Guess the Learner Profiles – Recap

Over the past few weeks, I have been finding Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr using Compfight and FlickrCC that I felt represented the 10 attributes of the IB Learner Profile. Check out the original posts – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 –  and the subsequent discussion in the comments.

I’ve had a great time completing this activity. I originally envisioned this as an Advisory activity,with the outcomes of making the Learner Profile more relevant to students and giving them a sense of ownership of these (possibly) abstract concepts, as well as teaching students about Creative Commons, Flickr and various CC search engines. I’ve realized that this is way to big to be done in total by students learning about the Learner Profile. It took a lot of time and effort to think of and locate meaningful and appropriate visualizations of the 10 attributes. I think the hardest part was trying to strike that balance between literal and abstract representation. This really drives home the power, the importance and the difficulty of teaching visual literacy.

Okay, so here are my interpretations of my Learner Profile images. Feel free to comment below.

Guess the Learner Profile

Top Image: Knowledgeable – One of the most literal images of the series. What represents knowledge like a big ol’ stack of books?
Bottom Image: Thinker – I was going for a primate version of Rodin’s The Thinker.


Guess the LP pt 2

Left Image: Risk Taker – Another pretty literal image.
Right Image: Reflective – I was inspired by the adage “The eyes are the window to the soul.” To be reflective one needs to be able to look inside oneself, to stare at one’s own soul.


Guess the LP pt 3 Resize

Top Image: Principled – This is probably the biggest stretch of the lot. When I think of principled, I think of having firm beliefs and strong ideals. To me, the pillars of the pier represent the principles that support your beliefs.
Bottom Image: Balanced – This one was for Adrienne, my aspiring yogini friend.


Guess the LP pt 4

Left Image: Caring – Living in Tanzania for 4 years, this image really resonated with me. It is such a common sight to see young children caring for even younger siblings. I love the title of this image as well: He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brother!
Right Image: Open Minded – In order to be the architect/builder responsible for this building, you have to be pretty open minded! In my opinion, this is the weakest image of the group but I struggled with how to visualize open-minded. I thought of merging the old with the new (an old Japanese woman in kimono talking on her iPhone, for example) but couldn’t find the right image.


Guess the LP pt 5

Top Image: Inquirer – The raw curiosity of the boy peeking under the fence gets to me. What’s he looking at? I want to know!
Bottom Image: Communicator – This one was much harder to find than I thought it was going to be. I was initially looking for a multi-tasker – maybe somebody talking on their mobile while sitting at a cafe IM-ing with somebody else – but couldn’t find the rght image. I then decided on this image. I liked that it was lo-tech and that he is listening rather than speaking.

I have placed the hi-res versions on Flickr. Each pair of photos will print out on a single A4 sheet. Feel free to use them as you see fit. Or, even better, add your or your students’ interpretations to Flickr as well so that we can all play “Guess the Learner Profile”. If there’s interest we can get a Flickr group started.

Guess the Learner Profiles, pt. 1

The IB Learner Profile is pretty important, if you teach in an IB program(me). Heck, it’s pretty important even if you don’t. Who doesn’t want their students to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk takers, balanced or reflective?

I’ve been trying to push this idea for an advisory lesson but with no luck so far: ask students to search for CC licensed photos that represent the IB Learner Profile. This would get the students really thinking about what each of those terms mean and how they can best represent those ideals. It would also be an excellent way of introducing Creative Commons to students (and teachers).

I thought I’d give it a try myself. My initial attempts have been more on the literal side so they might be easy. Can you guess the Learner Profiles? 

Guess the Learner Profile Guess the Learner Profile

Twitter, Professional Development and MYP

This has to be the best weekend for all-around professional development – bar my MYP Workshop Leader Training – that I’ve ever had. And the best part: I very rarely left the comfort of my house. With the 21st Century Learning (#21CHK)  conference taking place in Hong Kong and the MYP Workshops (#MYP) taking place in Bangkok, I had my two main areas of interest covered. Add to that the webinar given by Dr. Helen Barret on e-portfolios, sponsored by Classroom 2.0, and I was set.

The MYP Octagon

This is by far the liveliest Twitter discussion on MYP I have ever seen. One aspect stood out in particular: How does MYP prepare students for Theory of Knowledge in the Diploma Program? Eric MacKnight weighed in with his feelings on his blog and he bring up some very good points about the implementation of TOK. A major concern is that “students have little or no experience thinking about the sort of issues that arise in TOK.” His solution:

So let’s solve two problems at once. A weekly or biweekly ATL course in the Middle Years program would provide an opportunity to address learning habits and skills explicitly, and to engage in the kind of age-appropriate discourse that would give students invaluable practice thinking about how they think, so that when they arrived for their first TOK class in Grade 11 they would resemble fish in water, instead of deer in headlights.

This is a very logical solution for the TOK issue except, as my friend and (ex-) colleague Adrienne pointed out “the idea of ATL as [a] separate course is directly in opposition of philosophy of MYP’s AOIs.” (emphasis added)

The MYP, when practiced conscientiously, is a very good program. It has taken me years to be able to write that sentence – when I first laid eyes on it in 2002, I hated the MYP. Part of the problem I had, I realize now, was that I was looking at it from a Diploma Program point-of-view. There were too many things that I felt it didn’t do to prepare my students for the content -heavy IB Diploma. I didn’t buy in fully to Interdisciplinary Units (IDUs). I didn’t fully understand the importance or centrality of the Areas of Interaction (AOIs). (In my defense, neither did very many other people. With the recent release of the document “From Principles to Practice” (.pdf 1.26 MB) it has become much clearer. This is a must read – cover to cover – if you are an MYP teacher.) In short, I was teaching my MYP courses like they were Diploma courses.

The MYP is not designed to be a pre-IB Diploma course. It’s organization and structure do not explicitly follow from or lead into the Diploma Program**. The only thing that seemingly binds them is the IB Learner Profile. But if you teach MYP for the sake of MYP, if you use the AOIs to give focus to your units, if you use significant concepts to forge links between subject areas, if you strive to integrate the Approaches to Learning skills into every lesson, students will be well prepared to tackle any content-focused Diploma course, including Theory of Knowledge.

Thanks to @melanievrba, @krea_frobro747, @BrianLockwood, @ericmacknight, and  @amichetti for a fantastic discussion. I hope we can do this again!

** – While the organization and structures of all three IB levels (including PYP) are all explicitly different, I would like to see the introduction of a common vocabulary between the three programs. That would make everybody’s life so much easier!