The goal in IB is to engage with literary texts in a way that provokes insight, raises and addresses provocative questions, and develops students’ ability to skillfully navigate the complexities of language to express ideas. To do this, students are expected to immerse themselves in the subject texts and to engage in academic conversations about them with their teacher and peers; further, they must demonstrate proficiency in producing intelligent spoken and written commentaries about these texts. Critical reading, interactive group discussion, extensive note-taking, analytical writing, creative applications, and formal verbal presentations are the things we do in IB.
Come prepared. When you come to class, have the reading completed, with notes that include observations and questions, either written as annotations in the margins or in a separate notebook. Most days, you will use these notes to discuss the texts in a group or with the whole class. Sometimes prompts are provided to stimulate your thinking, but not always. This work is not graded; you are simply expected to do it. Keep in mind that there will be quizzes for the sole purpose of holding you accountable for the reading–an easy 100 if you stay current with the assigned readings. The point is, don’t expect the teacher to lecture the whole time.
Be in class and turn in work on time. The best way to do well in the course is simply to not miss class and to do all the work. If you must miss a class (and as IB students there will be those occasions when other responsibilities necessitate your absence), you are responsible to get any notes from other students. Also, Mr. Nigro only accepts late papers under exceptional circumstances; if you claim to have an emergency situation a parent will be contacted to confirm it. Running out of printer ink late on the night before the due date is not an emergency. In such cases, e-mail your paper…but don’t turn it in late.
Try to work through the texts on your own. Avoid sites like Sparknotes, etc., because you will get ideas in your head that will influence your interpretation and inhibit your ability to apply the techniques required to make discoveries within the text itself. This is one reason why I prefer physical books to accessing digital texts via phone, tablet, or computer–it removes the temptation to surf for information. It is OK to be wrong and you won’t understand everything (I certainly don’t). But avoid the shortcuts–in IB and in most things, the easy way is rarely the best way.
You will find IB English a rewarding experience if you do “what we do” the right way.