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CURRICULUM WITH LASTING IMPACT: HOW WE TURNED TROUBLE INTO A TIMELY LEARNING OPPORTUNITY

O. Shearman1, R. Harrison1, J. Brooks2

1International Baccalaureate (NETHERLANDS)
2Stony Brook University (UNITED STATES)
The behind-the-scenes work of an academic collaboration established to renew curriculum has set the stage for innovation and deeper learning -- in this case among STEM subjects situated in an international education program serving more than 1,400 schools. Faced with resource limitations, staffing challenges, and traditional discipline-based teaching norms, the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme created a short-term contract partnership to strengthen learning and teaching across its network. We purposefully created a triadic, mostly distance-based, outcome-oriented ‘apprenticeship in thinking’ driven by constructivist principles.

This approach was productively disruptive, cost-effective and rewarding—for its key participants (aspirational educator, established scholar, and senior organizational leader) and the learning communities whose needs they addressed. Based on teacher response, we find that the resources developed during our project are well-placed to meet the needs of teachers moving from discipline-based learning towards more constructivist STEM inquiry. In the end, this work provided benefits to everyone concerned – certainly to the three-person team of educators, and more importantly, to the schools and students they served.