Authentically teaching the IB Learner Profile

Jun 7 / Ibtrove
What are the five most important skills and attributes you would like every student to develop?

 As you think through your answer to the question above, you may be thinking about skills needed for success in school, the workforce, or as a citizen. Although these skills may vary slightly depending on your perspective, you will find that people across the globe are coming up with a similar list. These characteristics may include emotional well-being, social well-being, character development, critical thinker, and kind.

The learner profile outlines the qualities and attributes we endeavour to instill in each student. It also highlights the life skills needed to equip every student with the knowledge and dispositions to promote intercultural understanding, emotional well-being, and a will to make the world a better place.
The IB learner profile is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century. It places the student at the heart of everything you teach. The ten attributes of the learner profile inspire and motivate the work of schools, students, and teachers by providing a statement of the objectives and values of the IB. Through the IB learner profile, students and staff have a common language to describe and identify behaviors of successful learners. 

The qualities demonstrated in the learner profile will look different at each stage of schooling, and even between each child. Individual diversity is fostered and valued, and so there are many ‘right’ ways for students to embrace the learner profile philosophy based on learning styles, and the daily life of each individual student.

The IB learner profile

The profile aims to develop learners who are:
Inquirers
Knowledgeable
Thinkers
Communicators
Principled
Open-minded
Caring
Risk-takers
Balanced
Reflective
Source: ibo.org

Understanding students better through learner profiles

Things to thinking about when getting started on creating personalized learner profiles:

Focus on knowing your students and helping students know themselves: Before diving into selecting a template, think about what learner profiles are for and how you will use them. A template that is created just for you as the teacher is very different than a template that is designed to help students understand themselves as learners.

Think differently about data: Learner profiles can be an entirely new take on the idea of data notebooks. Why not let students use these to track their own progress, reflect on their learning styles and strengths, and set individual academic and non-academic goals?

Give the work back: Learner profiles do not need to be one more thing you have to do as a teacher. You don't have to create 30 binders. Think about how you could help students create their own learner profiles.

Revisit and revise: Over the course of the year, students are going to change and grow. Allow space for them to record self-reflections on a regular basis.

Here are some examples of how you can incorporate the Learner Profile into your IB classroom:

  1. Focus on a particular Learner Profile attribute each month. One of the attributes my students have struggled with the most is being balanced. It’s hard to be balanced when you are in a rigorous program like the IB one. With my DP students, I focus on being balanced in the fall of their senior year to improve their physical well-being, social well-being, and emotional well-being.

  2. Another great way to introduce the learner profile at the beginning of the year is to have your students create posters for each attribute. You can then hang these posters on the classroom walls.

  3. My school got all the teachers on-board to create a school-wide bulletin board where once a month teachers would honor students who showed growth in one of the attributes. We used a worksheet for nominations (and to give students as a “certificate”) and then would post this on the bulletin board near the front entry for the month.

How do you incorporate the learner profile in your IB classroom?
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