The common aim of all the IB programmes is to develop inquisitive, active, compassionate, and caring young people who help to create a better, peaceful and inclusive world. In line with this vision, the IB has created a Learner Profile which includes a list of 10 attributes that go beyond just academic success.
The Profile aims at developing learners who strive to be: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-takers, Balanced, and Reflective.
To celebrate the students who embody these characteristics in and outside of the classroom, we have recently introduced Learner Profile Shoutouts. Every two weeks, all MYP and DP students and staff nominate individuals for one of the 10 attributes. This comes after an extensive reflective process of identifying why and how the nominee personifies the said attribute.
“Active conversation and reflection help the students recognize the meaning behind these 10 words,” Matt Chambers and Ruth Greener, Assistant Heads of Secondary MYP and DP, explain the selection process. “It’s not just the nomination; there has to be a deeper rationale supporting it. So if a student volunteers to stand up and say something in class, it may reflect risk-taking to a degree, but, depending on the situation, it may also correspond in a more meaningful way to being principled.”
Importance of the Learner Profile
When asked about what the Profile attributes signify, Matt Chambers says that the Learner Profile is both, the core of the IB as well as the outcome. “It’s what we want the students to embody on their way to becoming lifelong learners, but it’s also something that is integral to our teaching and everything we do as a community every day.”
Ruth Greener adds that the Learner Profile isn’t intended to be an end goal or a starting point – it’s a continuum of growth. It’s a model that enables the students and their teachers to observe their learning through ten different lenses, and reflect on what they take away from each.
Intended Purpose of the Shoutouts
“We wanted the shoutout to be more of a recognition within the community rather than an award, because you’re not finished,” Matt Chambers points out. “An award means you’ve achieved something and the process is completed. With the shoutouts, however, it’s not about achieving a standard; it’s about understanding that this is a progression and you’ve been recognized as being on this path.”
Ruth Greener concurs, further adding that the chance of all students exhibiting all the 10 qualities perfectly isn’t guaranteed. It’s more about understanding and identifying their own strengths and areas for improvement.
So far, the following students have received the Learner Profile Shoutout:
- Carson Colangelo in Grade 8 for “Thinker”
- Caitlin Jaeger in Grade 11 for “Thinker”
- Sean Jamieson in Grade 12 for “Thinker”
- Iman Naveed in Grade 11 for “Thinker”
- Fiene Ruyten in Grade 9 for “Reflective”
Caitlin Jaeger, who won the recognition of being a “Thinker”, says she feels humbled and is grateful to everyone who voted for her. “To receive the award meant a lot to me because I try my best all the time to help anyone and include everyone. This award gave me even more motivation to keep spreading happiness and thinking of others in and out of the FIS community,” Caitlin shares.
“Achieving the recognition reminds me that each and every one of my actions is being noticed by my teachers and peers. In other words, everything I do is something that could potentially inspire or influence others in a way that would reinforce them into being better thinkers as well,” Iman Naveed, another “Thinker” reflects.
When asked about what the recognition means to her, Iman says that being a good thinker does not always imply that you have a solution to every problem, but shows your willingness and courage to face difficult situations or how well you might assist others in dealing with their problems, not just your own.
What the Learner Profile Means for the FIS Community
Matt Chambers describes the school’s efforts to help out the Ukrainian people as being abundantly demonstrative of the Learner Profile qualities. This is why it is important to acknowledge the role of the community, and not just a single person, in integrating these attributes. “We as a school have to reflect on how we assimilate and exhibit these attributes,” he says.
Ruth Greener alludes to the IB mantra: Live it, don’t laminate it. “This is our way of trying to live it.”
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