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Grades 11-12

Curriculum


The curriculum of the 11th Grade and 12th Grade at VIS is a two year course in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. However, we offer variations of this curriculum:


  1. IB Diploma Programme
  2. IB Courses
  3. VIS High School Certificate



DP Coordinator
Ms. Teresa Foard



IB Diploma Programme

The programme of studies for the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a two year sequence for students in their final two years of secondary school. It is a challenging programme for students with different abilities and aptitudes who come from varying educational backgrounds and who have differing educational and occupational ambitions. The IB Diploma Programme allows for breadth and depth in academic subjects.

  • Breadth: students must study a literature course, a second language, a science and social science/humanities subject and mathematics.
  • Depth: students take 3 courses at Higher Level, providing them with a sophisticated grasp of the skills and knowledge of three disciplines.
  • The IB Diploma Programme is not just academic: all students must also engage in creative, action and service activities.
  • It provides students with essential skills for life.

Details of the IB Diploma Programme

  • Each student takes six main courses, one from each subject group.
  • Three of these courses are taken at Higher Level and three at Standard Level
  • All students take the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course, where they have a chance to reflect on the knowledge they are gaining, and investigate how knowledge is gained and the implications of the knowledge.
  • Students all do Creativity, Action, Service (CAS), where they are engaged in long term activities participating in the communities and learning about themselves and others.
  • Each student writes an Extended Essay on a research question of their own choice, working independently

IB Diploma Courses

During the programme, some students may decide to pursue IBDP Courses rather than the full diploma after discussion with the IBDP Coordinator and parents/guardians.

A suitable programme will be arranged and at the end of the two year course, IB Course students will take the final IBDP exams in appropriate subjects. They will receive an official document of results from the IB certifying the grades they earned in those subjects.


Arts

Theatre
(Standard and Higher Level)

Students experience the course from contrasting artistic perspectives. They learn to apply research and theory to inform and to contextualize their work. The theatre course encourages students to appreciate that through the processes of researching, creating, preparing, presenting and critically reflecting on theatre—as participants and audience members—they gain a richer understanding of themselves, their community and the world.

Theatre at VIS

Music
(Standard and Higher Level)

In IBDP Music students are encouraged to engage with music that is familiar and unfamiliar to them, from a range of times, places and cultures. During their study of the various parts of the course students will be supported into developing their understanding of music as a whole. Students will need substantially more guidance on the content of the course during the early stages. However, throughout the teaching of the course they will be encouraged to develop critical thinking and participate in inquiry-based learning. Students should work both individually and collaboratively, working towards informed engagement.

Visual Arts
(Standard and Higher Level)

Learning about visual art relies on action and the course is experienced practically. Communication is essential to the visual arts and students should experience and reflect on the processes of communicating their work, and the benefits and challenges of doing so. Organisation, self management and independent study skills are important, as well as higher order thinking skills, such as analysis and synthesis. Students will also learn to make decisions about what is relevant and useful for their own investigations and how to put their knowledge and understanding into practice, transforming ideas into action.

Maths

Mathematical Studies
(Standard Level Only)

Mathematical Studies caters for students with varied backgrounds and abilities in mathematics. Mathematical Studies is designed to build confidence and encourage an appreciation of mathematics in students who do not necessarily need mathematics in their future studies. It is also designed to provide a realistic mathematics course that develops the skills needed to cope with mathematical demands of a technological society and to apply mathematics to real life situations.

Mathematics
(Standard and Higher Level)

Higher Level Mathematics caters for students who have very good background knowledge of mathematics and who have good analytical and technical skills. It will give students a strong knowledge of mathematical concepts and will be useful for students wishing to pursue higher mathematics, physics, engineering or technology. It is recommended for students who have a high degree of interest in the subject. Standard Level Mathematics requires a strong understanding of mathematical concepts and processes.

The Core

Creativity, Action and Service - CAS

CAS stands for creativity, action and service and requires participating students to spend significant amounts of time in each of the three areas over an eighteen month period. Participation and completion of the CAS requirements is a prerequisite for completion of both the International Baccalaureate Diploma and the VIS Diploma.

CAS is experiential learning designed to provide real, challenging, achievable tasks that must be given thoughtful planning, reporting and reflection.

The activities should be appropriately adapted to the students’ circumstances, and take into account aptitudes and preferences. The experiences should reward and enrich all involved and when well carried out, CAS should build self-esteem, self-confidence, autonomy and self-reliance.

Description of the Three Areas of CAS:

Creativity

This aspect of CAS may be interpreted imaginatively to cover a wide range of arts and other activities outside the normal curriculum. The activity should include creative thinking in design and execution.

Action

This aspect of CAS requires action contributing to a healthy lifestyle. Students should be encouraged to participate in group and team activities, but an individual commitment is acceptable where the general requirements of CAS have been met; that is, goals are set and reflection occurs.

    Service

    This category involves actions on the part of the student that benefit others and improve their existing situation. The identification of needs, toward which a service activity will be directed, has to involve prior communication and full consultation with the community or individual concerned.

    Extended Essay

    The Extended Essay provides students with an opportunity to engage in research of a question of their choice, within a chosen subject. The extended essay is an independent, self-directed research project culminating in an essay of 4000 words. It provides practical preparation for the kinds of undergraduate and postgraduate research required at university level.

    Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

    The TOK course encourages critical thinking about knowledge itself, to try to help young people make sense of what they encounter. Students will develop an awareness of how knowledge is constructed, critically examined, evaluated and renewed. They will be encouraged to reflect on their experiences as learners and to make connections between academic disciplines and between thoughts, feelings and actions. They will be asked to examine their own personal, ideological and cultural assumptions. The ethical responsibilities associated with knowledge will be considered and students will be encouraged to recognize the need to act responsibly in an increasingly interconnected world.

    The TOK programme is composed of questions, the most central of these questions are:

    • How do we acquire knowledge?
    • How do we use that knowledge?
    • How can we be certain that what we know is true?

    Through the critical examination of knowledge students will develop an appreciation for the quest for knowledge, in particular its importance, its complexities, and its human implications. TOK encourages students to gain and apply their own knowledge with greater awareness and responsibility

    Science

    Biology
    (Standard and Higher Level)

    Through the study of biology students should become aware of how biologists work and communicate with one another. In this course there is an emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work. In this context all biology students should be able to develop their experimental and scientific investigative skills, develop their ability to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize biological information, and to apply and use the body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize working biologists.

    Biology Lab VIS

    Chemistry
    (Standard and Higher Level)

    Chemistry is an experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills. It is called the central science, as chemical principles underpin both the physical environment in which we live and all biological systems. Apart from being a subject worthy of study in its own right, chemistry is a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, such as medicine, biological science and environmental science, and serves as useful for employment.

    It is the intention of the Diploma Programme to enable students to achieve the following objectives:

  • demonstrate an understanding of and apply scientific facts and concepts, the scientific method, manipulative skills, scientific terminology and methods of presenting scientific information.
  • construct, analyze and evaluate the hypotheses, research questions and predictions, scientific methods and explanations.
  • Physics
    (Standard and Higher Level)

    Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences as it seeks to explain the universe itself. At higher (HL) and standard levels (SL), both theory and experiments are undertaken to develop a student’s knowledge and understanding of physics. They are tailored to complement one another naturally, as they do in the wider scientific community. The course allows students to develop traditional skills and techniques and the application of mathematics, which is the language of physics. It also allows students to develop interpersonal skills and information and communication technology skills in group activities which are essential in modern scientific endeavor and are important life-enhancing, transferable skills.

    As the students’ knowledge develops, they will become more aware of how physical principles can be applied to alter the material world to suit their needs. Students are encouraged to discuss the impact of physics on society and on the environment and the moral and ethical dilemmas which may arise. Physics is therefore, above all, a human activity and students become more appreciative of the context in which physicists work. Although the laws of physics are a universal phenomenon, the rich history of physics detailed in the course illustrates that science is an international enterprise recognizing the contributions from many different cultures and nations.

    Sport, Exercise and Health Science
    (Standard Level Only)

    This course incorporates the traditional disciplines of anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, psychology and nutrition, which are studied in the context of sport, exercise and health.

    Language Acquisition

    English B
    (Standard and Higher Level)

    The primary goal of this course is to provide students the opportunities to refine their skills in speaking, understanding native spoken English, reading authentic texts and writing for a variety of purposes. Students may study English B at standard or higher level. This course also enables students to discover and understand different cultures.

    French / Chinese Ab. Initio
    (Standard Level Only)

    This course is intended for students who have no previous or very limited knowledge of French or Chinese. The course will develop students’ interactive, receptive and productive skills through a topic/concept based and communicative approach. Intercultural understanding is at the heart of the ab-initio programme.

    French B
    (Standard and Higher Level)

    The primary goal of this course is to provide students who have previously studied French language the opportunity to refine their skills in speaking, understanding native spoken French, reading authentic texts and writing for a variety of purposes. Students may study French B at standard or higher level. This course also enables students to discover, understand different cultures and help them become aware of the value of studying a second language. The French B program’s aim is to allow students to use their skills in diverse authentic situations of communication.

    Spanish B/Ab. Initio
    (Offered through Pamoja Education Online)

    VIS offers Spanish B and Ab. Initio through Pamoja Education online. Pamoja is fully accredited by the IB. Students are supported in this process with a Site Based Coordinator who is the liaison between Pamoja and VIS. Students have direct contact with their online teacher but a classroom and lesson time is allocated at VIS for students to complete the subject requirements. The subject and assessment structure is identical to a Language B or Ab. Inition taught at VIS. Students complete the external exam in the regular exam time in May of year 2.

    Individuals and Society

    History
    (Standard and Higher Level)

    History is an exploratory subject, which poses questions and provides opportunities for the students to engage in the selection, interpretation and critical evaluation of primary historical sources and the work of historians so that they can understand the past. History is a subject through which students gain an understanding of the world today and of different perspectives and cultures that help develop understanding of the present as well as the past.

    Geography
    (Standard and Higher Level)

    Geography is a dynamic subject that is firmly grounded in the real world and focuses on the interactions between individuals, societies and the physical environment in both time and space. It seeks to identify trends and patterns in these interactions and examines the processes behind them. The Diploma Programme Geography course integrates both physical and human geography.


    Psychology
    (Standard and Higher Level)

    Psychology is the systematic study of behaviour and mental processes. Psychology has its roots in both the natural and social sciences, leading to a variety of research designs and applications, and providing a unique approach to understanding modern society. IB Psychology examines the interaction of biological, cognitive and sociocultural influences on human behaviour, thereby adopting an integrative approach. Understanding how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied enables students to achieve a greater understanding of themselves and appreciate the diversity of human behaviour. The ethical concerns raised by the methodology and application of psychological research are key considerations in IB Psychology.

    Business and Management
    (Standard and Higher Level)

    Business and management is a dynamic discipline situated in the group 3-subject study of individuals and societies. Business and management examines business decision-making processes and their impact on a variety of environments. Through business and management coursework and assessments students will be expected to demonstrate a mastery of essential skills including, but not limited to; knowledge and understanding of business concepts, interpreting data and making business decisions, evaluating business strategies, communicating business ideas, using appropriate business tools and technology, making real and hypothetical business decisions.

    The study of business and management develops understanding of international cooperation and responsible citizenship as well as an appreciation for the ethical concerns and social responsibility in the global business environment. It aims to foster student’s understandings of international perspective of business and to promote cultural diversity through the study of essential topics in business and management. Business and management provides the opportunity for students to develop and understanding of business practices and skills, as well as business theory. Students in business and management will analyze complex business activities while considering the cultural and economic context in which a business operates.

    Through the study of business and management the students will develop as critical thinkers and effective participants in local and global affairs. They will develop a holistic view of the world of business and an awareness of social, cultural and ethical factors in the actions of organizations and individuals in those organizations. Business and management is a rigorous course providing students the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive study of the world of business, develop real-world skill sets, and relevant aspects of global citizenship.

    Language and Literature

    School-Supported Self-taught Language A Literature
    (Standard Level Only)

    The IB encourages students to pursue study in their mother tongue. This means taking their literature course in their mother tongue or first language. The course is offered in more than 40 languages. VIS makes every effort to set up School-Supported Self-Taught Language A courses in the languages our students require. There is emphasis on internationalism and interculturalism in the IB Diploma; however, a student should also pursue knowledge within his/her own culture.

    Each student taking a self-taught course is advised by the Diploma Programme Coordinator, by the Language Coordinator, by an experienced Language A teacher and by a tutor proficient in the language being studied. The student studies 10 works of literature and eight of those are works originally written in the language of the Language A course. The other two are world literature “Works in Translation.”

    Studying at VIS

    English A - Literature, Lao A – Literature, Thai A - Literature
    (Standard and Higher Level).

    In the language A: literature course, focus is directed towards developing an understanding of the techniques involved in literary criticism and promoting the ability to form independent literary judgments.

    English A – Language and Literature
    (Standard and Higher Level).

    The language and literature course is to encourage students to question the meaning generated by language and texts. The language and literature course is to develop skills of textual analysis and the understanding that texts, both literary and non-literary, can be seen as autonomous yet simultaneously related to culturally determined reading practices.

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