History is a dynamic, contested, evidence-based discipline that involves an exciting engagement with the past. It is a rigorous intellectual discipline, focused around key historical concepts such as change, causation and significance. History is an exploratory subject that fosters a sense of inquiry. It is also an interpretive discipline, allowing opportunity for engagement with multiple perspectives and a plurality of opinions. Studying history develops an understanding of the past, which leads to a deeper understanding of the nature of humans and of the world today.
The IB 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.
These are all skills which build upon the work pupils have done as part of the IGCSE course and are also skills which are much sought after by employers, and History is a highly regarded qualification particularly in such fields as law, journalism, broadcasting, publishing, administration and government.
The IB History course is both very modern and very international in its scope. Moreover, the main emphasis of the course is thematic and much of our work is centred around the two key 20th century topics of Authoritarian States (20th Century) and The Cold War: Superpower tensions and rivalries. Against this backdrop students study in depth the emergence and development of dictatorships such as Mussolini’s Italy, Mao’s China, Castro’s Cuba; and the causes, impact and legacy of the Cold War.
In addition, those pupils opting for History at Higher Level also follow a course in modern American History, which concentrates above all on the History of the United States from the time of the Civil War in the 1860s to the 1970s.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN STANDARD AND HIGHER LEVEL
Students at Standard Level and Higher Level are presented with a syllabus that has a common core consisting of prescribed subjects and topics in world history. In addition, students at HL are also required to undertake an in-depth study of The Americas as the HL option.
The course is examined through a variety of written papers together with the Historical Investigation. The written examinations require students to analyse sources and write essays. Students will also be asked to produce a historical investigation for their Internal Assessment. The History Departments in many schools organise trips abroad to such countries as the United States of America, Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and North Korea. Participating in such trips certainly supports what is learned learn in lessons and helps develop the students’ interest in the subject.