- Why Tara
In 2021, the Junior School enters its seventh year as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, with the Senior School in its fourth. Our girls are not alone. Across the globe, 1.4 million students in 5500 schools in 158 countries are experiencing the benefits of an IB education: over half of which are in Asia Pacific. Central to the tenet of the IB is the Learner Profile: 10 desirable traits and values which define an internationally-minded person, a person who thinks, acts and reflects locally and globally.
The Learner Profile frames much of what the girls experience at Tara, and is a positive, strengths-based approach to academic achievement, character development and wellbeing. Through academic, cocurricular and pastoral programs, girls and teachers are showing and growing their progress in being:
Teachers and students of the Junior School have enjoyed refocusing our attention on the Learner Profile, agreeing on its relevance for both adults and students, and its need to be noticed in each other, modelled, and explicitly taught.
Teachers began the year with a commitment to renew their students’ understanding of what it means to live the Learner Profile. A range of strategies classes have been employed to both show and grow the 10 traits of the Learner Profile. Showing involves the girls demonstrating and expressing their current capacity in each trait, whereas growing involves actively developing that capacity, essentially, becoming more.
Classes have begun by looking at the traits of the book character after which their class is named. As they grow in their understanding of her, each class will analyse their character through the lens of the Learner Profile, asking “What kind of learner is she?” and “What kind of friend is she?”, along with more specific questions which align with each attribute of the Learner Profile, such as “How does she care for others, herself and the environment?” [caring] and “How does she bounce back from disappointment?” [balanced].
Thinking about the Learner Profile is not just a ‘start-of-the-year’ exercise. Each class has also developed a way every girl (and teacher!) can continue throughout the year to self-reflect on how, when and why they are showing and growing each trait of the Learner Profile. Some classes have hung individual self-portraits which will develop into another kind of self-portrait: one chronicling their growth of the Learner Profile. Girls will attach Learner Profile words to the self-portrait every time they, a peer or a teacher notices they have shown or grown a Learner Profile trait. Some classes have started little individualised Learner Profile Jars which each girl will gradually fill with slips of paper with Learner Profile words, chronicling their Learner Profile journey in 2021.
Other classrooms have Learner Profile handprints, inviting girls to ‘high 5’ a trait they have expressed or become more proficient in during a lesson. Outside our new Spanish learning space, there is a display of hanging necklace pendants ‘collares’– each one showing a design to represent one trait of the Learner Profile. At the commencement of Spanish lessons, the girls can choose a necklace to wear which best represents their commitment to either show or grow that trait “hoy quiero ser….” (I want to be….). This is a clear reminder throughout a lesson and allows teachers and peers to also support the expression or development of the student-chosen trait.
These are just a few examples of how self-identification, self-selection and self-reflection, along with the support and recognition of peers and teachers, are building each child’s capacity to celebrate her progress is becoming an internationally-minded person. I can imagine the depth of understanding that will emerge as the year progresses, as each girl reflects on the traits she has ‘collected’ and those which await her focus. As parents, I hope you enjoy supporting this process too. Which one will your family think about this week?