Open Minded

Guiding Questions

  • Do we value the opinions of others by listening and responding respectfully?
  • Are we open to change and willing to try new experiences from which we can grow?
  • How do we consider different perspectives?
  • How do we build a community that wants to explore different points of view?
  • How do we evaluate other points of view? Are all perspectives valid?
  • To what extent can we be open-minded within the cnstraints of a prescribed curriculum?
  • How do we assess how open-minded we are?


open-minded -

willing to consider new ideas; unprejudiced.

The IB describes this attribute in terms of (a) critically appreciating our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others, and (b) seeking out and evaluating a range of points of view, and being willing to grow from the experience.


What has to be done for you to be open minded?

Look at the following description from the Washington International School of what it means to be a global citizen and compare it with the IB description of being open minded.

  • Which word or phrase shouts out at you? Why?
  • How does this description of a global citizen help you undertand what it means to be open-minded?

Learning Engagement

Malala is a good example of someone who is open minded. The story of her life can be found on her website (

Malala Yousafzai (born 1997) was brought up in the Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Today she is known for human rights advocacy, especially in promoting the cause of education of women. She is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially education of women.

She first came to prominence when she was only 12 years old. She wrote an anonymous diary about life under Taliban rule in north-west Pakistan. In the diary she chronicled her desire to remain in school and for girls to have the chance to be educated. As a consequence in October 2012 she was shot in the head by militants for daring to go to school.

Watch the following video of Malala's speech on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. (If you do not have time for the whole speech focus in on 3:50 - 4:20).


Malala is the story of a young girl who was living out the IB Mission and trying to change the world in her own way. Consider the context in which she was living. Who do you think had to be most open-minded: Malala, her mother, her father?

The story of Malala illustrates how you have to be courageous to be open-minded.  Open-mindedness is about being willing to change and confront things.


  • When do we need to show more courage?
  • How do we assess how open-minded we are?
  • Are there limitations to how open-minded we can / should be? Should we teach students that there are some boundaries?

Quotes on open-mindedness

"It’s more important than ever to keep an open mind and challenge our perceptions, opinions and – often subconscious – biases. I always try to remember that all of our thoughts and choices are shaped by our own experiences, emotions and surroundings. Here are 10 quotes that have really helped me to challenge my perceptions, become more accepting and broaden my horizons." (Richard Branson, My top 10 quotes to challenge the way you think).

10. “We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin

9. “What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.” – C.S. Lewis

8. “We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” – J.K Rowling

7. “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open.” – Frank Zappa

6. “Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both before we commit ourselves to either.” – Aesop

5. “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.” – Gloria Steinem

4. “Every single event in life is an opportunity to choose love over fear.”  – Oprah Winfrey

3. “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.” – Maya Angelou

2. “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.” – Albert Einstein

1. “Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” – Mark Twain

I hope these quotes have left you feeling more open-minded. How do you try to challenge your thoughts, opinions and perceptions?

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