US Embassy Foreign Relations & Diplomacy Field Visit

This week the students of the Global Politics and Societies class had the opportunity to visit the US embassy and ask questions about their foreign relations with Vietnam and continue their discussion on Human Rights.

Since last week our second and last GIFA Rapporteur presentations took place this week we had the time to continue our discussions on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, key global politics concepts and different case studies. At the end of these discussions we took some time to research and prepare for the class trip to the US embassy. Each student did some in depth research on the US and Vietnam relation and each prepared 3 different questions to ask the US embassy diplomats. The topic of the question varied from the international relations between Vietnam and the US, the effects of current president Donald Trump withdrawing from NATO and how the current situation with Iran could possibly affect Vietnam. 

When the class first arrived to the embassy we were greeted by Gabriel Hurst head of the Public Affair section who introduced himself and gave us some information on the different sections of the embassy and what they do. We proceeded to meet diplomats from the political, economic, management & consular sections and some of us even got the opportunity to ask the question that we prepared. 

This trip gave the class some extremely meaningful insight into the international relations between Vietnam and the US and we even had a chance to learn more about a number of projects that the embassy is currently working on.

Written by Ines Barran Senin

Putting our TOK knowledge to the test from our subject areas

TOK Areas of Knowledge Knowledge Seminars are underway for us year 1s.

Our challenge this time was to be able to identify two or three relevant case studies/real like situations/real world examples in the subject area of our choice in order to make connections to the production of knowledge process in one of five IB TOK Areas of Knowledge ad to explore the question of the role that disagreement between experts plays in the production of knowledge.
With the freedom to choose, I chose the arts while some of my colleagues picked economics (human sciences), physics (natural sciences) history, mathematics and theater (the arts).
The biggest challenge was coming up with relevant and recent case studies we could use. Both Quanta Magazine and Aeon Magazine are good sources but we also needed to reach out to different subject area experts here at school.
One of my colleagues spoke with Mr. Mirza about the disagreements between the economic models from Hayek and Keynes; another colleague spoke to Mr. Fleming about disagreement sin astrophysics.
This was a great opportunity to learn more from our teachers!
Not only did we have to present but we had to lead discussions with our colleagues and get them to tell us more about what they were researching and exploring in their own areas of knowledge.
It was fascinating making connections between the different areas of knowledge and comparing how different experts in different subjects think and develop knowledge.
I was lucky that so many of my colleagues were enthusiastic had interesting topics to discuss that making connections was easy. We did not always agree but that was the point.
Our Knowledge seminars continue after Tet in G20, G 21 and G29. Come join us!

Making Progress on our first IB DP Economics Internal Assessment

The IB economics internal assessment is about the work that students show the ability to connect economics concepts with real-life examples used in news articles which is no older than 6 months. This IA gives us an opportunity to practice our research, diagramming, synthesis, analysis, and evaluation skills.

My IA is based on microeconomics. I am researching the impact of taxes on demerit goods.

Ceteris Paribus, we know when there is a tax, it will generally lead to price increase and decrease the demand. The decrease in demand will depend on the elasticity of demand for that demerit good. A tax on a demerit good that leads to the price increase frequently results in a black market for that good.

So, what my IA is really about is government intervention and market failure.

In my case study, Australia raised the tax on cigarettes which are considered as a demerit good. They did this in order to decrease the demand which they hope to reduce citizen’s consumption which leads to a health problem which is a negative externality of consumption.

During the Tet break, it would be great to spend time preparing for IA by having a practice of diagramming, synthesis, analysis, and evaluation based on research and own understanding. I hope to come back with a draft of IA to have a productive discussion with my colleagues and teacher.

Minju Jin (Grade 11)

Debating the quantitative tools of the trade in DP Business Management

Round two of our great debate on quantitative tools (unit 3) got underway this week with the Balance Sheet team going head-to-head against Cash Flow Forecasting; Liquidity Ratio versus Profit Loss Accounting; Efficiency Ratio against Net Present Value.

The strengths and limitations of each quantitative tool were revealed as well as those tools which might be used to help improve on the identified weaknesses.
The final winner? DP Business Management participants, of course!
In our debates and debriefs, it became clear that the role of quality management and operations is paramount but without a proper mix of complementing quantitative AND qualitative tools, businesses that might normally succeed may be over-taken by the competition.
And with this final unit 3 assessment and our internal assessment uploaded, we close the door on our syllabus and move on to our revisions and exam preparation.
Look for us in B5 G29.

ESS Trip to investigate Cuc Phuong National Park

Students in Grade 11 and Grade 12 studying DP Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) made a recent two-day investigation of the ecosystem of Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam’s largest nature reserve. The trip saw students engage in practical work, including ecological sampling techniques, and data collection in terrestrial and aquatic environments. 

Through various experiments and physical exposure to the sites at Cuc Phuong National Park, the trip allowed students to get a grasp of this knowledge in real life. Furthermore, by reflecting upon these experiences, students can then enrich and extend their knowledge and understanding of applied concepts.’ – Richard Dang of Grade 12

‘I think that the Cuc Phuong benefitted me because it showed me that my in class learning was applicable to the real world, and that everything I learnt in class I could use.’Bailey Shelley of Grade 12

DP Economics Internal Assessment is a Great Chance to Practice Peer Editing

This past week, DP Year 1 Economics classes continued our preparation for the IA on Microeconomics. At the start of the week, Mr. Mirza came into class to talk to us about his personal notes and tips for writing the IA. He also handed us sample IAs from his previous students for use and reference. We were able to have a better idea of what we need to do, so thank you Mr. Mirza!

In the next few classes, we took a sample IA and reviewed it. After discussion, we came to realize the value and importance of peer feedback. In someone’s own work, their explanations, analysis and evaluations would be perfectly understandable to them. However, through someone else’s eyes there could be mistakes or areas of confusion which stand out more.

This is why honest, constructive feedback from peers is extremely beneficial even before we share our drafts with our teachers in order to prevent a paper going to the IB that does not meet the right standards – leading to the whole grade having repercussions from a marking error. By looking at an example, we developed a deeper understanding for what the IA should and should not look like, but we also noticed good things that we will apply to our own papers.

To conclude the week, we discussed our IA topics and got feedback from classmates. The class chose articles from all over the world, with topics from minimum wage, to price caps on airfare, to the taxation of cigarettes. We are very excited to continue our exploration in the following week where hopefully we will be able to have rough drafts ready for feedback.

TOK Knowledge Seminars are about the Knowledge

The ToK year 1 classes are deep in preparation for our next round Knowledge Seminars starting on 14 January and running in each ToK class until Tet.

Our goal is to better understand each Area of Knowledge by using the TOK Knowledge Framework and Knowledge Questions within a subject area that we take as at the Higher Level or that we are sincerely interested in.

We have been exploring our subject areas and the production of knowledge in these subject areas in order to answer the following question (that was actually very close to a previous year’s ToK Essay title):

“What is the role of disagreement between experts in the production of knowledge in your area of knowledge (subject area) of focus?”

Perhaps the most important part of our preparation was actually discussing the production of knowledge and the role of experts directly with our subject area teachers.

We’ve been reaching out to our teachers to find out different real life examples of disagreement between experts in film, physics, history, economics, theater and any other subject you can think of.

Please join us and be part of our discussions (each one lasts about 12-13 minutes) in B5 G20, G21 and G29 starting on 14 January.

Written by Chloe Chee

Financial Tools Debate in Grade 12 Business Management

To start off this fabulous decade, the Grade 12 Business Management class  began with an ecstatic debate on the financial tools of business. Split into groups, they research and created an infographic in preparation for the impending discussion. In contrast to previous infographics, this activity was in preparation for the final exams as it pushed them to more profound understanding to defend their arguments.

During the debate, opposing teams presented their infographics in 5-minute intervals and a Q&A section was taken place to further examine each team’s understanding of their respective tools. After each round, they’ve gotten closer and closer in selecting the most informative poster and presentation, which will be decided by their fellow critical colleagues. Despite the competitive nature of this debate, each round ended with a cordial handshake and all students left with a plethora of knowledge.

Join us in B5-G29 next week on Monday at 13:05 – 14:10 and Wednesday at 8:10 – 9:10 for an outstanding final debate!

Written by Li Hui Yip

Discussing Human Rights in Global Politics and Society

In our Global Politics and Societies class, we explore key topics and concepts, such as power, sovereignty, legitimacy, etc. Our current unit is human rights, in particular, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations in 1948.

Before the winter break, each student investigated one human rights article of their choice in-depth and presented it to their classmates in a GIFA presentation. These articles included the Right to seek asylum (article 14), the Presumption of Innocence and International Crimes (article 11), the Right to freedom of opinion and expression and 27 others. In these presentations, a number of interesting discussions came to life and great knowledge was shared between the class comrades. 

In addition to the GIFA presentation, the students created a fact sheet about their human rights article, which contained information about the rights genealogy, key concepts that are at stake and the case study. 

This week the students of the Global Politics and Societies class had the opportunity to give their class comrades feedback for their factsheet. As a class, we went over some student’s factsheets together and discussed its strengths and possible improvements. 

Another highlight in this week’s Global Politics class was the visit from Mr. A’s father, who came to visit his son from America for a few weeks. The students had the opportunity to hear about his experiences about missile attack drills throughout his time as a student. This led to a discussion about the United States-Vietnam War and the current conflict between the United States and Iran. 

Please feel free to pop into one of our lessons anytime at B5-G29 to experience one of our political discussions in person!

Written by Josefine Schmitz

First Step to DP Economics Internal Assessment

This week, we split up into partners and continued to have a discussion about the expectations and valuable information about the Internal Assessment. An Internal Assessment in economics enables students to demonstrate the application of their knowledge and understanding of economic theory to real-world situations. Students are required to produce a portfolio of three commentaries based on articles from published news medias. 

Before selecting an article for our first Internal Assessment, we had an opportunity to answer a series of questions on expectation of Internal Assessment and we asked each other to check whether we know and understand these expectations. After the activity, we realized what areas of Internal Assessment expectations we need to know better and the benefit of going over the expectations and requirements prior to deciding our topics. 

Some articles and concepts some of us have selected for Internal Assessment topics are supply and demand and government interventions(taxes, subsidies, maximum price, minimum price) and externalities, concepts we have covered in class. 

Written by Jinha Hwang