The heart of the IB

The aim of all International Baccalaureate® (IB) programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognising their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world. At the heart of all of the IB programmes is the Learner Profile, which is essentially the IB mission statement in action.

The IB learner profile describes a broad range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success. They imply a commitment to help all members of the school community learn to respect themselves, others and the world around them. The IB learner profile defines the type of learner that Discovery College hopes to develop through our programmes. We aim to develop internationally minded people who display the following ten IB learner profile attributes:

  • Inquirers: We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.
  • Knowledgeable: We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.
  • Thinkers: We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.
  • Communicators: We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.
  • Principled: We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.
  • Open-minded: We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.
  • Caring: We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.
  • Courageous: We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.
  • Balanced: We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives—intellectual, physical, and emotional—to achieve wellbeing for ourselves and others. We recognise our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.
  • Reflective: We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.

It is the aim of Discovery College to look for opportunities to develop these capacities in our students. In the Primary Years Programme (PYP), you will see the Learner Profile attributes being explicitly taught and focused on in all of the written, taught and assessed work. As students get older and enter the Middle Years Programme (MYP), these attributes become increasingly implicit in the taught curriculum and in our Community Engagement programmes. In the Diploma Programme (DP), opportunities to develop these capabilities are embedded in the academic curriculum and CAS programme, however, students are also expected to make explicit connections to the learner profile attributes for themselves.

Teachers and students take the opportunity to inform parents regarding the progress being made towards developing the learner profile attributes, through written reports, conferences, goal setting and personal reflections.

In 2013, the IB released a paper, inviting schools to review the language of the learner profile attribute ‘risk-taker.’ In different cultural settings this term can be interpreted with negative connotations, therefore schools were given the opportunity to decide on remaining with the term ‘risk-taker’ or changing to ‘courageous’ or to use both interchangeably.

At DC, our staff were surveyed on the change, and provided some feedback and rationale for the change in language. The staff decided to move towards the term ‘courageous.’

For example, one teacher noted, “I feel courageous is a more real-world term. When you read about people in the world who have taken action, which has placed them in some jeopardy, they are often described as being courageous. Risk-taker feels more contrived, and limited to school use only.”

Similarly, this line of thinking was reflected in other teacher responses regarding how the term ‘courageous’ more broadly reflects what is meant by the previous term ‘risk-taker,’ and more accurately encompasses the idea of thoughtful action.

As a school, there has been and will continue to be a transition in learning environment displays and curriculum documentation to reflect this new terminology over the next year.