Service & Action

Teaching and Learning in the IB

Teaching and learning in the IB celebrates the many ways people work together to construct meaning and make sense of the world. Through the interplay of asking, doing and thinking, this constructivist approach leads towards open, democratic classrooms. An IB education empowers young people for a lifetime of learning, independently and in collaboration with others. It prepares a community of learners to engage with global challenges through inquiry, action and reflection.



Sustained inquiry forms the centrepiece of the written, taught and assessed curriculum in IB programmes.IB programmes feature structured inquiry both into established bodies of knowledge and into complex problems. In this approach, prior knowledge and experience establish the basis for new learning, and students’ own curiosity provides the most effective provocation for learning that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant.


Principled action, as both a strategy and an outcome, represents the IB’s commitment to teaching and learning through practical, real-world experience. IB learners act at home, as well as in classrooms, schools, communities and the broader world. Action involves learning by doing, which enhances learning about self and others. IB World Schools value action that encompasses a concern for integrity and honesty, as well as a strong sense of fairness that respects the dignity of individuals and groups.

Principled action means making responsible choices, sometimes including decisions not to act. Individuals, organizations and communities can engage in principled action when they explore the ethical dimensions of personal and global challenges. Action in IB programmes may involve service learning, advocacy and educating self and others.


Critical reflection is the process by which curiosity and experience can lead to deeper understanding.

Reflective thinkers must become critically aware of their evidence, methods and conclusions. Reflection also involves being conscious of potential bias and inaccuracy in one’s own work and in the work of others.

An IB education fosters creativity and imagination. It offers students opportunities for considering the nature of human thought and for developing the skills and commitments necessary not only to remember, but also to analyse one’s own thinking and effort—as well as the products and performances that grow from them.

Through inquiry, action and reflection, IB programmes aim to develop a range of thinking, self-management, social communication and research skills referred to in IB programmes as “approaches to learning”.

Effective teaching and learning requires meaningful assessment. IB World Schools strive to clarify the purpose of student assessment, the criteria for success and the methods by which assessments are made.

IB programmes, assessment is ongoing, varied and integral to the curriculum. Assessment may be formal or informal, formative or summative, internal or external; students also benefit by learning how to assess their own work and the work of others.

IB students demonstrate what they know and can do through consolidations of learning, culminating with the PYP exhibition, the MYP personal project, the DP extended essay and the CP reflective project. The entire school community can be involved in providing feedback and support as students demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and mastery of skills.

What is an IB Education? Pages 4-5

MYP Learning Outcomes for Service

With guidance and support, MYP students should, through their participation in service as action:

  • become more aware of their strengths and areas for growth
  • undertake challenges that develop new skills
  • discuss, evaluate and plan student-initiated activities
  • persevere in action
  • work collaboratively
  • develop international mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding
  • consider the ethical impications of their actions

Each of these outcomes are often demonstrated within their self-reflection on service as action. The learning outcomes are closely related to the Learner Profile attributes and ATL skills that all MYP students strive towards. Through participating in service, students become more confident, self-regulated learners.

Principles to Practice Page 24