International-mindedness: the PYP perspective

In the PYP, the attempt to define international-mindedness in increasingly clear terms, and the struggle to move closer to that ideal in practice, are central to the mission of PYP schools.

Given the variety and complexity of PYP schools, and the elusive nature of the concept itself, it would be naive to propose any simple definition and expect it to stand up to rigorous examination. Rather, the IB would suggest that the definition is compound, reflecting a range of interrelated factors that are discussed throughout this document.

However, in examining these factors during the years since the inception of the PYP, one aspect of PYP schools emerges, not only as the most compelling, but also as the common ground on which PYP schools stand, the essence of what they are about. This is the kind of student we hope will graduate from a PYP school, the kind of student who, in the struggle to establish a personal set of values, will be laying the foundation upon which international-mindedness will develop and flourish. The attributes of such a learner are listed in the learner profile (see figure 1). The learner profile is central to the PYP definition of what it means to be internationally minded, and it directs schools to focus on the learning. IB World Schools should be proud to send out into the world students who exemplify the attributes expressed in this profile.

The IB is conscious that this learner profile is value-laden and, it would say, quite rightly so, for this kind of learning is what the IB supports, and it is the embodiment of what the IB believes about international education. The attributes described in the learner profile are appropriate to, and achievable by, all primary years students. The teacher needs to interpret these attributes in a manner appropriate to the age and development of the student. That said, part of the adaptability and versatility of the programme lies in what these attributes may look like from one school culture to another.

In the PYP, it is both recognized and appreciated that students come into the programme from various backgrounds and with a wealth of experience. All teachers have a responsibility to assess student development in the context of the IB learner profile; it affects all students throughout the programme. Schools have a responsibility on behalf of all students to assess and report on progress in the development of the attributes of the learner profile.

What, then, is a PYP school? It is a school that, regardless of location, size or constitution, strives towards developing an internationally minded person. What is an internationally minded person? It is a person who demonstrates the attributes of the IB learner profile.

Source: Making the PYP happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education (2009)

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