Abby Rutherford (2092911) and Justin Tronerud says:

As future teachers within the middle and secondary school sector, we can expect to be exposed to different schooling systems with their own perspective on the curriculum and how it should be taught. Two of the most widely used and acknowledged systems are the Australian Curriculum and the International Baccalaureate, both of which are integrated within numerous Australian schools.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an international educational organisation that operates 3,626 schools in 145 countries who offer four programs to over 1,117,000 students aged 3 to 19 years. The IB program is a internationally recognised by many Governments and universities around the world, with some universities offering admission to undergraduate courses based on successful completion of their Diploma program. The IB consists of four different programs:

The Primary Years Program: for students aged 3 to 12 focuses on the development of the whole child in the classroom and in the world outside.

The Middle Years Program: for students aged 11 to 16 provides a framework of academic challenge and life skills, achieved through embracing and transcending traditional school subjects.

The Diploma Program: for students aged 16 to 19 is a demanding two-year curriculum leading to final examinations and a qualification that is welcomed by leading universities around the world.

The Career-related Certificate (IBCC): for students aged 16 to 19 is the newest offering from the IB. The IBCC incorporates the vision and educational principles of the IB Programmes into a unique offering specifically designed for students who wish to engage in career-related learning.

However, as middle school teachers you may be exposed to the IB Middle Years Program for students in years 6-9. The IB is an internationally recognised program that encourages all students to adapt a multicultural mindset and focus on individual differences in a positive light. The IB’s main focus is on the education of the whole person and asks teachers to help students develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills that they will require in order to be an active and positive member of society. The IB program outlines an IB profile of the qualities a student completing the IB should be demonstrating both within the classroom and into the wider community. These 9 dispositions include:
  • Inquirers: Allow the students to develop their own natural curiosity in order to develop independence and a love for learning
  • Knowledgeable: Students should be interested in ideas and concepts which consider both a global and local perspective
  • Communicators: Students partaking in the IB are required to learn a second language as well as use their literacy skills to communicate effectively through a variety of mediums
  • Principled: Students of the IB will develop a strong sense of fairness and justice for all members of their school and the wider community
  • Open-minded: Students are able to appreciate the practices of their own cultural backgrounds whilst at the same time value the opportunity to be exposed to other races and cultures
  • Caring: Students will partake in an aspect of service learning in order to demonstrate the difference a small contribution can make on a more global scale
  • Risk-takers: The students are open to the possibility of exploring new concepts and ideas
  • Balanced: IB students will be aware of the interaction between their intellectual, physical and emotional wellbeing which together promote a balanced lifestyle
  • Reflective: Students will effectively be able to identify and discuss their strengths and weaknesses of their own academic abilities

These essential components of the IB and a more detailed report can be found by using this reference: International Baccalaureate Organisation, 2005, ‘The International Baccalaureate, viewed 16 March 2013, <>
The website is useful for its broad overview of the IB as well as a breakdown of the different subject areas and what is expected from both the teachers and students. The website also contains several video links which discuss the IB in a more visual manner which may be useful for future presentations or for those individuals who describe themselves as visual learners. In addition, for those future or current teachers who are interested in the location of schools throughout Australia which integrate the International Baccalaureate, the reference listed above is a useful resource.
myp curricular framework
myp curricular framework
The IB Middle Year Curriculum aligns closely with the Australian Curriculum with a couple of exceptions. As you can see from the diagram on the right the IB program still offers Humanities, as opposed to the Australian Curriculum which has History and Geography and the IB program appears to be missing English. Instead the IB offers Language A and Language B, Language A being your first language and Language B a second language you are learning at school. For the majority of our students Language A will be English, however, due to the multicultural diversity of Australia and the fact the IB is an international program, many students could be completing English as their second language or Language B
Language is the basic tool of communication in the sense of enabling a student to understand and be understood, and to establish their own identity. Language is also the avenue by which one gains access to literature and thereby to the cultural treasury of civilization. Language A courses therefore include the study of:
  • the instrumental function of a language where listening, viewing, speaking, reading and writing skills are emphasized
  • literature, which encompasses a variety of periods and genres.
When assessing Language A the IB assesses across two areas: subject specific criteria and the Areas of Interaction.
The areas of interaction include

Similar to the Australian Curriculum these criteria and Areas of Interaction do not have to be assessed at the same time, but as a .teacher you have to ensure all areas have been assessed over the whole year. Below is an example of a task sheet which used Language A Criteria and Areas of Interaction:


In comparison, the Australian Curriculum is broken down into two components described as Foundation to Year 10 and Secondary schooling, both of which aim to meet the requirements of the general capabilities framework. This framework outlines seven general capabilities which connect with curriculum content across all subject areas to build a student’s knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that are essential for living in the 21st century. Whilst the International Baccalaureate appears to be more focused on the personal attributes a student develops, the Australian Curriculum favours a mixture of both academic and personal attributes essential for student success. We see evidence of this when comparing the dispositions of the IB learner profile and the seven general capabilities of the Australian Curriculum which are listed below:
  • Literacy: students need to develop skills to become literate individuals both within and outside the schooling community and should be able to communicate through a variety of mediums.
  • Numeracy: students need to develop an understanding of how they can use mathematics in a critical and purposeful manner in a more broader context outside the school curriculum
  • Information and Communication technology: This capability asks that students develop an understanding of the technology devices which they encounter in everyday life and use these skills to adapt to an ever advancing world
  • Critical and creative thinking: This capability encompasses all areas of the curriculum and also considers situations outside the school environment as it requires students to develop analytical and problem solving skills for a variety of situations
  • Personal and social capability: Students are asked to develop positive relationships with both peers and teachers and to use these skills to work collaboratively and foster potential leadership skills
  • Ethical understanding: This capability asks students to consider how their views and opinions can influence others and foster future decision making processes
  • Intercultural understanding: Students are aware of their own cultural background and are accepting of the diversity that exists within the broader community
Together these capabilities strive to create a successful learner who uses their knowledge and critical thinking abilities to become an active and informed citizen. In a similar manner to the criteria of the International Baccalaureate, the Australian Curriculum seeks to help students connect with scenarios relevant to both the school community and the broader social community as well as assist them to develop their own personal identity and wellbeing as an informed citizen.
For additional information on the Australian Curriculum and the seven general capabilities which it encompasses, the reference below is highly recommended.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, year unknown, The Australian Curriculum, viewed 17 March 2013, <>
The website is highly useful because it discusses the Australian Curriculum in depth and breaks down the components of Foundation to Year 10 and the Secondary School curriculum into various subject areas. By viewing each of the subject areas individually you can observe unit descriptions, learning outcomes and content descriptions, a highly valuable source for future teachers to gain insight and perspective.