IB learner profile

The aim of all IB programmes is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.

IB learners strive to be:

They develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.

They explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.

They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions.

They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.

They act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.

They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.

They show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.

They approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.

They understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.

They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.

International-mindedness in the PYP


There is one compelling component that stands out from the common ground that represents good practice in all IB World Schools offering the PYP. That is, the kind of student we hope will graduate from a PYP school, the kind of student who, in the struggle to establish a personal set of values, will be laying the foundation upon which international-mindedness will develop and flourish. The attributes of such a learner are listed in the IB learner profile, which is central to the PYP definition of what it means to be internationally minded. The IB learner profile is consciously value-laden, for this kind of learning is what the IB supports, and is the embodiment of the IB’s philosophy of international education. The attributes described in the learner profile are appropriate to, and achievable by, all primary years students. The teacher needs to interpret these attributes in a manner appropriate to the age and development of the student. Schools should be aware that part of the adaptability and versatility of the programme lies in what these attributes may look like from one school culture to another.
In a unit related to the transdisciplinary theme “How the world works”, students aged 8 and 9 were inquiring into the central idea “Human survival is connected to understanding the continual changing nature of the Earth”. Throughout the unit, the teachers looked for evidence of the development in students of particular attributes of the IB learner profile.
Inquirers—the inquiry encouraged the students to develop their research skills and become decision makers about their own learning. The guest speaker (a builder) sparked their curiosity about an aspect of the world around them. This prompted student-initiated investigations into why humans build shelters and houses, and how they build them to adapt to and interact with the environment. This broadened their perspective by adding a global dimension, and provided them with the opportunity to consider the perspectives of others.
Thinkers—students engaged in learning experiences that provoked them to think critically about the human dimension, and the positive and negative effects we have on our planet, for example, how to build safer homes, how organizations provide relief to victims of natural events, the consequences of deforestation. The learning engagements all presented the interconnectedness of natural phenomena and human intervention, provoking students’ conceptual development.
Communicators—students shared knowledge, wonderings and insights through discussions, a variety of writing projects, sketches, illustrations and posters. Throughout this unit of inquiry, many visitors (parents and teachers) came to the classroom to observe and were surprised and impressed with the level of confidence and articulation of the students as they shared what they were learning. Students used PYP language in describing themselves as being “knowledgeable” and being “risk- takers”.
As well as presenting schools with a philosophical perspective on what international education may be, the PYP prescribes a curriculum framework of essential elements:
· knowledge
· concepts
· skills
· attitudes
· action.
Each of these is reflected in the learner profile and is a reference point for the construction of a school’s curriculum. One of these essential elements, highly congruent with the IB learner profile, is a particular set of attitudes—appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect and tolerance. These attitudes should affect deeply the learning environments and the personal interactions that occur within them. Through acknowledging and struggling to meet the diverse needs of the student—physical, social, intellectual, aesthetic, cultural—PYP schools ensure that the learning is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant. What adds significance to student learning in the PYP is its commitment to a transdisciplinary model, whereby themes of global significance that transcend the confines of the traditional subject areas frame the learning throughout the primary years, including early childhood. These themes promote an awareness of the human condition and an understanding that there is a commonality of human experience. The students explore this common ground collaboratively, from the multiple perspectives of their individual experiences and backgrounds. This sharing of experience increases the students’ awareness of, and sensitivity to, the experiences of others beyond the local or national community. It is central to the programme and a critical element in developing an international perspective, which must begin with each student’s ability toconsider and reflect upon the point of view of someone else in the same class. To enhance this awareness of other perspectives, indeed of other cultures and other places, PYP students are expected to be learning a language additional to the language of instruction of the school at least from the age of 7. The key concepts identified in the section “A concept-driven curriculum”, each of which has relevance
regardless of time or place, provide a structure for the exploration of the significant and authentic content that is identified in a school’s programme of inquiry

To summarize, when seeking evidence of international-mindedness in PYP schools, teachers need to look at what the students are learning, how they are demonstrating that learning, and how to nurture students within the school community. They need to consider whether students are making connections between life in school, life at home and life in the wider world. By helping students make these connections and see that learning is connected to life, a strong foundation for future learning is established.