IB Anthropology

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copyright Guiseppe Moscato

What is the International Baccalauréate Diploma?

The IB Diploma is a two year pre-university programme for students aged 16 to 19. Schools offering the IB diploma follow a curriculum based on a holistic approach to education, incorporating languages, arts, science, maths, and social sciences. The IB diploma can be taken in English, French and Spanish, and leads to an internationally recognised qualification that is accepted by universities in over 100 countries. Since 2008, for students in Britain, the IB diploma has counted towards UCAS tariff points for entry to higher education. There are currently over 196 schools offering the IB Diploma in the UK.

For more information about the IB Diploma visit: http://www.ibo.org/

For more information about Social and Cultural Anthropology within the IB Diploma visit: http://www.ibo.org/en/programmes/diploma-programme/curriculum/individuals-and-societies/social-and-cultural-anthropology/ 

Social and Cultural Anthropology as a subject within the IB Diploma

A core part of the curriculum for the IB diploma is entitled Individuals and Societies, incorporating social sciences. Within this section, schools can offer history, geography, psychology or social anthropology. The aims of the social anthropology course in the IB programme are to enable students to:

• explore principles of social and cultural life and characteristics of societies and cultures
• develop an awareness of historical, scientific and social contexts within which social and cultural anthropology has developed
• develop in the student a capacity to recognise preconceptions and assumptions of their own social and cultural environments
• develop an awareness of relationships between local, regional, and global processes and issues.

This above information is taken from the IB Social and Cultural Anthropology Guide. For an outline of the syllabus and assessment objectives, take a look at the complete guide here.

Several colleges in the UK offering anthropology as part of their IB Diploma:

Bexley Grammar school

Dane Court Grammar School

Hockerill Anglo-European College

The Malling School

Parkside Sixth

UWC Atlantic college

Truro and Penwith College

How to bring anthropology into your school’s IB programme:

The possibility of introducing a new subject into a school’s curriculum is dependent on numerous variables and constraints including: budget factors, training of teachers, student numbers, and the orientation of senior management. 

Teachers who want their school to offer anthropology might face challenges such as:

  • colleagues and managers who may have misconceptions or misunderstandings of what anthropology is;
  •  not enough students who are willing to enrol in the subject;
  • teachers feeling that they do not  have enough background and knowledge to teach the subject;
  • lack of support from senior staff;
  • fears that inclusion of anthropology within the ‘Individuals and Societies’ section of the Diploma will take students away from other subjects.

Here are some possible solutions:

Interesting staff and students in the subject:

  • Encourage staff and students to attend the free London Anthropology Day
  • Ask the RAI’s Education and Communications Officer for free marketing materials to stimulate students’ interest in the subject
  • Join our JISC MAIL e-network which connects teachers, anthropologists and HE departments teaching anthropology across the UK.
  • Encourage students to participate in free anthropological activities listed through the RAI’s events page
  • Contact Emma Ford to put you in touch with teachers teaching IB Anthropology

Convincing senior management/staff:

  • Write a new course approval form –see the following example for introducing an Anthropology A-level
  • Refer colleagues to this website and to other schools which have agreed to offer anthropology
  • Persuade other colleagues who are interested in anthropology to support your effort

Finding Resources

The RAI’s Education Outreach Programme is currently working in collaboration with IB anthropology teachers on providing recommended ethnographies and films relevant to the IB curriculum. We are continually adding new material to our Teachers Resources section. If you have any teaching/learning resources you think would be useful to add to our list, please email the RAI’s Education and Communications Officer at education@therai.org.uk 

Joining the RAI’s teachers’ network

The RAI has formed a teachers’ network which encourages teachers currently teaching anthropology, or those interested in teaching it in the future, to share ideas, concerns and lesson plans. If you are interested in joining the teachers’ network please get in touch with the RAI’s Education and Communications Officer at education@therai.org.uk