Group 3: Individuals and societies

Economics, History, Geography, Philosophy, Psychology, Business Management

Economics HL/SL

Economics is about the allocation of resources in our society and the way this allocation affects our daily lives in terms of prices, unemployment, inflation and governments’ policies. It gives us a set of conceptual tools which we use to understand the world around us. That world is fundamentally affected and shaped by the economic decisions that are made by people companies and governments. At the same time we learn to recognise that what seem to be rational economic decisions are in fact the outcome of psychological processes such as emotion and by our value systems concerning the nature of man. We also begin to understand that the fundamental conflict in politics in the modern world is based on different understandings as to an economy works

The subject requires that students understand and engage with the realities of the world and not treat economics as an abstract set of theories which are learnt merely to pass an examination.

John Maynard Keynes the greatest economist of the 20th century has set out the ultimate standard we should aim for in studying economics

“The master-economist must possess a rare combination of gifts …. He must be mathematician, historian, statesman, philosopher—in some degree. He must understand symbols and speak in words. He must contemplate the particular, in terms of the general, and touch abstract and concrete in the same flight of thought. He must study the present in the light of the past for the purposes of the future. No part of man’s nature or his institutions must be entirely outside his regard. He must be purposeful and disinterested in a simultaneous mood, as aloof and incorruptible as an artist, yet sometimes as near to earth as a politician.”

Most of us will never achieve the standards demanded by Keynes of the master economist but on this course we will jolly well try.

The aims of the DP economics course are to enable students to:

  • develop an understanding of microeconomic and macroeconomic theories and concepts and their real-world application
  • develop an appreciation of the impact on individuals and societies of economic interactions between nations
  • develop an awareness of development issues facing nations as they undergo the process of change

History HL/SL

The 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. Teachers explicitly teach thinking and research skills such as comprehension, text analysis, transfer, and use of primary sources.

There are six key concepts that have particular prominence throughout the DP history course: change, continuity, causation, consequence, significance and perspectives.

The aims of the DP history course are to enable students 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.

A lecture by Karol Modzelewski

Geography HL/SL

Geography is a dynamic subject 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, on a variety of scales and from different perspectives. Geography as a subject is distinctive in its spatial dimension and occupies a middle ground between social or human sciences and natural sciences. The course integrates physical, environmental and human geography, and 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, helping students develop life skills and have an appreciation of, and a respect for, alternative approaches, viewpoints and ideas. Students at both SL and HL are presented with a common core and optional geographic themes. HL students also study the HL core extension.

Although the skills and activity of studying geography are common to all students, HL students are required to acquire a further body of knowledge, to demonstrate critical evaluation and to further synthesize the concepts in the HL extension.

The aims of the geography course at SL and HL are to enable students to:

  • develop an understanding of the dynamic interrelationships between people, places, spaces and the environment at different scales
  • develop a critical awareness and consider complexity thinking in the context of the nexus of geographic issues, including: acquiring an in-depth understanding of how geographic issues, or wicked problems, have been shaped by powerful human and physical processes synthesizing diverse geographic knowledge in order to form viewpoints about how these issues could be resolved. • understand and evaluate the need for planning and sustainable
  • development through the management of resources at varying scales

Philosophy HL/SL

The philosophy course provides an opportunity for students to engage with some of the world’s most interesting and influential thinkers. It also develops highly transferable skills such as the ability to formulate arguments clearly, to make reasoned judgments and to evaluate highly complex and multifaceted issues.

The emphasis of the DP philosophy course is on “doing philosophy”, that is, on actively engaging students in philosophical activity. The course is focused on stimulating students’ intellectual curiosity and encouraging them to examine both their own perspectives and those of others. Students are challenged to develop their own philosophical voice and to grow into independent thinkers. They develop their skills through the study of philosophical themes and the close reading of a philosophical text. They also learn to apply their philosophical knowledge and skills to real-life situations and to explore how non-philosophical material can be treated in a philosophical way.

HL students also engage in a deeper exploration of the nature of philosophy itself. Teachers explicitly teach thinking and research skills such as comprehension, text analysis, transfer, and use of primary sources.

The aim of the philosophy course is to engage students in philosophical activity, enabling them to:

  1. develop an inquiring and intellectually curious way of thinking
  2. formulate arguments in a sound and purposeful way
  3. examine critically their own experiences and their ideological and cultural perspectives
  4. appreciate the diversity of approaches within philosophical thinking
  5. apply their philosophical knowledge and skills to the world around them.

Psychology HL/SL

The IB Diploma Programme higher level psychology course aims to develop an awareness of how research findings can be applied to better understand human behaviour and how ethical practices are upheld in psychological inquiry. Students learn to understand the biological, cognitive and sociocultural influences on human behaviour and explore alternative explanations of behaviour. They also understand and use diverse methods of psychological inquiry.

In addition, the course is designed to:

  • encourage the systematic and critical study of human experience and behaviour; physical, economic and social environments; and the history and development of social and cultural institutions
  • develop the capacity to identify, analyse critically and evaluate theories, concepts and arguments about the nature and activities of the individual and society
  • enable students to collect, describe and analyse data used in studies, test hypotheses; and interpret complex data and source material
  • enable the student to recognize that the content and methodologies are contestable and that their study requires the toleration of uncertainty
  • develop an awareness of how psychological research can be applied for the better understanding of human behaviour
  • ensure that ethical practices are upheld in psychological inquiry
  • develop an understanding of the biological, cognitive and sociocultural influences on human behaviour
  • develop an understanding of alternative explanations of behavior
  • understand and use diverse methods of psychological inquiry

Business Management HL/SL

The business management course is designed to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of business management theories, as well as their ability to apply a range of tools and techniques. Students learn to analyse, discuss and evaluate business activities at local, national and international levels.

The course covers a range of organizations from all sectors, as well as the sociocultural and economic contexts in which those organizations operate. The course covers the key characteristics of business organization and environment, and the business functions of human resource management, finance and accounts, marketing and operations management. Links between the topics are central to the course.

Through the exploration of six underpinning concepts (change, culture, ethics, globalization, innovation and strategy), the course allows students to develop a holistic understanding of today’s complex and dynamic business environment. The conceptual learning is firmly anchored in business management theories, tools and techniques and placed in the context of real world examples and case studies.

The course encourages the appreciation of ethical concerns at both a local and global level. It aims to develop relevant and transferable skills, including the ability to: think critically; make ethically sound and well-informed decisions; appreciate the pace, nature and significance of change; think strategically; and undertake long-term planning, analysis and evaluation. The course also develops subject-specific skills, such as financial analysis.

The aims of the business management course at HL and SL are to:

  1. encourage a holistic view of the world of business
  2. empower students to think critically and strategically about individual and organizational behaviour
  3. promote the importance of exploring business issues from different cultural perspectives
  4. enable the student to appreciate the nature and significance of change in a local, regional and global context
  5. promote awareness of the importance of environmental, social and ethical factors in the actions of individuals and organizations
  6. develop an understanding of the importance of innovation in a business environment.

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