UBC Graduate Research

You get what you give: creative professionalism and leadership in IB international schools DeAbreu, Robert J.


The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) offers three challenging educational programs to a worldwide community of international schools: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), and the Diploma Programme (DP). The development of this program structure has never been specifically tied to or derived from an explicit set of educational standards (Conley & Ward, 2009). Moreover, the IBO adheres to a policy of “creative professionalism,” which guides them to seek experienced educators to be part of the process of program development. To start teaching International Baccalaureate (IB) programs, an educator simply attends a training workshop. After some time teaching IB courses, experienced IB educators, with training from IBO staff, are encouraged to apply to lead teacher training workshops, to mark exams, to assess externally moderated coursework, and to be members of program review committees and school evaluation visits (IBO, 2012b). The opportunities offered by the IBO as part of their “creative professionalism” policy can act as a catalyst to drive schools and teachers to enact instructional and collaborative leadership – that is, if they endeavor to continuously engage in dealing with challenges posed by the IBO’s programs. The purpose of this paper is to explore how this key IBO policy encourages forms of teacher leadership in international schools that offer IB programs.

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