Observing Classroom Instruction in Schools Implementing the International Baccalaureate Programme

  • Beverly L. Alford University of Mississippi
  • Kayla Braziel Rollins Texas A&M University
  • Jacqueline R. Stillisano Texas A&M University
  • Hersh C. Waxman Texas A&M University
Keywords: international baccalaureate, IB, systematic classroom observation, student behavior, instructional practice

Abstract

The International Baccalaureate (IB) programme utilizes an inquiry-based multi-disciplinary approach and focuses on the teaching of critical-thinking skills. The IB programme is growing at a rapid rate within the United States, with the overall number of IB schools having more than doubled in the last five years. The purpose of the present study was two-fold: (a) to specifically focus on classroom instruction and students’ behavior within Texas IB schools, and (b) to highlight the importance of systematic classroom observation as an evaluative method; in particular, the simultaneous use of three observation instruments to illustrate the importance of examining instruction from multiple perspectives. Systematic observations of 85 classrooms from eight Texas IB schools revealed that instruction in most of the schools was active, with teachers often engaging students, exploring new skills and key concepts, explaining, elaborating, and evaluating. Overall, the general instructional practices and student behaviors/activities observed were favorable and were higher than those found in similar classrooms in Texas schools. The amount of time that students were observed as being on-task was dramatically higher than the amount of student on-task time measured in other observational studies.

Author Biographies

Beverly L. Alford, University of Mississippi

Beverly L. Alford, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at The University of Mississippi. Her research interests focus on student engagement, the impact of play in learning, and systematic classroom observation.

Kayla Braziel Rollins, Texas A&M University

Kayla Braziel Rollins, Ph.D. is an Assistant Research Scientist at the Education Research Center at Texas A&M University. Her research interests focus on early childhood education, systematic classroom observation, and the use of technology in schools.

Jacqueline R. Stillisano, Texas A&M University

Jacqueline R. Stillisano, Ed.D. is Co-Director of the Education Research Center at Texas A&M University. Her research interests focus on adult learning, including online teaching and learning and effective professional development for teachers. 

Hersh C. Waxman, Texas A&M University

Hersh C. Waxman, Ph.D. is Director of the Education Research Center at Texas A&M University and Professor in the Department of Teaching, Leaning, and Culture at Texas A&M University. His areas of research include: urban education, improving the education of students placed at risk of failure, and educational resilience.

Published
2013-08-15
How to Cite
Alford, B. L., Rollins, K. B., Stillisano, J. R., & Waxman, H. C. (2013). Observing Classroom Instruction in Schools Implementing the International Baccalaureate Programme. Current Issues in Education, 16(2). Retrieved from https://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/view/1161
Section
Articles