18 June 2018

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

"Being forced to learn French or Spanish in school might seem like a chore, but according to a new study, you might want to thank your teachers for the brain boost."

Eileen Shim

The IBO's Mission Statement foregrounds its commitment to creating global citizens who are internationally minded and, therefore, insists on students learning a language other than Mother Tongue as a part of its broad-based education in its three programmes: the PYP, MYP and Diploma Programme.

What are the merits of such an education?

There are the obvious: more job opportunities and improved cultural sensitivity in today's global economy. As General Peter Cosgrove observed, "Language skills and cultural sensitivity will be the new currency of this world order."

However, researchers have discovered that there are significant intellectual benefits as well. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University have published a study supporting the thesis that learning a second language "strengthens the brain". Scientists have discovered that learning new languages slows cognitive decline, improves the ability to focus and promotes faster executive functioning.

To read more about this research, read the article by Eileen Shim: https://agenda.weforum.org/2014/11/how-learning-a-language-improves-your-brain/

A second article by Larry Taylor is also worth reading about language acquisition and brain function: https://agenda.weforum.org/2015/02/how-the-language-you-speak-changes-your-brain/

The IB Diploma Programme was first implemented in 1968 and has grown rapidly throughout the world: there are now 4000 schools worldwide delivering IB programmes to more than one million students. It is a programme continually informed by respected, independent researchers and continues to evolve to provide students with an education that develops the whole person and prepares them to be life-long learners. Diploma students are better prepared to manage demanding workloads and satisfy international standards of academic excellence and also benefit from a course of study that is shaped by on-going, objective research.

Mr Michael Scaife

IB Diploma Coordinator