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IB Spotlight: The role of the Dare to Know lecture series
As is often noted with the International Baccalaureate, one of its major components is a focus on the holistic growth of students, moving beyond just using grades to chart a student’s development.
Westminster Academy recognises this and runs a series of extracurricular activities in an effort to aid in this comprehensive development of its students; Dare to Know is one such opportunity.
Each week, an academic from universities such as Oxford, UCL, and many others, comes to the school to give a talk on their academic research. The talks vary, from discussions of the oppression of women in medieval London, to ‘the problem of evil’ in theology. What all these talks share, however, is a focus on asking students to begin to understand these issues on a deeper level. In particular, they perfectly embody the IB Learner Profile attribute of Thinker, as the students move beyond simply achieving a mark and begin to critically examine the things they are taught. These talks give students the ability to question leading researchers and push their knowledge in interesting, and often quite challenging, directions. Very often these talks are only tangentially-related to topics they study in their regular lessons. Yet the skills they encourage in students are invaluable, helping them develop beyond their school curriculum and learn about things that they would ordinarily never encounter.
Students will never be graded on their thoughts and questions at these talks. It will never be on an end-of-year test. But these talks perfectly reflect the International Baccalaureate, reorienting the education of students so that their personal development is the chief goal, rather than the grades they achieve.
Mr O’Rourke, Oxnet Coordinator