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Posted on 06 Jan 2022

IB Spotlight: what is the Reflective Project and why is is useful?

In an IB Spotlight back in December (see 2nd December newsletter) I introduced the IBCP, one of two programmes available to study at WA's Sixth Form. One of the Core aspects of the IBCP mentioned in this article was the Reflective Project (RP). 

So what is the Reflective Project? The Reflective Project is an in-depth body of work produced over an extended period and submitted in year 2 of the Career-related Programme. Through the Reflective Project, students identify, analyse, discuss and evaluate an ethical dilemma associated with an issue from their career-related studies. These ethical dilemmas are personal to the student and every year the range of topics is vast, fascinating and topical, with students this year choosing to focus their projects on the prison industrial complex, geoengineering and governmental responses to COVID-19, to name a few. 

So why is it useful?

This project encourages and provides students with the opportunity to engage in personal inquiry, intellectual discovery, creativity, action and reflection, and to develop strong thinking, research and communication skills. This goes to highlight the ethos of an IB education in which students are tasked to think beyond the curriculum content and to develop attributes that will support them in life. Students who complete the RP have had the opportunity to engage in personal research under the guidance of a supervisor. This normally does not happen until a student is at university, thus providing a chance for students to experience university style work before they actually attend. Every year students reflect on their personal growth through completing the RP. Common themes that arise include the fact that the RP is completed in a safe space to learn why different stakeholders come to different answers to the same issue. Secondly, the opportunity to practise a research led, independent project, and finally students appreciate the element of choice: to select an issue that matters to the individual students themselves in life and explore it in detail. 

To end I will leave you with a question debated by a past student and very prominent in today's society. Different individuals will have different points of view, but that's the point of the RP. Is 'cancel culture' justified, given the potential damage it can have on the career of somebody in the entertainment industry?

Mr James, IBCP Coordinator

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