カメダ クインシー先生Reflections on becoming a teacher at an IB World School


To say that a good teacher should be aware of the process by which students learn is to add nothing new to pedagogical insight. Indeed, good teachers do not necessarily choose to teach according to this theory or that or are even particularly aware of the influence of contemporary educational thinking on their own practice. Good teachers are those that are constantly developing and re-developing their own approaches to teaching to meet the changing needs of the students in the classroom, and in the process developing a deeper understanding of themselves both as a teacher and a lifelong learner.


The IB Educator Certificate (IBEC) programs places great emphasis on developing teachers as reflective practitioners. Reflecting back on the 5 years teaching the IBEC programs here at Tamagawa University, however, I believe that the IB expects much more from teachers. A reflective practitioner requires that teachers are aware of emerging education theory and practice to supplement and enhance their current teaching practice, however what I believe the type of teachers that the IB is really aiming to nurture are contemplative practitioners. Contemplation involves attention and awareness of the self and its relationship with the present surroundings, and thus contemplative practitioners are those that consider aspects of learning that go deeper than the confines of curriculum requirements and pedagogical approaches. It involves teachers to take time to explore the boundaries of who they are physically and spiritually as a teacher and as a learner.


The IB learner profile and its central role in all of the IB programme curriculum models, is an excellent example of how the IB works to support schools in fostering the necessary learning environment for teachers to become contemplative practitioners. Learning communities is another example and is something that the IB has been placing an increased emphasis on in recent years. This concept of learning communities appears to be gaining recognition in different parts of Japan, albeit very slowly, so for many schools in Japan it still remains a foreign concept. To foster and sustain a community of learners in schools will require the establishment of a learning culture built on trust and respect, and an environment that offers opportunities for meaningful collaboration between all stakeholders of the school. With the continued growth of authorized IB World Schools in Japan, care must be taken particularly for teachers teaching in these schools to ensure that they are provided with sufficient opportunity to grow as learners and model the attributes of the IB learner profile in the process.


Curriculums in IB World Schools therefore need to be learner-centred and learner-focused. Knowledge and conceptual understanding of the different subject disciplines should and will remain important aspects of the school curriculum, however they should not be taught in isolation. The IB offers a skills framework (ATL) to support schools in designing a curriculum that promotes more holistic approaches to learning. These ATL skills, along with the IB learner profile attributes, are designed to help all learners in the school community in developing a more clear and sophisticated understanding of how they learn best and how they can evaluate the effectiveness of their learning.


As an IB practitioner, IB Educator, and lifelong learner, I too will continue to explore the less trodden path and make continued refinements to the IBEC courses offered at Tamagawa University to ensure that the approaches to teaching in the classroom are current, and that the learning experiences are both relevant and meaningful for future teachers who enroll into the program wanting to know what they need to be able to do to be an effective practitioner and member of a thriving learning community in an IB World School.


Quincy Kameda