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Homepage Our People CISK Talk Keith Interview: How can students be successful in DP?


What is the Diploma Programme(DP)?

The Diploma program is a rigorous program designed for students ages 16-19. It is a two-year program that encourages students to demonstrate a variety of attributes including being knowledgeable, inquiring, caring and balanced.Being the most recognized, inclusive, and universal international curriculum, as well as helping produce the most well-rounded and impressive students, IBDP is popular among a significant number of schools and parents.

*72% of students taking the DP in China attend one of the world’s top 500 universities, according to a 2013 study.


In this interview, we invited Keith McCann. He is DP Economics & English B teacher. How does he feel about teaching at CISK? How can students best transition from MYP to DP? Let’s hear his answer.


Keith McCann


DP Business Management

English B teacher

DP EE Coordinator



• Simon Fraser University, B.Ed (International Teachers Education Module),

Minor: Curriculum and Instruction

• Simon Fraser University, B.A. Economics

• Simon Fraser University, Certificate in Liberal Arts

• B.C. College of Teachers, Professional Certificate of Qualification

• IB Professional Development (DP CAS, DP English B, DP History, MYP Individuals and Societies)

• Vancouver Community College, TESOL Certificate Program, TESL CanadaLevel 1



Teaching Experience

2017.08 to present     CISK


Mr. McCann has been teaching at CISK for the last five years and internationally for over ten years


As a thoughtful, caring educator with a love of learning, he would like to share his passion for education with others. He believes that an active, student-centered classroom with cooperative, inquiry-based activities is best for learning.


As a homeroom and subject teacher, he shows kindness, respect and understanding to every student. He has extensive experience teaching in Canada and abroad to a diverse group of students in a range of subjects including Economics, Marketing, History, Social Studies, Comparative Civilizations, Math, Language Arts and Science.




He has IB certification at the DP & MYP level for a variety of subjects including DP CAS, DP English B, DP History, and MYP Individuals and Societies. He is currently studying Mandarin for the HSK3. 


He has obtained a Certificate in Liberal Arts from Simon Fraser University, while achieving the honor roll for high academic performance.




“Dreams are made possible if you try.” - Terry Fox


1.Since you joined us in 2017 Fall, you have been with us for five academic years. What do you enjoy the most in your teaching career at CISK?


I have enjoyed the opportunity to grow and expand my career at an IB school while guiding students to successfully reach their own goals here. After studying Economics and Education at Simon Fraser University and prior to joining CISK, I had been teaching in Canada and abroad at other Canadian international schools in China.


When I decided to come here, the DP program was already established and I sought the chance to become a teacher in the high school. Thus, I initially started off by teaching a grade 7 homeroom for two years before adding IB experience in DP Economics, English B, History, and MYP Individuals and Societies, Language Acquisition and Language and Literature since then.


Furthermore, I have been a CAS coordinator and advisor, and EE coordinator and supervisor for many students. As you can see, if you are stay open-minded and flexible, anything is possible at CISK. At the same time, I have taught students from grade 7 up to grade 12 and have appreciated their willingness to communicate, participate actively in class and get involved in the community.



2.You have taught several cohorts of students including middle years and DP English B and Economics, could you share some tips on how to best transition from MYP to DP

The leap from MYP to DP can be challenging for many students; however, there are many ways to get prepared and ease the transition.


Firstly, they should select their courses carefully by paying attention to their own strengths and areas of future academic pursuits. Choosing which courses to study at the HL level is particularly important as these courses explore the subject much more deeply and often have additional requirements in the course content and exams.


Secondly, there is a strong emphasis on reading and writing on the internal and external assessments, so they should work on building their language abilities to be able to express themselves clearly and effectively. The MYP program helps them practice their approaches to learning (ATLs) skills in areas such as communication, self-management and thinking.


Next, they should develop their research skills in preparation for the extended essay, and their creative and critical thinking skills for TOK.


Finally, despite the emphasis on academics in the DP program, there is also a big prominence given to being a well-rounded and balanced student in CAS. So, students are encouraged to pursue their favorite hobbies, art, sports and music in creativity and activity, and contribute their time and effort to the school and local communities through their service.



3.In your experience, how can students be successful in those DP classes you taught?

In my classes as well as the DP program as a whole, students need to pay attention to their time management, be proactive to keep up with their workload and pay attention to the subject-specific learning aims and assessment objectives.


Every subject has its own prescribed content, key concepts and contexts or themes.


For Economics, it is important to apply the economic terms and concepts using real-world issues and examples. When answering a question, students should note the command term in order to help them determine the depth of their reply. As inquirers, they will use then use or more of the nine key concepts as a lens to look at real-world issues and consider different tools and potential solutions. This will allow them to give a balanced viewpoint in order to weigh up the strengths and limitations, short and long run consequences, effects on different stakeholders and challenge any assumptions.


In English B, students will develop their receptive (listening and reading), productive (speaking and writing) and interactive skills for communication. So, they need to be consistent in practicing lots of extensive reading and listening to improve their comprehension in these areas.


For writing, they will learn how write a variety of text types from personal, professional and mass media. Therefore, they need to consider the audience, context and purpose to choose the appropriate one to convey an intended message.


For HL speaking, students will have an interactive oral based on the literary works studied in the course, so they must be able to express their opinions about the characters, events and themes in a short presentation based on an extract before holding a conversation in the two following discussions. Students should actively participate in class discussions by asking and answering questions, and incorporate newly acquired phrases and vocabulary in their speech in order to maximize their success.


There is a strong emphasis on reading and writing on their internal and external assessments, so they should work on building their ability to express themselves clearly and logically within the tight time constraints.


In the end, no matter the course, their hard work and persistence can allow them to succeed in DP and their further academic and life pursuits.




4, Our school has achieved an average of 37inIBDP exams for two years in a row, and we are en route for a very promising result this year as well. Could you sharesome highlights of the teaching team or the culture of the faculty that you think contribute to this consistent success?


I believe that this success is shared between the students and faculty.


First and foremost, the studentsput in the time and effort to strive to achieve their best and fulfill their potential, so that they can go to their post-secondary university of their dreams. Without them, this success could not be possible.


From the teaching team and faculty side, I also have seen the hard work of my colleagues to support them in their learning whether face-to-face or in a virtual classroom these last few years. It hasn’t always been easy because of this, but we’ve all managed our best.


The most impressive thing is seeing the willingness of the teacher’s here to give up their free time to make themselves available to support students throughout the school year whenever students needed to prepare for exams, work on their Internal Assessments or persist through their Extended Essays or CAS.



5. This is sort of a follow up question for the 1st question, you have taught in multiple schools in both Canada and China. Was CISK your first IB school? What is the biggest difference an IB school and other schools you taught


Yes, CISK was my first IB school although I had worked in schools using the curriculums of different Canadian provinces.


Some of the biggest differences I’ve noticed have been the emphasis on language development, experiential learning and academic rigor.


To obtain an IB Diploma, students are required to not just study in a single language but to acquire at least one additional language as two of the six academic areas are based on language: Studies in Language and Literature (or Language A),and Language Acquisition (or Language B). This ensures that students will have the chance to continue to study in their mother tongue as well as acquiring an international language. By completing CAS, as mentioned before, students will be able to pursue their interests outside of the classroom in order to learn through doing.


Finally, the DP program is far more extensive and challenging academically than other international schools that I’ve taught in as it extends over the two years of grades 11 and 12, and goes much deeper in the course content and assessments than other curriculums. 


As a result, students will be well-prepared for further success at universities at home or abroad.



Dedicated to providing high quality education in a caring, enthusiastic and creative environment, CISK builds a professional faculty team from countries all over the world, including Canada, US and UK. Many of our teachers hold advanced degrees in their disciplines, and all of them are knowledgeable on IB and well trained for this program. 


Our school puts emphasis on teachers' professional development; we provide orientation and continuous development program to both new-arrivals and experienced CISKers, so as to better support and encourage student success.


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