diploma. The extended essay is a piece of independent research on a topic chosen by the student in consultation with a supervisor in the school. It is presented as a formal piece of sustained academic writing containing no more than 4,000 words. The EE process helps prepare students for success at university and in other pathways beyond the Diploma Programme.

The Learner Profile

Central to the philosophy of the IBDP, in addition to the three DP Core elements mentioned above, are the IB Learner Profile and the approaches to learning and approaches to teaching. The ten attributes of the IB Learner Profile express the values inherent to the IB continuum of international education: these are values that should infuse all elements of the three programmes and, therefore, the culture and ethos of all IB World Schools.

IB students strive to be: inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective.

The IB programmes promote the education of the whole person, emphasizing intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth through all domains of knowledge.

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