BFS’ 11th grade students in International Baccalaureate (IB) 20th Century World History: Authoritarian States come to each class session prepared with notes and questions that interrogate their reading on a topic.
Their teacher, Dr. Jon DeGraff, serves as a discussion guide by periodically directing the students to examine areas that need exploration. “For the most part, I take notes and observe,” Dr. DeGraff said. “It is a version of the Harkness approach to learning developed at Phillips Exeter Academy.”
This first year of IB History is devoted to the main events and developments of the world since 1945. The year culminates with students writing a research paper—an historical investigation into a topic of a student’s choice to demonstrate the application of skills and knowledge gained in the course, and to pursue their own personal interests. In this process— students garner a comprehensive knowledge of historical time periods based on an awareness of multiple perspectives.