The final of the IBO’s “Position Papers”, this one on the Learner Profile, is a bit of an eye-opener — and something we should all reflect on. Here’s what I got out of it:
1. International Mindedness (“…the motivation and ability to study issues from different national and cultural perspectives.”) is the one thing that makes the IB special.
2. The Learner Profile therefore exists to further International Mindedness, although it should also promote the “development of a confident and critical learner.”
3. So far, the Learner Profile has been applied flexibly to meet new demands (like service learning).
4. The Learner Profile is inescapably an Enlightenment document, and is therefore unavoidably rooted in Western liberal culture.
5. The definition of International Mindedness in (1) is, itself, a manifestation of a sort of empathy. As I like to think of it (mathematically, of course),
international mindedness = empathy + human geography
Therefore, the deepest question we face is, how do we enable children to develop empathy for others?