Last week, I had the pleasure of working with 25 International Baccalaureate (IB) teachers at a local high school in District Heights, MD. Their enthusiasm for our materials was contagious and it’s no surprise why. International Baccalaureate programs strive to “develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.” With our focus on global citizenship and critical thinking, Population Education materials are a perfect fit for IB programming.
In working with this particular group of IB teachers, most of whom taught science and social studies, I chose activities that would highlight global issues through hands-on simulations. And while the workshop ran only one hour, we were still able to model several classroom activities and explore connections between Population Education resources and the unique needs of their IB program.
Using the lesson, For the Common Good, the teachers experienced what it is like to compete for limited resources in a commons. They quickly drew parallels with resource competition between nations in the real-world. It was concluded that students would have difficulty enforcing a group resource-management plan, much like the challenges faced by present-day fishing and forestry operations. Our discussion about inequitable resource use was well-suited as an introduction to the next lesson, Food for Thought. With its emphasis on global statistics and push/pull factors of migration, this simulation was a big hit. Several teachers commented that they currently teach these topics using textbooks. They were eager to bring Food for Thought back to their classrooms so that students could engage with the numbers in a hands-on way.
We are glad to be able to serve as a go-to resource for IB teachers, both through our professional development workshops and online materials, and look forward to working with more IB schools in the near future.