ATT: Developed in local, national & global contexts

In the IB, the approaches to teaching (ATT) skills are linked to our pedagogy which goes beyond what and how we teach and encompasses how we support, develop and interact with our students -- it is a teaching style. To ensure we are the best educators we can be, we need to identify our own strengths and areas for development and participate in continuous professional learning. Reflecting on our own practice, collaborating with peers from the wider IB community and communicating how and that we are learning is all part of this learning journey.

One of these ATTs is developed in local, national and global contexts.With this ATT, it is important for students to be able to link their learning to things they are familiar with and this includes: using ‘real world’ case studies and examples from organizations geographically located in your area, country and internationally. This may include: businesses, other educational establishments, government, charities.
By contextualizing learning students can make links between new and prior knowledge and it can help them make meaning of a complex issue or concept. If there is an abstract element to the learning, being able to contextualize can help ground the student which can make the ambiguous less daunting.

Teaching using this Approach

Prompting our students to develop their inquiry in local and global contexts, especially if they can be linked with real-life issues, can challenge their pre-existing representations on several matters and concepts, which helps them to reorganize their understanding on the basis of a more universal, internationally-minded perspective. This is a core aspect of the constructivist approach: “Knowledge is seen as dynamic, ever-changing with our experiences” (Bada, 2015). (

Use your school to identify contacts with local, national and international organizations, data and resources. For example: the local government if you are in a state-funded school; national businesses that have head offices close to your school; international networks that other staff at your school are associated with; businesses that parents/carers work for our own; funding sources available to provide access to additional resources; opportunities for field visits and primary research.

Undertake research into local, national and global organizations which may be beneficial to you and/or your students.

Purchase subscriptions to local, national and international publications including news media and government data.

Classroom Example

Here is an example of how you can teach this in a Group 3: Individuals and Societies classroom.

Start a unit with the statement of inquiry that you want students to have an understanding of at the end of the unit. Ensure that students can understand it and can apply it in meaningful contexts, this could be its application to prior learning or to what students experience in their everyday lives, it could be on a macro level that is transferable to a range of disciplines or on a micro level, within the discipline. The key and related concepts can be made visible in the classroom by having them on the wall, which is referred back to on a regular basis. This can be effective if students can identify times during a unit where concepts from the statement of inquiry are being addressed.

How do you use this ATT in your teaching?