Our Learner Profile
The IB Learner Profile should be at the heart of the life of the school since it is the practical articulation of what it means to be an IB World School.
This section provides activities you can facilitate with all members of your school community - governors, leadership team, faculty, students and parents - as part of an on-going review of your implementation of the IB philosophy and mission or as part of a formal self study in anticipation of IB authorization or the five year evaluation.
We start with an activity that encourages a personal connection with the IB Learner Profile. The next activity takes people into a more detailed reflection on the attributes and the descriptors. We then provide an example of how the Learner Profile can become the framework for understanding all that you do in the life of your school.
The photo that heads up this page is from ISD (International School Dusseldorf).
Activity 1: Selfies - My attribute
- Which attribute best exemplifies you?
- Which attribute would you like to be remembered for? Why?
- Pick the attribute that you want most to develop.
- Identify the learner profile attribute that is most developed in your school.
- Identify the learner profile attribute that is least developed in your school.
- Was any learner profile not identified either as a strength or in need of development?
Activity 2: Attributes and descriptors
The IB Learner Profile consists of both attributes and descriptors of those attributes. This activity encourages reflection on what the attributes mean and what they look like when lived out in the school by asking colleagues to match the descriptors to the attributes. For this activity you can allocate a particular attribute to an individual or small group or you could ask all individuals to look at all attributes.
- Write each attribute on a separate piece of card.
- Ask colleagues to write their own description of the attribute on the back of the card. They could do this in the form of 'tag words'.
- Now provide the IB descriptors of each attribute. Ask colleagues to identify the key tag words in the official descriptions.
- Reflect on how close your own definition and the official definition is.
- Take an individual attribute and using two columns labeled 'Looks like' and 'Sounds like' discuss in groups what students, teachers, leaders may do or say in your school which puts the Learner Profile into action.
- Each attribute's chart paper could be displayed and you do a Gallery Walk around the room providing time to interact with others and consider each attribute.
- What might you change so that people might see more evidence of a particular Learner Profile attribute in your professional work (words and actions)?
Making the Learner Profile your own
When you become an IB World School you need to demonstrate that all members of the school community – and not just those taking one of the IB programmes – have access to the IB philosophy and vision. One way of doing this is to use the IB Learner Profile as the Learner Profile for all members of your school community.
The Learner Profile should be contextualized for your own community. One way of doing this is to ask teachers to work collaboratively together to inquire into what each of the attributes means and to write their own descriptors. One school that has done this is Asker International School in Norway. "The teachers have spent some time in their collaborative sessions to look at the Learner Profile in an inquiry-based fashion. This has been a very useful activity because it gives the teachers more of an ownership of something that is already well defined by the International Baccalaureate. Through doing this, they factor in the relevance of the Learner Profile in their grade level in our school." Click here and here to access their work. The second link will not only take you to their work on the Learner Profile but also how they have created a digital citizen definition of the Learner Profile for the school.
Another way of contextualizing the Learner Profile for your own community is to add additional attributes to the ten in the IB Learner Profile. The following case studies illustrate how IB World Schools do this.
Case Study - PIERCE, The American College of Greece
In addition to the IB learner attributes Pierce has developed four attributes that represent its mission and vision to provide holistic education and to “form intellectually independent, morally responsible, socially engaged global citizens" inherent to the core value of The American College of Greece: “Non ministrari sed ministrare” (“Not to be served but to serve”)
Pierce students aim to be:
Democratic: They show respect to other people and themselves, supporting and encouraging free actions and thoughts. They aim to live in a peaceful world where human rights, political and social equality are possible and desirable.
Creative: They show ability for original thinking and invention, challenging common sense practices and views. They use their imagination to explore new ways of approaching life, dealing with demanding problems and producing innovative solutions.
Resilient: They deal with difficult situations and they adapt with strength and passion to new circumstances. They are ambitious, yet realistic and flexible. They never give up.
Hard-working: They give all their power and heart to what they do. They work enthusiastically and persistently to achieve their goals, also being proactive, energetic and committed to succeed. They aim high and they passionately strive for the best.
Case Study - Ardingly College, United Kingdom
Ardingly College, an IB World School in the United Kingdom, has added the following attributes to express their context:
They have illustrated these by a series of photographs of their students.
Case Study - The Independent School Foundation Academy,Hong Kong
The Independent School Foundation Academy in Pokfulam, Hong Kong has the following three words in its strap line: Independent – Chinese – Global and describes itself as “a community of learners, independent in thought and action, deeply rooted in Chinese culture, global in understanding and experience, and excellent in all endeavours.”
The Academy is an IB World School committed to nurturing the ten IB Learner Profile attributes. Instead of adding extra attributes the Academy balances these individual attributes with a set of core values drawn from the school’s Chinese heritage. These core values are focused on building a community with a clear set of expectations. They explain the close relationship between the individual learner attributes and the core values in the following way: “These two sets of ideals, one individual, one collective, remind us that in educating students to make a contribution towards building a better world, we must consider them as individuals as well as members of a community.”
Their core values are:
- Intelligence & Wisdom – making the right choices in life.
- Loyalty and Commitment – to others and to ourselves.
- Respect and Obligation – towards our parents in our role as children, we respect our teachers in our role as students, and we respect and cherish our histories and traditions that define who we are.
- Compassion and Kindness – to all.
- Love and Passion – we give our best in all our endeavors.
- Etiquette and Ceremony – in the exemplary, cultured behavior of the true gentleman or lady.
- Principles and Justice – being principled, committed to justice, and standing up for our beliefs.
- Harmony and Tolerance – we live in moderation, tolerance, good humor, and joy.
- Balance and Equality – in all dimensions in life there is a time for work, a time for rest, and a time for play.
Click here to access their website.
Click here to find a full description of their values and how they link to the IB Learner Profile.
Click here to read the Head of School's welcome which explains their context.
The following article is written by the Head of School, Dr. Malcolm Pritchard:
Case Study - The United World College of South East Asia
The UWC South East Asia have based their profile around the skills and qualities they believe are required to become global citizens and independent learners who will "lead by influence to embrace change and take responsibility for shaping a better world." It is clear to see how their profile is mission oriented and is aligned to the IB.
Click here to access their website.
Click here to find a description of their profile.
Case Study - Keystone Academy, Beijing
Keystone Academy, Beijing, have the following five shared values based on the traditional Confucian Values. In encompassing the IB Learner Profile attributes into their shared values they take ownership of them within their cultural context.
- Compassion - which relates to the attribute of caring
- Justice - which relates to the attribute of principled behaviour
- Respect - which relates to the attributes of caring and open-mindedness
- Wisdom - which relates to the attributes of knowledgeable, inquirers, thinkers and reflective
- Honesty - which relates to the attribute of principled behaviour
Click here to be directed to their website.
Activity 3: Our School Learner Profile
- Which additional attributes do you think it is important to add to the IB Learner Profile so that your school Learner Profile embraces who you as a school are? Why?
- Consider national cultural attributes which you wish to embrace in your profile?
- Which attribute is the most challenging to demonstrate?
- Which attribute comes most naturally to you? How do you know?
- Which attributes do you value in others? Why?
The centrality of the Learner Profile
How can your Learner Profile become a framework for understanding all that you do at school?
The Ardingly Learner Profile becomes the organizing principle to speak of all of the activities that take place in the school. One of their school newsletters has been structured around their Learner Profile. In the case of each attribute a student explores what the attribute means for them. Subsequent pages show how this attribute is lived out in their school. Lessons for all students not only have their subject objectives but also a Learning Profile focus.
Activity 4: A photo montage of our Learner Profile
Activity 4a: Explore how Ardingly College uses their Learner Profile as the main organizing principle for all they do at school.
Use a Photo Montage activity to collate your own visual representation of the Learner Profile.
- Give a digital camera to ten individual members of your school community. Each member will be focusing on one of the IB Learner Profile attributes. If you have additional attributes you will need additional members.
- Ask the individuals to take photographs of where they see the Learner Profile attribute they are exploring in evidence. Inviting this group of people to take these photographs is a way for us to collate evidence of where we are developing each of the Learner Profile attributes.
- From the photographs stakeholders choose no more than 10 photographs. Allow the individual photographers to explain why they have chosen these particular photographs and what each image is intended to say in relation to the theme. You may wish to record these narratives, explanations and illustrations in note form. Questions you could ask are: What do you see here? What does it tell you about the school? What do you think lies behind the photos? How do the photographs reflect a response to the theme?
- As a leadership team consider the photographs that have been selected. Discuss: What do the photos say about the school? What can you learn from the photos and from this ‘through your eyes’ activity? What are you going to change? Which Learner Profile attribute is well embedded? Which needs developing?