Introduction to the IB Programmes

If you have any feedback, corrections, or suggestions for additions to this resource, please contact us at director@mnibschools.org.

Thank you in advance.

For new IB teachers and staff members:

This resource has been developed with those newly hired into an IB World School in mind.

If you have little or no experience with the IB Programme(s) featured in your new school, please take some time to use these materials to begin your learning journey.

These are meant to be an introduction. There will be many more opportunities to dig deeper and to immerse yourself in these best practices.

Your teaching colleagues and your IB Coordinator will be very useful as you move forward. You may also be invited to participate in MNIB roundtables and workshops in the coming school year. Take advantage of each opportunity!

How we recommend you use this resource:

Start by creating a reflection journal (you may download a PYP, MYP, DP, or CP version) with your questions and thoughts as you begin learning about the IB. Keep it available as you study the resources here. When you have a question that is not answered, be sure to write it down. If something seems puzzling, be sure to include that as well. When you have a breakthrough, express it as a new understanding to be revisited when you learn more.

This page includes the overall information common to all four IB Programmes. It introduces you to the IB mission, the Learner Profile, the concept of “International-mindedness”, and the common Approaches to Teaching and Learning. Please begin here before going on to the Programme(s) in your school. By starting with the mission, you will better understand the context of each educational choice within the IB. We recommend you find the mission statement of your school and compare it to the IB mission. Note the commonalities and include them in your reflection journal.

Once you have looked at the general resources on this page, go to the bottom and find the Programme(s) featured in your school. Elementary schools will have the PYP, while schools with older children will have the MYP, DP, CP, or a combination of these. Link out to the Programme you will be working with and continue your learning journey. Your reflection journal will continue to be useful as you move to these more specific resources.

The most important colleague to help begin this learning in your new school is the IB Coordinator. If you haven't met them already, find out who they are and send an introductory email to let them know you are looking to learn more about IB teaching and learning. Ask for their recommendations for further resources. Share your reflection journal with them. You should also ask for your "MyIB" login. It's your personal portal to the official IB teacher support materials.

Introduction to the International Baccalaureate (IB) system of education.

All four IB Programmes operate under the single educational philosophy guided by the IB Mission. If you are new to the IB, or want to better understand how IB improves education for students in over 150 countries and 5000 schools, begin here.

Please watch "What is an IB education":

There is also a document called "What is an IB education"

You can read it here.


After watching the video, record in your reflection journal what makes the IB different (or the same) compared to what you have learned or done previously. Have you noticed the common themes found in all IB Programmes in the center of the logo above?

The IB features a continuum of education for students from 3 to 19 years of age.

The IB Mission (below) guides all teaching and learning within the four Programmes.

The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.

These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

In your reflection journal, record which aspects of the IB mission stand out to you. Is there a line or phrase that you particularly agree with or something that makes you wonder? Is there agreement with the mission of your new school?

What is the IB learner profile?

"The International Baccalaureate® (IB) learner profile describes a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success.

"They imply a commitment to help all members of the school community learn to respect themselves, others and the world around them.

"Each of the IB's programmes is committed to the development of students according to the IB learner profile."

From IBO.org's page: The IB learner profile

What is international-mindedness?

"International-mindedness is central to the IB mission and is a foundational principle to its educational philosophy; it is at the heart of the continuum of international education.

"International-mindedness is a view of the world in which people see themselves connected to the global community and assume a sense of responsibility towards its members. It is an awareness of the interrelatedness of all nations and peoples, and is a recognition of the complexity of these. Internationally minded people appreciate and value the diversity of peoples, cultures and societies in the world. They make efforts to learn more about others and to develop empathy and solidarity towards them to achieve mutual understanding and respect (Oxfam 2105; UNESCO 2015).

"Primary Years Programme (PYP) learners and their learning communities have a range of perspectives, values and traditions. The concept of international-mindedness builds on these diverse perspectives to generate a sense of common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet."

From PYP: From principles into practice > The learning community > International-mindedness

What's the connection between the IB learner profile and international-mindedness?

"The development and demonstration of the learner profile attributes are foundational to students becoming internationally minded, active and caring community members who respect themselves, others and the world around them."

From PYP: From principles into practice > The learner > Learner profile

After looking at the Learner profile attributes, record in your reflection journal, which attributes are your strengths and which you might have some room for improvement. Based on what you have read so far, how are you internationally-minded? If you have questions be sure to reach out to your IB coordinator. They love talking about IB with new colleagues. Really!!!

Approaches to teaching and learning

ATT Slide for website

Approaches to teaching

The same six approaches underpin teaching in all IB programmes. The approaches are deliberately broad, designed to give teachers the flexibility to choose specific strategies to employ that best reflect their own particular contexts and the needs of their students.

ATL Slide for website

Approaches to learning

Our focus on approaches to learning (ATL) is grounded in the belief that learning how to learn is fundamental to a student’s education. The five categories of interrelated skills aim to empower IB students of all ages to become self-regulated learners who know how to ask good questions, set effective goals, pursue their aspirations and have the determination to achieve them. These skills also help to support students’ sense of agency, encouraging them to see their learning as an active and dynamic process.

The development of these ATL skills plays a crucial role in supporting the IB’s mission to develop active, compassionate and lifelong learners. Although these skills areas are presented as distinct categories, there are close links and areas of overlap between them, and these categories should be seen as interrelated.

In your reflection journal: From what you have seen so far, what aspects of IB teaching do you feel most comfortable with? Which approaches to teaching methods do you want to learn more about?

The ATL skills are specifically taught within each programme as part of teaching units. Pick one and relate how you have taught it in the past.

Use the links below to learn the basics of each IB Programme.