As an IB World School offering the Primary Years Program, Middle Years Program and Diploma Program of the International Baccalaureate, we offer a continuum of high-quality, international education across all grade levels. The IB is the most respected and widely followed academic program in the international school world, and it has become increasingly popular in many national education systems, with more than 4,000 schools worldwide offering IB programs. As such, it is well suited to meet the needs of our internationally minded and globally mobile community.The IB is different from other curricula because it:
- Encourages students to think critically and challenge what they are told.
- Is independent of governments and national systems, and therefore able to incorporate best practice from a range of international frameworks and curricula.
- Encourages students to consider both their local and international environment.
Research has shown that that IB students perform well on international academic assessments, and often better than students on other programs. Additionally, Diploma Program graduates feel more prepared for college-level coursework involving research and are better able to cope with demanding workloads and time-management challenges, than students from non-IB schools.
The Primary Years Program (PYP) offers a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning. It provides an inquiry-based curriculum model that incorporates guidelines on what students should learn, how students should act as learners and as community members, on teaching methodologies and on assessment strategies.
The PYP is a guided inquiry approach to learning and teaching. Inquiry-based units of study, known as Units of Inquiry, are the focus for learning in homeroom classes and when appropriate they are integrated into other curriculum areas. Students experience what it is like to think and act like a historian, scientist, engineer or a mathematician. Within each Unit of Inquiry, students and teachers identify together what they want to know, what they already know, what they need to know and how best they might find that out.
In the inquiry-based classroom there is emphasis on real life situations, decision-making, problem solving, research and action. Students are actively:
- Exploring, wondering and questioning
- Experimenting and playing with possibilities
- Researching and seeking information
- Collecting data and reporting findings
- Clarifying existing ideas and reappraising events
- Deepening understanding through the application of a concept or rule
- Making and testing theories
- Making predictions and acting purposefully to see what happens
- Elaborating on solutions to problems.
1. CONCEPTS: What do we want students to understand?
The PYP is a curriculum framework that has been designed around a key set of important ideas or concepts that provide the foundation for exploration across all disciplines. The concepts are:
- Form: What is it like?
- Function: How does it work?
- Causation: Why is it like it is?
- Change: How is it changing?
- Connection: How is it connected to other things?
- Perspective: What are the points of view?
- Responsibility: What is our responsibility?
- Reflection: How do we know?
2. KNOWLEDGE: What do we want students to know?
Knowledge in the PYP is developed through six Units of Inquiry in each grade level under the headings of six transdisciplinary themes. These themes are used to integrate subject knowledge across the main curriculum areas of: languages, mathematics, social studies, science and technology, the arts, personal, physical and social education (PPSE). The Units of Inquiry are significant for all students, give them opportunities to explore challenging, relevant and engaging knowledge, encourage knowledge to be looked at in a transdisciplinary way, and can be revisited throughout the student's years of schooling.
3. SKILLS: What do we want the students to be able to do?
Skills are those things that students need to be able to do to succeed in a changing challenging world. Students need to master a range of skills to prepare themselves for their future education and for life in general. A comprehensive set of social skills, research skills, thinking skills, communication skills, and self-management skills are taught through structured inquiry experiences in the Units of Inquiry.
4. ATTITUDES: What do we want the students to value and feel?
It is important that students recognize the importance of attitudes as an integral part of the curriculum. The PYP promotes: tolerance, respect, integrity, independence, enthusiasm, empathy, curiosity, creativity, co-operation, confidence, commitment and appreciation. There are many opportunities throughout the curriculum to develop and promote positive attitudes.
5. ACTION: How do we want students to act?
Through the Units of Inquiry we endeavor to create learning experiences which inspire students to actively apply new learning in their daily life. Students are encouraged to reflect, to choose wisely and to act responsibly with their peers, school staff and in the wider community.
The PYP Exhibition
Students in grade 5 at YIS carry out an extended, collaborative inquiry process, known as the Exhibition, under the guidance of their teachers and mentors. The Exhibition is the culmination of the Primary Years Program. Students synthesize the essential elements of the PYP and share them with the whole school community. It is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the IB Learner Profile that they have developed throughout their engagement with the program. Students are given flexibility in their choice of real-life issues or problems to be explored and investigated in the Exhibition. The central idea states a broad conceptual understanding that the students will investigate. Students work together with their teacher to focus their inquiry. They explore the local and global issues related to that inquiry, and then prepare a presentation for the community to view.
The Middle Years Program (MYP) is designed to meet the needs of students aged 11 to 16. It is a broad and rigorous curriculum framework, focusing on contextual, conceptual and inquiry-based learning. The MYP enables connections to be made between subjects while maintaining the integrity of the disciplines. Students experience authentic learning experiences and are able to make connections to the real world as they become critical and creative thinkers.
- Addresses holistically students' intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being.
- Provides students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need in order to manage complexity, and take responsible action for the future.
- Ensures breadth and depth of understanding through study in eight subject groups.
- Requires the study of at least two languages to support students in understanding their own cultures and those of others.
- Empowers students to participate in service with the community (local and international).
- Helps to prepare students for further education, the workplace and a lifetime of learning.
The following subject areas are taught with a focus on breadth and depth, as well as conceptual learning in context:
- Language and Literature (English and Japanese)
- Language Acquisition (French, Spanish, Japanese)
- Individuals and Societies
- The Arts (Visual Art, Music, Drama)
- Physical and Health Education
Approaches to Learning
Through approaches to learning (ATL), students develop skills that are relevant across all subject areas and help them 'learn how to learn.' ATL skills are taught, practised and developed incrementally in order for students to be able to learn independently and with others. Approaches to learning include:
- Communication skills
- Social skills: collaboration
- Self-management skills: organization, affective, reflection
- Research skills: information literacy and media literacy
- Thinking skills: critical thinking, creative thinking, transfer
The Middle Years Program culminates in a Personal Project. The Personal Project is an independent and challenging endeavor in which students demonstrate their ATL skills as well as research in depth a topic of their choice. The students choose an area of interest and passion, identify a goal and the impact on others, and create a product over a period of six months. At YIS, our students begin the process in grade 9 and complete the project in Semester 1 of grade 10. The process and skills developed over the course of the project helps students prepare for the Extended Essay required in the Diploma Program.
The IB Diploma Program (DP) is a two-year course of study that leads to the award of an IB Diploma. The DP is an academically challenging and balanced program of international education with final examinations that prepares students, aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond. It has been designed to address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students, and has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.
The DP prepares students for effective participation in a rapidly evolving and increasingly global society as they:
- Develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically.
- Acquire breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding, studying courses from six subject groups.
- Develop the skills and a positive attitude toward learning that will prepare them for higher education.
- Study at least two languages and increase understanding of cultures, including their own.
- Make connections across traditional academic disciplines and explore the nature of knowledge through the program’s unique theory of knowledge course.
- Undertake in-depth research into an area of interest through the lens of one or more academic disciplines in the extended essay.
- Enhance their personal and interpersonal development through creativity, action and service.
The IB Diploma has proved to be of great value to all students matriculating to university and those going to college in the United States can usually receive college course credit and/or advanced placement for a score of 4 or better in a higher level subject. Taking the IBDP is a challenging experience. However, it is well within the reach of students who are motivated and willing to work steadily over the two-year period.
Subject Groups and Course Offerings
All candidates must take six subjects, three at higher level and three at standard level. One subject must be chosen from each of the first five groups. The sixth subject can be from group 6 or a second subject from groups 2, 3, or 4 can be chosen. The courses shown in the table below are offered at both HL and SL unless otherwise stated. Ab Initio language courses are for those beginning study of a new language. Please note that course offerings are subject to maximum and minimum enrollment and we may alter the courses available depending on demand and capacity.
* Students must take English in group 1 to meet YIS graduation requirements. Should students wish to take two group 1 courses, Japanese and German Language and Literature are on offer, and a bilingual diploma will be awarded. In addition, to encourage mother-tongue languages, it is possible for students to study their mother tongue language as a school-supported self-taught subject (SL only). In such cases, two group 1 subjects would be studied and a bilingual diploma will be awarded. For more information, please contact the high school vice principal.
**Environmental Systems and Societies is an interdisciplinary subject that covers the requirements of both groups 3 and 4. Taking Environmental Systems and Societies allows students to take two subjects from any of groups 2, 3, 4, or 6 should they wish.
Requirements for the IB Diploma
Each examined subject is assessed on a scale of 1 (minimum) to 7 (maximum). The award of the IB Diploma requires a minimum total of 24 points and the satisfactory completion of three additional requirements: the Extended Essay (EE) of some 4,000 words, which provides the valuable experience of completing an independent research paper; a course titled Theory of Knowledge (TOK), which explores the relationships among the various disciplines and ensures that students engage in critical reflection and analysis of the knowledge acquired within and beyond the classroom; and the compulsory CAS program , an extra-curricular creative, active and social service program. Bonus points are added for the EE and TOK requirements if both are completed satisfactorily. The highest possible total score is 45 points.