The Appeal of the International Baccalaureate
Sponsored by FSA and Tricor! The Latest on International schools & Boarding schools
Event report on a popular international educational event
On Thursday, November 10 and Thursday, November 17, an “International schools and Boarding schools Online Seminar” (sponsored by FSA and Tricor) was held. Over two days approximately 500 participants, mainly foreign investors who are considering establishing a presence in Japan, and domestic and foreign families interested in international education, were informed about the international school and boarding school opportunities for their children in Japan.
The editorial team will provide a three-part report on the seminar with presentation from the speakers.
In this first article, we bring you a presentation by Mr. Paul Fradale, Head of Aoba Japan International School Hikarigaoka Campus, on “The Appeal of the International Baccalaureate.”
Mr. Paul Fradale
Aoba Japan International School Hikarigaoka Campus, Head
Mr. Fradale has been an educator for 31 years and has worked in both state and private schools in Hawai’i and Japan. He is currently the Head of Hikarigaoka Campus for Aoba-Japan International School, an IB World School with over 700 students. A former lecturer for International Christian University, he has published several peer-reviewed journal articles, a book with Routledge released in 2021, and is completing his doctoral thesis, all on Blended Learning. Paul is an expatriate American; he has lived in Japan for 21 years and is now a permanent resident. In his spare time he is renovating a 132 year old farmhouse in rural Japan with his wife, also an expatriate American, and their story has been covered by CNN.
Developing attitudes and skills for responsible behaviour
What is the International Baccalaureate Curriculum?
It is a set of K-12 educational programs offered by the International Baccalaureate Organization.
The International Baccalaureate (“IB”) was established in 1968 as a comprehensive educational programme to prepare students to understand and cope with the complexities of the world and to develop attitudes and skills for responsible behaviour in the future.
In the decades since the IB arrived in Japan, it has mainly focused on the DP (Diploma Programme), but gradually branched out into the PYP (Primary Years Programme) and MYP (Middle Years Programme). Most recently, the CP (Career Programme) has been developed as an IB offering.
The IB was originally established to meet educational needs from expatriate residents. As the world became more closely connected, and as more families looked beyond their own shores for opportunities for their children, it became evident that the local educational systems did not necessarily benefit the full range of learners, regardless of their background. From the beginning, IB was designed to serve the needs of expatriate businesspeople, ambassadors, and other global leaders. Eventually, as the community began to recognize the great value in what the IB had to offer, the mission of the IB shifted to serving a broader population.
It is a holistic approach to education. It is characterised by a balance between subject areas and an inquiry-based approach with a focus on student agency that allows children to take the initiative in their learning.
To be an IB school, a school must have certain qualifications and periodic reaccreditation to ensure consistency so that students have a similar experience as they move from country to country and school to school. The IB is known for its excellence in ensuring a certain standard of education wherever it is found.
Graduates of IB schools have higher acceptance rates to the world’s top universities than the average high school graduates worldwide; when IB graduates enter their first year of college, it is typical for them to say, “My final year of high school was harder than my first year of college/university.”
Leading universities around the world accept the IB as an admission requirement. And in many cases, if students reach a certain achievement level, they can even earn college/university credit for courses taken.
Multilingual and multifaceted learning and exploration is the attraction!
There are four programmes available:
(Primary Years Programme)
|3-12||● Emphasises mental and physical development
● Transdisciplinary skills development
● Can be offered in any language
(Middle Years Programme)
|11-16||● Students connect learning and society through conceptual learning
● Transdisciplinary approach
● Can be offered in any language
|16-19||● Prescribed two year curriculum with rigorous external examinations
● Internationally recognized university entrance qualification
● Generally offered in English, French or Spanish
|16-19||● Career and vocational education
● Emphasises skills acquisition for lifelong career development
● Courses offered in English, French or Spanish
PYP (Primary Years Programme)
The PYP is a programme for children aged 3-12. It promotes mental, physical, and emotional development. It is interdisciplinary, meaning that all subjects are seamlessly combined into units of inquiry. The first year of the program ends with something called an exhibition. This is a one-year program; the first half is a preparation period. Then, in the second half, the children synthesise what they have researched and create a large event for their parents and the community to share what they have learnt.