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Comparison Between Leadership in IB Organisation and an International School in the Middle East Region

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Comparison Between Leadership in IB Organisation and an International School in the Middle East Region



Leadership refers to the art of motivating a team towards achieving a common goal. It entails development of practical skills necessary to guide an individual, team or an organization as a whole. Leadership is quintessential to the success of educational institutions. In reflecting on education, it is crucial for teachers to be analytic in their work. Teachers should discuss students’ curriculum as how to replicate it to achieve the intended learning outcomes (Dantas 2007, 76). Talking about a syllabus in an international school in the Middle East and the International Baccalaureate (IB), there are varied distinctions on the outcome that they try to achieve (Bunnell 2011, 268). These curricula reflect upon education that a teacher provides and the rationale using different teaching strategies. Based on their patterns of formation, it is apparent that these two systems offer a dichotomy of learning outcomes that positions one better than the other. The subsequent excerpt delves into a comparison between an international school in the Middle East and IB frameworks with an emphasis on leadership development.


Leadership in IB Organisation and an International School in the Middle East Region

The Cambridge is a curriculum that focuses on staff development. According to Cambridge (2011), the syllabus is based on a comprehensive and coherent development plan to span learning outcomes (p. 122). However, the syllabus at an international school in the Middle East that is developed on Cambridge system allows innovation. Different learning tools are used to address the content of the syllabus and it certainly prepares students for future challenges. Besides, the program allows the students to engage both socially and intellectually throughout learning. Teaching requires different strategies to help pedagogues learn how to exercise their judgment in the classroom in order to meet the constantly changing patterns of learning behavior in students (Cambridge 2011, 122). Teaching in an international school in the Middle East has developed my capacities to make independent and smart decisions and formulate educational goals.

The platform has enabled me to motivate and challenge students as well as create an engaging and exciting environment to improve the learning outcomes (Dantas 2007, 82-92). The Middle East international school holds a forum where staff engages in pre-service teacher education programs. During these sessions, teachers are able to discuss the technical competence of their students (Zeichner & Liu 2010, 67). However, the most appreciated lesson learned through the pre-service teacher programs is that teaching context is always different (Heikka & Waniganayake 2011, 504).

The learning setting allows me as a teacher to analyze the impact of the school program on the student intended learning outcomes. However, I find IB better in establishing an emotionally safe learning area as it encourages teamwork.

As a teacher in an international school in the Middle East with a Cambridge system, I find the educational programs of a tremendous benefit. Worth mentioning that my performance as a teacher is guided by the ethics and morals of practice developed by the curriculum of an international school in the Middle East.

Addressing the complexities of technical rationality in the context of reflective teaching is one limitation that compounds reflective process when considering the teaching skills as well as strategies developed by the curriculum of an international school in the Middle East (Pitsoe & Maila 2013, 211). The instructional methods of the curriculum exclude a teacher’s reflection at the end of a teaching process (Scheffler 2010, p. 12). Besides, the moral and ethical aspects required by the curriculum are not as per a teacher’s purview. Ideally, teachers using a curriculum at an international school in the Middle East are denied an opportunity to develop their own reflective view on education but are rather expected to fine-tune as well as adjust the means for accomplishing the ends determined by others (Liu, L.B. & Milman 2010, 624). Teaching in this school is, therefore, a technical activity guided by the demands of a Cambridge curriculum (Tarc 2009, 235-261). IB framework, on the other hand, is guided by the inherent philosophy that as a teacher, leadership entails self-reflection so as to achieve a change (Bunnell 2011, 272-274).

The failure of the reflective teacher education while using the curriculum of an international school in the Middle East implies that instructors are less likely to confront as well as transform structural impediments that can undermine their ability to accomplish their educational goals (Heikka & Waniganayake 2011, 510). Certainly, the premise denotes that a teacher’s work in an international school in the Middle East is taken as it is presented in the curriculum. Even though instructor’s primary concern during teaching is embedded on an understanding of the classroom setting and students, I have a conviction that it is unwise to restrict the attention of the teacher to these alone. Arguably, education requires flexibility such that teachers take active responsibility of developing goals that conform to the social setting of the students (Connell 2014, 17).

In view of IB, an instructor’s involvement in matters beyond their classroom does not drift their attention from the core mission with learners (Lee, Hallinger & Walker 2012, 668). I find this premise extremely appealing considering that in certain circumstances, it is important to create more opportunities for instructors to participate in school-wide decisions about the present curriculum, staffing, and instructional methods (Jäppinen & Maunonen-Eskelinen 2012, 50). This opportunity can enable teachers to intensify their work beyond the limits of reasonableness hence improving the tasks of educating students. 


Action Plan

Considering the current curriculum at an international school in the Middle East where I teach, I have a conviction that the setting there is not adequate for teachers to undertake self-reflection. However, I have a belief that the IB education framework might challenge the curriculum at my school. I, therefore, look forward to being a part of a working community guided by the goals of this curriculum. The action plan for my future curriculum is structured below.


According to U.S. philosopher Israel Scheffler (2010), teachers’ attention cannot be restricted to the classroom alone (p.11). Scheffler further adds that teachers must take responsibility for the goals, which they commit to and determine the social setting upon which the goals prosper. Scheffler addresses teacher’s flexibility, which I find not taken into account by a curriculum for an international school in the Middle East. It is integral for a curriculum to nurture leaders through a personal reflection in a flexible environment.
(Wells 2011, 174).


Develop my future leadership practice as a professional in IB school


Objective: To develop a critical reflection on the professional practice

Current Position

MYP Homeroom teacher


Adopt critical reflective practice in teaching English and Literature

Action Area

Take active responsibility on the social setting of the school to improve learning outcomes


Learner interest

Lack of parenteral support

Lack of resources

Inconsistency of assessment policy

Progress Metric

Increased knowledge of curriculum of an international school in the Middle East

Develop an understanding of IB educational practices



Bunnell, T. 2011. The International Baccalaureate middle years programme after 30 years: A critical inquiry. Journal of Research in International Education, 10(3), 261-274.

Cambridge, J. 2011. International curriculum. Schooling internationally: globalization, internationalization and the future for international schools, 121-47.

Connell, M.T. 2014. Recovering the social dimension of reflection. Journal of Catholic Education, 17(2).

Dantas, M.L. 2007. Building teacher competency to work with diverse learners in the context of international education. Teacher Education Quarterly, 34(1), pp.75-94.

Heikka, J., & Waniganayake, M. 2011. Pedagogical leadership from a distributed perspective within the context of early childhood education. International journal of leadership in education, 14(4), 499-512.

Hoekstra, A. & Korthagen, F. 2011. Teacher learning in a context of educational change: Informal learning versus systematically supported learning. Journal of Teacher Education, 62(1), pp.76-92.

Jäppinen, A. K., & Maunonen-Eskelinen, I. 2012. Organisational transition challenges in the Finnish vocational education– the perspective of distributed pedagogical leadership. Educational Studies, 38(1), 39-50.

Lee, M., Hallinger, P., & Walker, A. 2012. A distributed perspective on instructional leadership in International Baccalaureate (IB) schools. Educational Administration Quarterly, 48(4), 664-698.

Liu, L.B., & Milman, N.B. 2010. Preparing teacher candidates to teach diverse student populations through reflective practice. Reflective Practice, 11(5), pp.619-630.

Pitsoe, V. & Maila, M. 2013. Re-thinking teacher professional development through schön’s reflective practice and situated learning lenses. Mediterranean journal of social sciences, 4(3), p.211.

Scheffler, I. 2010. In Praise of the Cognitive Emotions (Routledge Revivals): And Other Essays in the Philosophy of Education. Routledge.

Tarc, P. 2009. What is the ‘International’in the International Baccalaureate? Three structuring tensions of the early years (1962—1973). Journal of Research in International Education, 8(3), 235-261.

Wells, J. 2011. International education, values, and attitudes: A critical analysis of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Learner Profile. Journal of Research in International Education, 10(2), 174-188.

Zeichner, K. and Liu, K.Y. 2010. A critical analysis of reflection as a goal for teacher education. In Handbook of reflection and reflective inquiry (pp. 67-84). Springer US.

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