The IB Global Contexts

Global Contexts are common interactive themes embedded in the subject groups, but they are not subject disciplines in their own right. They are common to all disciplines and require all teachers to teach their subject content in a way that encourages students to become increasingly aware of the connections between their learning and the real world around them. Contexts have broad applications that offer the possibility of new perspectives, additional information, counter-examples, and refinements of understanding. Contexts also help to create productive discussion within and outside of the classroom, often identifying inquiries that are meaningful and relevant to students.

Global contexts provide a common language for learning, identifying specific settings, events or circumstances that provide more concrete perspectives for inquiry, and they offer common points of entry for an ongoing exploration of what it means to be internationally-minded. Furthermore, they help students to appreciate the interrelated connections between the eight different subject groups. They act as a "lens" for students to view the content through, helping them to transfer their learning from one subject group to the next and promoting a deeper understand of knowledge.


The Global Contexts are:

1.  Identities and Relationships

This context deals with questions of “Who am I?” and “Who are we?”  Students will explore identity, beliefs and values, and human relationships including families, friends, communities and cultures.

2.  Orientation in Time and Space

This context deals with questions of “where” and “when” and their meaning.  Students will explore personal histories, homes and journeys, turning points in humankind, discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind, and the relationships between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations from personal, local and global perspectives.


3.  Personal and Cultural Expression

This context deals with the nature and purpose of creative expression.  Students will explore the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs, and values, in addition to the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity, and our appreciation of the aesthetic.

4.  Scientific and Technical Innovation

This context deals with questions of how we understand the world in which we live.  Students will explore the natural world and its laws, the interaction between people and the natural world, how humans use their understanding of scientific principles, the impact of scientific and technological advances on communities and environments, the impact of environments on human activity, as well as how humans adapt environments to their needs.


5.  Globalization and Sustainability

This context deals with connections.  Students will explore the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities, the relationship between local and global processes, how local experiences mediate the global, the opportunities and tensions provided by world-interconnectedness, and the impact of decision-making on humankind and the environment.


6.  Fairness and Development

This context deals with the consequences of our common humanity.  Students will explore rights and responsibilities, the relationship between communities, sharing finite resources with other people and with other living things, access to equal opportunities, as well as peace and conflict resolution.