This blog was written by David M. Smith – Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School

In the previous post we looked at how Bloom’s Taxonomy can be applied to the IB History Course.  Now let’s look at how IB helps with you climb up “Mount Bloom.”  In IB we call this ATL or Approaches to Teaching and Learning.  ATL is based on a set of beliefs, backed by research, as to how students learn and how teachers can best help with this learning.  It is also a good indication of what learning is going to look like in your IB classroom.

Approaches to Learning

These are the skills that the IB Programme is designed to develop in each student.  These are the kind of things you will be doing in an IB History course.

Thinking skills

This is a broad group of skills that include curiosity, flexibility, posing problems, decision making, being reasonable, creativity, critical thinking and metacognition (thinking about thinking).[1]

Communication skills

These are the skills that allow us to effectively communicate ideas.  This can mean oral communication, written communication or any variety of audio visual communication.

Social skills

These are the skills that allow us to effectively interact with others.  In class this often takes the form of group work.

Self-management skills

These are the skills, such as time management, that allow us to effectively organize the many elements of our life.  As an IB student, you will be busy and this, therefore, is an essential skill set not just for the next two years, but for the rest of your life.

Research skills

This refers to the skills of gathering, organizing and evaluating information and is a key component of an IB History course.

Approaches to Teaching

Your IB teachers will all take a similar approach to delivering the course.  They will use inquiry – getting you to generate good questions and then seek answers to these questions.  They will concentrate on big concepts such as those we examined in the previous blog.  IB teachers will use a wide variety of teaching strategies and activities to explore local and global perspectives and they will work with other teachers to do this.  Lastly, IB teachers will use assessments to help you learn.

An IB classroom is a dynamic learning environment where students take an active role in their education.  Ideas, curiosity, discussion, debate, and creativity all help make an IB classroom an exciting place to be.

[1] International Baccalaureate, “Approaches to Learning”,, 2015.  Accessed March 27, 2017.

Want to get ahead in the IB? Attend a Pre IB Summer School in Oxford, UK or Boston, US to meet students from all over the world and be taught by world-class IB teachers.