The Learner Profile asks the question,”What does the ideal learner look like and how can we cultivate students to become their best learning selves?”
The ideal learner is an inquirer who seeks out knowledge upon which they think critically with what they’ve learned. They are open-minded and reflective about that new knowledge and they act upon it in principled ways.
The ideal learner is a caring individual who communicates well with others. They are courageous in stepping outside their comfort zones and maintain a healthy balance in their physical, mental, academic, and emotional lives.
Not just for primary students
There seems to be a misconception that the Learner Profile is great for primary students but loses its relevance for older students. As students move up into the higher grades in their MYP and DP classes, there is more of a focus on Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills. This is most likely because the ATLs have a strong focus on academics — they are, after all, skills related specifically to improving learning. Academics.
However, the teenage years are when students learn who they want to be when they grow up – not only what professional they want to have, but specifically who they will become. What sort of person they will be. Will they be kind? Will they be inquisitive? The teenage years are the years of self-discovery, and so I would argue that the learner profile is even more essential when teaching teenagers.
It's the Ying & Yang - It's balance!
In some ways, the learner profile is about who the students will become as scholars and who they will become as people.
However, all the learner profile traits interact with each other, and so you can’t really make a dichotomy from them. Case in point, to have international mindedness, you need to be open-minded when meeting new people. Yes. And when you are researching new information, you need to be principled and cite your work correctly, Yes.
Just as the learner profile wants students to be balanced, we need to be balanced in teaching them to students. Just as we want to teach in-text citations to be principled, we also want build bullying-free classrooms in which students are caring towards each other.
I made these MYP / DP Learner Profile posters for our middle and upper school programmes as a reminder that the Learner Profile is relevant for all ages. They’ve been hanging in different classrooms for the past few years because they are timeless classics.
If you’d like your own set, please click the image below.