What is the IB, after all?

April 30, 2021

Many International Schools around the world offer an IB Programme, and we recently had an increase in Brazilian schools incorporating it as well. Still, many parents don’t know which are the differences between the IB and the regular curriculum, and why doing an IB course can benefit students in the long run, especially if they aim to pursue Higher Education abroad.

In this article, you will understand the basics of the IB and its Diploma Programme, which we currently offer at EARJ. All in under 5 minutes!

What does “IB” mean?

IB is short for International Baccalaureate®. The IB offers an education that empowers young people with the values, knowledge and skills to create a better and peaceful world. Its programs enable students to make sense of the complexities of the world around them, shaping them into global citizens.

At EARJ, we have offered the Diploma Programme for High School students since 1982. We are one of the pioneering schools in Brazil on IB education.

Diploma Programme

The Diploma Programme (DP) aims to develop students from 16 to 19 years old to have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge – students who flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically. It also better prepares them for the next steps of their academic and professional careers, compared to the regular curriculum.

There are three parts to the core of the IB DP, all of which are required for the diploma.

  1. Theory of Knowledge (ToK): Subject which leads students to think critically about knowledge and their own learning process.
  2. Extended Essay (EE): An independent piece of research about a topic of interest of the student, culminating with a 4000-word paper.
  3. Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS): A student-led project completed over an 18-month period. It can be related to the Arts, physical activities, voluntary service, and more.

There are also six subject groups in the curriculum, with different courses in each group which will be chosen by the student:

  • Studies in language and literature
  • Language acquisition
  • Individuals and societies
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • The arts

What’s next?

EARJ is currently a candidate school for the Primary Years Programme (PYP), which covers education for children aged 3 to 12. For the next school year, we will become a candidate school for the Middle Years Programme (MYP), for students from 11 to 16 years old.

Follow us on our road to become a full IB World School!

Click here to learn more about the IB at EARJ.

You can read everything about the programs in

International Mindedness: an EARJ path

November 24, 2020

In my early years of teaching, I used to think international-mindedness happened as a result of the diversity present in the classroom. I viewed it more as differences in food, flags, festivals (traditions), language, entertainment, and recreation. In my 10 years abroad I’ve come to learn that these are examples of culture and these attributes of culture do not necessarily translate to developing international-mindedness.

I hate to admit that my understanding of what it meant to be internationally-minded was simple in nature and based on things that were more observable, and not in the deeper ways in which people’s beliefs and values are different and also the same. I’ve learned It’s more about an attitude and an openness to see the world and its events from multiple perspectives.

EARJ is classified as an American international school and yet how internationally-minded are we? In what ways does our community strive to exemplify what it means to be internationally-minded? I ask these questions not to negate a well-deserved 83 year history of excellence, but to engage us in conversation about the benefits of being internationally-minded and the challenges that come with it in an ever changing, chaotic world. As educators, we know we want to develop international-mindedness in our students, but this pursuit should actually involve the entire community of students, teachers, staff, and parents.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) defines International mindedness as possessing certain attributes and approaches to learning.  An internationally minded learner:

  • is a competent communicator (multilingual);

  • is open-minded and knowledgeable;

  • is a caring and principled thinker;

  • uses his or her curiosity and research skills to inquire about the world;

  • thinks and reflects critically about opportunities and challenges;

  • takes action for positive change;

  • takes risks to further self-development and understanding of others.

(Boix Mansilla and Jackson 2011; Oxfam 2015; Singh and Qi 2013; UNESCO 2015).

For students who participate in one or several of the IB programmes, they are exposed to these attributes and approaches multiple times during the course of their educational journey. They learn how to use appropriate skills to find answers to their questions. They develop ownership of their own learning and in their relationships with others so they have the opportunity to practice the attributes in real time.

When I think about how best for EARJ to infuse International mindedness into the ethos of the school, I like to think about what I would want an EARJ high school graduate to know about himself/herself as a learner and the difference he/she wants to make in the world. If we work backwards from “that graduate” then we should be able to support that vision and build into their learning journey, opportunities to develop the attributes of an internationally-minded person, starting all the way back in their preschool years.

The development of international-mindedness takes time, patience, and commitment to a larger vision. At EARJ, find your path inspires us to support our students so that their attributes and approaches to life exemplify an internationally-minded citizen of the world.

Doreen Garrigan
Gávea Lower School Principal

Building On Strengths Instead of Deficits: Languaging and Translanguaging

October 27, 2020

When we see a student learning English as their second, third, or even fourth language, do we see this student as having an advantage, a strength that can be leveraged, or a concern that unless fixed will have a harmful effect on their learning at EARJ?

Language is how we make meaning of the world. Language allows us to inquire and holds a crucial role in our learning process. How we use language changes constantly, especially in a globally connected world.

Our language might change depending on who we are talking to or what we are talking about. It might change from sending an email versus a WhatsApp message. We might use two or three different languages within one single day, and even within those languages change how we are communicating depending on who we are communicating with.

Basically, language is flexible. It is a fluid act that when used as an action or verb, we call it languaging. For our students, they are languaging to make meaning from lessons as they continue to make meaning of the world. If they speak multiple languages, languaging can become a more unique asset or a strength in making meaning.

Language and culture are intimately intertwined, allowing students to bring into our classrooms diverse cultures filled with enriching perspectives. When students call upon their multiple languages, even if they are not all fluent, they can make greater connections. We call this translanguaging.

Translanguaging allows students to make more meaningful and diverse connections to content by utilizing all of their languages. When encouraged and celebrated openly, they can begin to share this enrichment with the entire class, where English Language Learners are thoughtfully included, and all students can deepen meaning.

For any student, bilingualism or multilingualism can be either subtractive or additive. “English only” can lead to diversity restricting, monolingual or monocultural meanings, and diminished learning outcomes. Instead of English only, what could we gain from English plus, where translanguaging is valued, encouraged, and celebrated?

Cody Alton
Director of Student Support Services