The IB advantage

by Karen Lile, Head of Academics

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is now offered in over 5,000 schools and in 157 countries around the world. The IB offers students a unique education which encourages independent thinking, provides pathways to the highest-ranked universities, allows for them to become culturally aware through language learning, and allows for engagement with people in an increasingly globalized, rapidly changing world. (IBO, 2019).

There is no doubt that this gold standard curriculum, with its high academic rigor, provides the students at Branksome Hall Asia an opportunity that is quite unique in South Korea. In fact, with only 13 IB schools in South Korea, we are proud to be the only IB continuum (PYP, MYP, and DP) school on Jeju Island, and the only all girls IB continuum school in Asia.  We have an impressive 96% pass rate, which compares favorably with the world average of 77%. On top of this, all students take the full IB Diploma which is a credit to the incredible commitment shown by both the teachers and students at BHA. These results are also reflected in the girls’ university pathways, as 95% of our students are admitted to the top 100 universities and programs around the world.

There are a number of elements to the curriculum that lead our students to these fabulous achievements. CASE activities are one example of a balanced program that does not just focus on academic achievement. Instead, CASE showcases students’ creativity, activity, and service to the community, along with enrichment activities as extra-curricular activities. The approaches to teaching and learning in the IB focus on empowering students to be life-long learners through the use of the Learner Profile attributes. Right from when your child enters the junior school, they are taught to be knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective through active learning and an inquiry-based approach.

Students learn self-management skills such as time management which helps them to develop good study habits by setting aside time for assignments and revision. This learning sets them up well for the challenges they face in the future such as at university.

One feature of the IB that really stands out is that it encourages problem-solving and critical thinking. The development of these thinking skills provides the perfect venue through which we can enact our own school mission which is to inspire and empower students to engage in real-world problems so they can make a difference as global citizens to make the world a better place. One avenue BHA utilizes to achieve this goal is found in our signature programs which include the development of interdisciplinary units (IDU’s) that will be implemented in Grades 6-10.

An interdisciplinary unit is developed referencing two or more disciplines (subject areas) which are combined to approach a problem where students are collaboratively challenged to either solve a problem, explain a phenomenon, create a product or raise a new question that would have been unlikely to be achieved through investigation of one discipline. They are incredible opportunities for students to collaboratively engage in critical thinking about a number of issues. 

Through an IB education at BHA, students are able to find their real passion and interests. The identification of their interests and passions ensures success in their chosen university pathway, happiness in their future careers and creates inspiring, global citizens.

Look out for future editions of ‘The Week’ where we will be showcasing the upcoming IDUs.



Photo by Faye Yang