SECONDARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM
IB DIPLOMA PROGRAMME (DP)
Subject Aims and Objectives
The English Curriculum at the Academy aims to develop students who wish to:
- Explore the English language, its literature, historical development and global variations in its use.
- Understand how English is used in a variety of contexts, through listening, reading and viewing to become, in turn, proficient users of the language in their speech, writing and text design. In this way, students develop culturally, intellectually and socially in an international language.
- Learn to use English; learn through English and learn about English.
- Develop their English sufficiently to enable them to access the Language and Literature course, or, as necessary, the Language Acquisition program which may better suit the needs of some students.
- Engage with and respond to a variety of written, spoken, bimodal and multimodal texts in English. They develop an understanding of the forms and purposes of texts and the contexts and cultures within which those texts are produced and received.
English in Grade 11 and 12
The Language A: Language and Literature course aims at studying the complex and dynamic nature of language and exploring both its practical and aesthetic dimensions. This course will explore the crucial role language plays in communication, reflecting experience and shaping the world and the roles of individuals themselves as producers of language. Throughout the course, students will explore the various ways in which language choices, text types, literary forms and contextual elements all affect meaning.
Through close analysis of various text types and literary forms, students will consider their own interpretations, as well as the critical perspectives of others, to explore how such positions are shaped by cultural belief systems and to negotiate meanings for texts.
The aims of studies in Language and Literature courses enable students to:
- Engage with a range of texts, in a variety of media and forms, from different periods, styles and cultures.
- Develop skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, presenting and performing.
- Develop skills in interpretation, analysis and evaluation.
- Develop sensitivity to the formal and aesthetic qualities of texts and an appreciation of how these qualities contribute to a variety of responses and meanings.
- Develop an understanding of relationships between texts and a variety of perspectives, cultural contexts and local and global issues and an appreciation of how these contribute to a variety of diverse responses meanings.
- Develop an understanding of the relationships between studies in language and literature and other disciplines.
- Communicate and collaborate in a confident and creative way.
- Foster a lifelong interest in and enjoyment of language and literature.
Language Acquisition at the Academy at IB DP is Language B – designed to provide students with the necessary skills and intercultural understanding to enable them to communicate successfully in an environment where the language studied is spoken.
Language B is a language acquisition course designed for students with some previous experience of the subject language. Students further develop their ability to communicate through the study of language, themes and texts. There are five prescribed themes: identities, experiences, human ingenuity, social organization and sharing the planet.
At Higher Level (HL) the study of two literary works originally written in the subject language is required and students are expected to extend the range and complexity of the language they use and understand in order to communicate. Students continue to develop their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar, as well as their conceptual understanding of how language works, so they may construct, analyze and evaluate arguments on a variety of topics relating to course content and the subject language culture(s).
The following language acquisition aims are common to both Language ab initio and Language B:
- Develop international-mindedness through the study of languages, cultures and ideas and issues of global significance.
- Enable students to communicate in the language they have studied in a range of contexts and for a variety of purposes.
- Encourage, through the study of texts and through social interaction, an awareness and appreciation of a variety of perspectives of people from diverse cultures.
- Develop students’ understanding of the relationship between the languages and cultures with which they are familiar.
- Develop students’ awareness of the importance of language in relation to other areas of knowledge.
- Provide students, through language learning and the process of inquiry, with opportunities for intellectual engagement and the development of critical- and creative-thinking skills.
- Provide students with a basis for further study, work and leisure through the use of an additional language.
- Foster curiosity, creativity and a lifelong enjoyment of language learning.
Subject Aims and Objectives
The aims of the Chinese Curriculum at the Academy are to enable students to:
- Explore language with a variety of learning tools, using language as a way to think, create, reflect, express and interact; become proficient users of the language in listening, speaking, writing, viewing and presenting in different contexts.
- Explore the characteristics and interrelationships of their own culture with other cultures; develop critical, creative, independent thinking and judgment skills.
- Foster a sense of curiosity, an inquisitive spirit and an attitude that paves the way for lifelong learning.
- Appreciate the spirit of Chinese culture, understand Chinese National affairs and Hong Kong’s society, and cultivate an awareness of global citizenship through studying textual works from different cultures spanning various periods and genres.
Chinese in Grade 11 and 12
A brief summary of the skills, attitudes and content knowledge covered in Grade 11 and 12, including a summary of the requirements of the final IB DP examinations.
- Develop skills in detailed textual analysis, the ability to establish relationships between works and enhance literary appreciation in terms of form, style, and aesthetics.
- Develop creativity and critical thinking through language learning and exploration of written works.
- Develop the ability to use language proficiently, both spoken and written.
- Widen students’ perspective through engaging in learning language, literature, culture and exploring global issues.
- Foster students’ curiosity, creativity and a lifelong interest in learning Chinese.
- Students study a series of writings and works covering different periods, style, and genres.
- Understand, reflect, and evaluate the relationship between language and culture.
Subject Aims and Objectives
The Individuals and Societies (I&S) Curriculum at the Academy aims to develop students who:
- Appreciate human and environmental commonalities and diversity.
- Understand the interactions and interdependence of individuals, societies and the environment.
- Understand how both environmental and human systems operate and evolve.
- Identify and develop concern for the well-being of human communities and the natural environment.
- Act as responsible citizens of local and global communities.
- Develop inquiry skills that lead towards conceptual understandings of the relationships between individuals, societies and the environments in which they live.
I&S in Grade 11 and 12
Within the IB DP, the Academy offers Business Management, Economics, Geography, Global Politics, History and Psychology.
Business Management studies business functions, management processes and decision-making in contemporary contexts of strategic uncertainty. It examines how business decisions are influenced by factors internal and external to an organization and how these decisions impact upon its stakeholders, both internally and externally. Business Management also explores how individuals and groups interact within an organization, how they may be successfully managed and how they can ethically optimize the use of resources in a world with increasing scarcity and concern for sustainability. Business Management is, therefore, perfectly placed within the I&S subject area: aiming to develop in students an appreciation both for our individuality and our collective purposes.
Emphasis is placed on strategic decision-making and the operational business functions of human resource management, finance and accounts, marketing and operations management. Links between the topics are central to the course, as this integration promotes a holistic overview of Business Management. Through the exploration of six concepts underpinning the subject (change, culture, ethics, globalization, innovation, and strategy), the course allows students to develop their understanding of interdisciplinary concepts from a Business Management perspective.
Although Business Management shares many skills and areas of knowledge with other humanities and social sciences, it is distinct in a number of ways. For example, Business Management is the study of decision-making within an organization, whereas Economics is the study of scarcity and resource allocation, both on micro and macro levels. This course draws on many of the skills developed in the IB MYP I&S course in terms of analysis and decision-making. It also builds on students’ conceptual understanding of change, systems, and global awareness also experienced at that level.
The study of Economics is about the concept of scarcity and the problem of resource allocation. Economic theories can be applied to real-world examples in a personal, local, national and international context. The Economics course at the Academy addresses how both individuals and societies cope with and solve the problem of resource allocation. Students gain an understanding of economic theory and its application, which acts as a framework for understanding the world around them.
The aims of the Economics course at Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) are to enable students to:
- Develop a critical understanding of a range of economic theories, models, ideas and tools in the areas of microeconomics, macroeconomics and the global economy.
- Apply economic theories, models, ideas and tools and analyze economic data to understand and engage with real-world economic issues and problems facing individuals and societies.
- Develop a conceptual understanding of individuals’ and societies’ economic choices, interactions, challenges and consequences of economic decision-making.
Geography is a dynamic subject that is firmly grounded in the real world and focuses on the interactions between individuals, societies and physical processes in both time and space. It seeks to identify trends and patterns in these interactions. It also investigates the way in which people adapt and respond to change and evaluates actual and possible management strategies associated with such change. Geography describes and helps to explain the similarities and differences between different places. These may be defined on a variety of scales and from the perspectives of a different range of actors, with varying powers over decision-making processes.
Within individuals and societies subjects, geography is distinctive in its spatial dimension and occupies a middle ground between social or human sciences and natural sciences. The DP Geography course integrates physical, environmental and human geography and ensures that students acquire elements of both socio-economic and scientific methodologies. Geography takes advantage of its position to examine relevant concepts and ideas from a wide variety of disciplines. This helps students develop life skills and have an appreciation of, and a respect for, alternative approaches, viewpoints and ideas.
At the core of the IB DP Geography course are concepts relating to population dynamics, climate change, and how humanity utilizes the finite resources of our planet. Optional themes include, freshwater resources, ocean environments, climate extremes, human response to natural disasters, the geography of food and health, tourism, and urban management. The HL extension focuses the entirety of the course through the lens of globalization.
The course is 100% case-study based – that is, all syllabus content relates to phenomena occurring in the world today comprising the entirety of human activity. The course is tailored to helping students grapple with the immediate problems of the global pandemic as well as mitigation strategies for the ongoing problems associated with climate change. IB DP Geography is a course designed to provide added perspective upon the world into which they are about to emerge as self-aware, globally-minded citizens.
The 21st Century is characterized by rapid change and increasing interconnectedness, impacting individuals and societies in unprecedented ways and creating complex global political challenges. Global politics is an exciting, dynamic subject that draws on a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, reflecting the complex nature of many contemporary political issues. The study of global politics enables students to critically engage with different and new perspectives and approaches to politics in order to comprehend the challenges of the changing world and become aware of their role in it as active global citizens.
The DP Global Politics course explores fundamental political concepts such as power, equality, sustainability and peace in a range of contexts. It allows students to develop an understanding of the local, national, international and global dimensions of political activity and processes, as well as to explore political issues affecting their own lives. The course helps students to understand abstract political concepts by grounding them in real-world examples and case studies. It also invites comparison between such examples and case studies to ensure a wider and transnational perspective.
The core units of the course together make up a central unifying theme of “people, power and politics”. The emphasis on “people” reflects the fact that the course explores politics not only at a state level but also explores the function and impact of non-state actors, communities, groups and individuals. The concept of “power” is also emphasized as being particularly crucial to understanding the dynamics, tensions and outcomes of global politics. Throughout the course, issues such as conflict, migration or climate change are explored through an explicitly political lens: “politics” provide a uniquely rich context in which to explore the relationship between people and power.
The IB DP History course is a world history course based on a comparative and multi-perspective approach to history. It involves the study of a variety of types of history, including political, economic, social and cultural, and provides a balance of structure and flexibility. The course emphasizes the importance of encouraging students to think historically and to develop historical skills as well as gaining factual knowledge. It puts a premium on developing the skills of critical thinking and on developing an understanding of multiple interpretations of history. In this way, the course involves a challenging and demanding critical exploration of the past.
The aims of the course at SL and HL are to:
- Develop an understanding of, and continuing interest in, the past.
- Encourage students to engage with multiple perspectives and to appreciate the complex nature of historical concepts, issues, events and developments.
- Promote international-mindedness through the study of history from more than one region of the world.
- Develop an understanding of history as a discipline and to develop historical consciousness including a sense of chronology and context and an understanding of different historical perspectives.
- Develop key historical skills, including engaging effectively with sources.
- Increase students’ understanding of themselves and of contemporary society by encouraging reflection on the past.
This exciting two-year course allows students to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the most important theories and studies in the discipline of Psychology through a scientific approach to human behavior. Students will be asked to develop critical thinking and writing skills in order to effectively evaluate and interpret a wide range of psychological studies. Students will investigate the biological, cognitive, social and cultural influences on human behavior. In addition to these major theoretical perspectives, selected topics will be covered in the second year. Two topics are studied in the HL course and one in the SL course. Students will also learn how to conduct qualitative scientific research and students apply inferential statistics to research results. The internal assessment project requires students to plan and conduct their own experimental research.
Subject Aims and Objectives
The Mathematics Curriculum at the Academy aims to develop students who:
- Enjoy mathematics, develop a curiosity and appreciation of its elegance and power.
- Develop an understanding of the principles and nature of mathematics.
- Communicate clearly and confidently in a variety of contexts.
- Develop logical, critical and creative thinking.
- Develop confidence, perseverance and independence in mathematical thinking and problem-solving.
- Develop powers of generalization and abstraction.
- Apply and transfer acquired skills to a wide range of real-life situations, other areas of knowledge and future developments.
- Appreciate how developments in technology and mathematics have influenced each other.
- Appreciate the moral, social and ethical implications arising from the work of mathematicians and the applications of mathematics.
- Appreciate the international dimension in mathematics through an awareness of the universality of mathematics and its multicultural and historical perspectives.
- Appreciate the contribution of mathematics to other areas of knowledge and specifically, within the IB DP, as a particular “area of knowledge” in the TOK course.
- Develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to pursue further studies in mathematics.
- Develop the ability to reflect critically upon their own work and the work of others.
Mathematics in Grade 11 and 12
The Academy offers four different courses in Mathematics designed for students with different needs, interests, aspirations and abilities. For this reason, there are two different subjects in Mathematics:
Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches SL and HL – this course is most suitable for students who enjoy developing their mathematics to become fluent in the construction of mathematical arguments and who wish to develop robust skills in mathematical thinking. Students who take Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches will be those who enjoy the thrill of mathematical problem solving and generalization.
Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation SL and HL – this course is most suitable for students who are interested in developing mathematics for describing our world and solving practical problems. Students who take Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation will be those who enjoy mathematics best when seen in a practical context.
In making a course selection, students are advised to take account of the following considerations:
- Ability in mathematics and the type of mathematics in which they can be successful.
- Own interest in mathematics and those particular areas of the subject that may hold the most interest.
- Other choices of subjects within the framework of the IB DP.
- Future academic plans, in particular the subjects they wish to study in future.
- Choice of career.
Subject Aims and Objectives
The Science Curriculum at the Academy aims to develop capable and confident science students who:
- Can think critically to solve problems and evaluate information.
- Have the knowledge and skills to apply their learning to everyday phenomena.
- See the value in community and collaboration in a local and global context.
- Are lifelong learners with a passion for progress.
- Have keen practical skills that allow them to discover through experimentation.
Science in Grade 11 and 12
Here at the Academy we offer Biology, Chemistry and Physics in the IB DP. All science courses are offered at SL and HL:
Biologists attempt to understand the living world at all levels using many different approaches and techniques. The course explores life from the scale of the cell, through its molecular construction and complex metabolic reactions, ultimately investigating the interactions that make whole ecosystems function. By its very nature, biology lends itself to an experimental approach, and it is expected that this will be reflected throughout the course which aligns with the inquirer learner profile among others.
For the most part, the HL course offers greater breadth (topics 9 and 11) but in some cases also greater depth (7, 8, 10). An example of greater depth would be that SL students are required to know the overview of translation which involves understanding codons and base pairing. HL students are required to further understand ribosomal structure, EPA sites, and the three translation steps (initiation, elongation, termination).
Biology is a relatively young science and great progress is expected in the 21st Century. At a time when the growing human population is placing ever greater pressure on food supplies and on the habitats of other species, the Academy Biology students are well placed to be empowered global stewards.
Chemistry is an experimental science aimed at helping students understand the Natural World by looking at the fundamental building block of life at its core, the atom. The study of chemistry has its roots, not as a true science, but as an attempt to turn metals into gold. But it was these individuals (Alchemists) who setup strict the experimentation processes and laboratory techniques in use today. Although chemistry has evolved over time, observation remains its fundamental principle and opportunities to explore and experiment with processes are common practice in our curriculum to aid the theoretical ideas that make up this course. Students receive an excellent grounding in Energetics, Chemical Bonding, Reduction-oxidation reactions, as well as the study of Organic Chemistry, which serves as excellent preparation for many courses in higher education, such as medicine and the biological and environmental sciences.
The SL and HL programs are similar in topic design, however, the HL course takes each of the 11 areas into a deeper level of understanding and challenges students to master concepts such as mechanisms of organic reactions, being able to determine rate expressions for reactions and exploring complex ion formations.
Chemistry is an incredibly exciting subject that offers a very rich and insightful perspective of the environment that surrounds us. It challenges us to model what we cannot see, comprehend and trust experiments others have undertaken and predict what we may not know. It is a wonderful exploration of knowledge.
Through the study of Diploma Level Physics we look to inspire students to have a greater understanding of the world around them. Through mathematical modeling and hands-on practical investigative work, we aim to provide the opportunity for scientific study and creativity in a global context. Completing this course, at either SL or HL, will deepen an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations of science.
Both SL and HL students will study 8 core topics which cover the main concepts of modern physics including: mechanics, thermodynamics, gravitation, waves, electricity, energy, atomic physics and the elementary particles that make up the universe. Where possible, concepts are taught with the use of investigative work as we seek to develop practical skills in a range of techniques and equipment. The nature of science is an important facet of a true understanding of the topic, which is why we contextualize the learning experience. HL students will delve deeper into the core topics and, in addition, will also cover Quantum Physics and Fields. All students will undertake an optional topic chosen from Astrophysics, Engineering Physics, Imaging or Relativity.
Subject Aims and Objectives
The Design Curriculum at the Academy aims to develop students who:
- Enjoy the design process and who develop an appreciation of its elegance and power.
- Develop knowledge, understanding and skills from different disciplines to design and create solutions to problems using the design cycle.
- Use and apply technology effectively as a means to access, process and communicate information, model and create solutions, and to solve problems.
- Develop an appreciation of the impact of design innovations for life, global society and environments.
- Appreciate past, present and emerging design within cultural, political, social, historical and environmental contexts.
- Develop respect for others’ viewpoints and appreciate alternative solutions to problems.
- Act with integrity and honesty and take responsibility for their own actions in developing effective working practices.
Design in Grade 11 and 12
A brief summary of the skills, attitudes and content knowledge covered in Grade 11 and 12, including a summary of the requirements of the final IB DP examinations:
- Range of technology skills with emphasis on CAD skills – Fusion 360 – 3D printing.
- Portfolio Creation.
- Topic Study and Revision.
- SL Exams: 2 papers Topics 1-6; Portfolio Criteria A-D.
- HL Exams: 3 papers Topics 1-10; Portfolio Criterion A-F.
Subject Aims and Objectives
The Arts Curriculum at the Academy aims to develop students who:
- Explore the world around them.
- Create art that helps them to understand themselves and others.
- Develop the skills that they need to produce high quality artwork.
- Reflect on the rigorous processes they have gone through whilst making their work; and analyze the impact that it has had on an audience.
- Become more effective collaborators and communicators.
- Transform ideas into action with confidence and encouragement.
The Arts in Grade 11 and 12
Students who choose to continue with a chosen Arts subject into their IB DP career can expect a challenging and rigorous curriculum. The Arts in IB DP are split into 3 explicit subjects at the Academy:
Theatre is an experiential subject where students work together to overcome artistic challenges and explore, together with their teacher, a range of encounters that help prepare them for the final assessment of work in Grade 12. These areas are:
- Staging and designing play texts.
- Exploring world theatre traditions.
- Collaboratively creating theatre.
- Performing theatre theory.
Students are exposed to these areas through the professional lenses of a Director, Performer, Designer and Creator. The projects and materials are tailored to the students in the group to allow them to experience a range of exploration, assessment and performance outcomes.
These skills will be assessed through the following components in the second year of the course:
- Director’s Notebook.
- Research Presentation.
- Collaborative Performance.
- Solo Theatre Piece (HL Task).
The Visual Arts core syllabus at SL and HL consists of three equal interrelated areas:
- Visual Arts in Context.
- Visual Arts Methods.
- Communicating Visual Arts.
Students will be required to investigate the core syllabus areas through exploration of the following practices:
- Theoretical practice.
- Art-making practice.
- Curatorial practice.
Assessment in Visual Arts is divided into 3 parts:
Part 1: Comparative Study (20%)
Part 2: Process Portfolio (40%)
Part 3: Exhibition (40%)
The new Music Diploma Course allows students an insight into a more vocational experience of music through adopting roles as researchers, creators and performers. Students will study music with a focus on four main areas of inquiry:
- Music for sociocultural and political expression.
- Music for listening and performance.
- Music for dramatic impact, movement and entertainment.
- Music technology in the electronic and digital age.
Students will engage in diverse musical material from personal, local and global contexts.
The SL and HL Assessment consists of 3 (or 4 for HL students) components as follows:
- Exploring Music in Context.
- Experimenting with Music.
- Presenting Music.
- Contemporary Music Maker (HL Only).
Artist in Residence
All of this is underpinned by our robust ‘Artist In Residence’ program, in which we invite artists from within the industry to work with our young people for prolonged periods of time to help raise awareness of what they are capable of and what life within the industry may have in hold for them.
The Academy has a wide range of excellent facilities, equipment and support staff for the Arts, allowing us to produce professional quality exhibitions, concerts and productions for curricular and extra-curricular experiences within our busy program of Arts events.
Subject Aims and Objectives
The Physical and Health Education (PHE) Curriculum at the Academy aims to develop students who:
- Enjoy being physically active and recognize the value of activity to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
- Acquire, refine and apply a range of key skills across different situations and activities.
- Develop and apply their knowledge and understanding of key concepts, rules and techniques.
- Seek to develop skills as an individual and a member of a team.
- Build and develop awareness of their key strengths in order to aid their progress in areas for development.
PHE in Grade 11 and 12
Grade 11 and 12 have one lesson of PHE per week where the focus is on remaining physically active in order to promote healthy and balanced lifestyles. Over the year students are given options from which to select in order to develop their physical fitness, physical and mental well-being, team and individual skills.