New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

The Significance of Inquiry-based Learning of IB programme from the Perspective of Active Learning

Tomomi Samejima, Tokyo Gakugei University International Secondary School (Japan)

Kenichi Goto, Toyo University (Japan)

Yorikazu Nouchi, National Institute for Educational Policy Research (Japan)

Hiroshi Iida, Tenryu High School (Japan)

Sachiko Tosa, Niigata University (Japan)


International Baccalaureate (IB) educational programmes are known to emphasize a range of pedagogical aspects. This includes elements such as conceptual understanding, contextualized teaching and learning, and its approaches to learning (ATL). It is also known to implement inquiry-based learning by establishing a statement of inquiry that integrates concepts and contexts in each unit design [1]. From the perspective of active learning strategies, this research analyzes science lessons by quantitatively analyzing unit designs, and classes for inquiry-based learning through IB methods. We quantified the effectiveness of the lessons using the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) [2], which is widely used in science and mathematics educational research in the United States of America. This tool measures the extent to which learner-centered, collaborative lessons are developed to promote deep conceptual understanding. 5 categories (class design and practice, subject content, instructional techniques, relationships between learners, relationships between learners and instructors), are analyzed using RTOP’s 5-point scale. In Japan, many high schools lessons are still considered to have passive approaches to learning, and – despite the growing existence of schools that are trying to better design inquiry-based lessons –they often remain to be teacher-led. Therefore, we designed three types of lessons: passive lessons, teacher-led inquiry-based lessons, and (as is considered ideal in IB education) student-led lessons. Basing our evaluation around active learning strategies, we implemented these three lesson-types in the same unit and compared them using the RTOP indicator. The differences between the three classes were not only identified by RTOP scores, but also by students' level of understanding. Based on our analysis we propose plans for improving classes, while also discussing similarities and differences in the design of IB and RTOP lessons. Results from this study support the idea that emphasis on conceptual understanding, contextualized instruction, along with teachers playing greater roles as facilitators, are key elements to help students better realize independent learning.

Keywords: IB, RTOP, Active learning, Lesson study

  • International Baccalaureate Organization, Middle Years Programme MYP: From principles into practice, Published May 2014 Updated September 2014, September 2017, April 2021
  • Daiyo Sawada et al, Measuring Reform Practices in Science and Mathematics Classrooms: The Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol, School Science and Mathematics 102(6):245 – 253, October 2002

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