IB Diploma at Grenaa Gymnasium in Denmark
31
Jan
2020

The IB Experience: Developing Creativity and Critical Skills

Jagna and Andrea reflect on the challenges and benefits of the IB Diploma at Grenaa Gymnasium

Jagna Zajac from Poland and Andrea Calline from Italy are two of Grenaa Gymnasium’s 120 pre-IB and IB students. They both arrived in August at the beginning of the school year and moved in at Grenaa Gymnasium’s Boarding School.

Freedom to be you. The boarding school experience

Students explain about life at Grenaa Gymnasium's Boarding SchoolSo what do they think of IB and Grenaa Gymnasium now that they are half way through their first year and everyday routines are established?

A friendly teaching atmosphere enhances learning

“The first thing I told my parents after I came here was that the reason why education in Denmark is superior is that the teachers love students and love what they teach,” Andrea explains. “None of the teachers here dislike their job or their students. If I ask a teacher to explain something I have not yet understood, he or she will explain it again in a different way and without being irritated. It increases my understanding and my love for knowledge.”

Jagna agrees: “I think that the IB curriculum and the friendly atmosphere in combination makes this a good place to develop yourself. The relation between students and teachers here is more relaxed. They do not treat you as someone inferior and this makes it easier to acquire knowledge. Because there is no fear you can concentrate on learning.”

“I also like that homework is always preparation for what will be covered in class. Not the other way round. This gives you the opportunity to recap after class, which I think is good,” Jagna adds.
Watch a video about IB at Grenaa Gymnasium

IB Diploma at Grenaa Gymnasium in DenmarkIB requires both memorization, critical skills and reflection

Experiencing a Danish IB school culture has made both Jagna and Andrea very aware that they come from school systems that value memorization and they feel that for them personally this benefits them in the IB system.

“I know of students who come from a system different from the e.g. Polish who find it challenging that the IB demands a lot of memorization in combination with critical skills. But because I am used to memorizing, I find that I have time for relaxation too. And I value that the IB insists that we must acquire critical skills.”

Andrea has a similar experience. “The Italian system IB Diploma at Grenaa Gymnasiumis good at making you study,” he says. “The IB, however, also spurs not only critical thinking but also to use one’s creativity. This is challenging. You have to develop research questions for Internal Assessments and for the Extended Essay and do your own research.”

“Also, you have to narrow down your scope of subjects to only six, so you have to answer this question: what are your interests?”
Read about IB subjects at Grenaa Gymnasium

“Yes, the IB spurs reflection in many ways. It is an important part of what you have to learn and it is integrated into especially CAS and the Extended Essay,” Jagna adds.

Jagna and Andrea, even though they seem to have quite different personalities, have both come to consider Visual Arts as one of their favorite subjects. “It gives me self-understanding,” Jagna says. “And I like to draw now, even if I struggle a lot with it,” says Andrea who is clearly surprised over himself at this.