spice-2

Gifted Education and the International Baccalaureate at Mackintosh Academy

By Stacey Anderson, Head of School, Mackintosh Academy Littleton Campus
Please enjoy this short piece, taken from an article published in the Duke University Digest of Gifted Research in regard to the International Baccalaureate Program.  Although the article references the high school curriculum, I can confidently assure you the same is true for both our Primary Years’ and Middle Years’ Programs.

According to Mary Enda Tookey, former editor of Forum, the resource for “Theory of Knowledge” teachers, the IB program is particularly beneficial and appropriate for gifted secondary students for whom it “creates a school climate and culture that is conducive to . . . continued academic cognitive, motivational, emotional, and social growth.”

Tookey says that the program includes the following strengths:

  • High standards and the “experience . . . of being challenged both academically and affectively with equally bright age-peers”
  • Emphasis on working in a group toward academic goals, as well as on building multicultural understanding and acceptance
  • College-level coursework in major curriculum areas, with “in-depth, sustained exploration that can awaken lifelong interest in a field”
  • Teamwork, not just to cultivate social interaction but to complete a multifaceted, complex task
  • Curriculum that is interesting because it is relevant and useful
  • An international emphasis that “opens up the walls of the school to different traditions. The school’s and the student’s own culture are acknowledged and explored, but at the same time the student learns another language and looks at other cultures and their contributions”
  • A community service component that gives students “a heightened sense of personal and social responsibility and self-esteem”
  • Appropriate feedback that helps students “value what they have accomplished as well as set goals for further development”
  • Options for students to demonstrate their ability and achievement through opportunities “outside the school community (competitions, publications, etc.)”
  • An atmosphere that encourages thoughtful, penetrating questions and rewards hard work