top of page

Teaching the Learner Profile Traits

Updated: Jan 22

A guide for IB PYP teachers; whether you a new or veteran teacher to the International Baccalaureate, teaching the learner profile traits can turn out to be a brain strain when thinking of all of the ATLs and how to get it all to blend perfectly in six weeks.


So teachers, here is your guide to understanding, teaching and modelling the IB Learner Profile Traits with a few text suggestions, of course. After all, mentor texts are a powerful teaching tool for learners of all ages.


Scroll through all ten of the IB Learner Profile Traits or select one here:

subscribe to our yellow bench for blog updates, freebies, promotions and teacher stuff

Balanced

Caring
Communicator
Inquirer
Knowledgeable
Open-Minded
Principled
Reflective
Risk-Taker
Thinker


In the spirit of inquiry and in support of fellow PYP and MYP teachers, I've created these free bookmarks. You can download your own copy right here in my resource library.



IB PYP Leaner Profile Trait, balanced

Balanced

This trait can be a real challenge, especially with younger learners.

You can apply this trait in class by:

  • practicing mindfulness yourself and making time for it during the day. I always find that afternoons are excellent for this - brains and bodies both need a break.

  • planning calm down transitions after break time and movement activities between lessons

  • making "check ins" for you and your students part of the daily schedule. This can be a body scan or using something along the lines of the Zones of Regulation or Time-In Toolkit.

  • discussing emotions regaluarly and stating why we feel this way (ie. This morning I feel really nervous because I need to speak during assembly).

Teach being balanced through these amazing mentor texts:

  • Here and Now by Julia Denos

  • Tidy by Emily Gravett

  • More by I.C. Springman

  • The Good Egg by Jory John and Pete Oswald

  • Eyes That Kiss in The Corners by Johanna Ho

  • Sometimes You Get What You Want by Meredith Gary

  • The Breathing Book by Christopher Willard and Olivia Weisser

Mentor Texts for the IB PYP trait of balanced; here and now, tidy, more, the good egg, eyes that kiss in the corners

 

IB PYP learner profile trait poster, caring

Caring

Sometimes, I feel like this is just the easiest trait to teach since everyone has been told to be caring and kind since they were born. But when digging a little deeper, children's understandings of 'caring' can be quite superficial - help someone who fell down, say please and thank you. I see the trait of Caring being taught more as active and intentional than reactive.


A few ways you can emphasize Caring in your classroom:

  • practicing gentleness yourself. Our actions, words, voices and body language demonstrate kindness.

  • having a conflict resolution system in your classroom for talking out problems.

  • smiling.

  • reframing students disagreements to assume good intentions and doing the same with our classroom management.

  • being a good listener and teaching our students to be a good listener.

  • caring about ourselves just as much as we care about others.

  • having a classroom pet or garden.

Mentor texts for caring

  • A Mouse Called Julian by Joe Todd Stanton

  • I Love Saturday y Domingos by Aima Flor Ada

  • Boxes for Katje

  • Jin Woo by Eve Bunting

  • The Summer My Father Was Ten by

  • Word Are Your Heart by Kate Jane Neil

IB PYP learner profile trait mentor texts for caring; a mouse called julian, I love Saturday y Domingos, boxes for katje, jin woo, the summer my father was ten, words and your heart

 

IB PYP Learner Profile Trait of communicator

Communicator

Spoiler alert: so many kids think this is just about speaking. Being a communicator is so much more, from speaking, listening, literacy and body language to understanding ideas, emotions and how to debate.


You can model this trait as a teacher by:

  • emphasizing listening as a communication skill - so often it is viewed as just speaking skills but communication goes so much further. I like to use the acronym SLANT (sit up, look at the speaker, ask questions, nod your head, track what was said - be able to paraphrase).

  • planning cooperative learning tasks where students are required to work together toward a shared goal as a team

  • using learning partners in the classroom but also changing them regularly (weekly or biweekly) so that students improve on their skills and are adaptable when working with others

  • incorporating hand signals or sign language.

  • playing charades or similar games to teach the importance of body language.

  • include Conscience Alley when reading texts where a character has a dilemma.

Mentor texts for communicator

  • Rocket Says, Look Up! by Nathan Bryon

  • Nico Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka

  • Speak Up by Miranda Paul

  • I Can't Believe You Said That by Julia Cook

  • I Hate English by Ellen Levine

  • Swimmy by Leo Lionni

  • The Girl Who Thought in Pictures by Julia Finley Mosca

IB PYP Learner Profile trait mentor texts for communicators; rocked says look up, i hate english, i can't believe you said that, Niko draws a feeling, swimmy

 


IB PYP Learner Profile Trait poster for inquirers

Inquirer

I think this is the most puzzling trait for children. But when they get, they really get it.


You can model this trait as a teacher by:

  • using the word "inquiry" on your timetable rather than UoI, Unit, etc. From the first week of school, kids will be asking, "What is inquiry?" The teaching of an inquirer starts here.

  • regularly demonstrating thinking aloud, particularly with questions that you don’t have the answers to.

  • providing activities that are open ended and have no “correct” answer.

  • setting up spaces for open exploration. I've seen some teachers use inquiry boxes that serve as a perfect soft start in the mornings (rather than morning work 😉 ).

  • creating a habit of not answering students' questions, but guiding them to continue thinking, coming up with theories and finding answers on their own.

  • facilitating more than "teaching" - be the guide and the support, not the keeper of knowledge and expertise.

  • spend time outdoors in nature.

  • switching from "Who has a question?" to "Ask me all your questions, I challenge you to ask me a tricky question?"

Mentor texts for inquirer

  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

  • I Have an Idea by Hervé Tullet

  • I Wonder by Annaka Harris

  • Zoom by Istvan Banyai

  • Ada's Ideas by Fiona Robinson

  • Ask Me by Bernard Weber

IB PYP Learner Profile mentor texts for inquirers; the most magnificent thing, i have an idea, I wonder, zoom, ada's ideas

 

IB PYP Learner Profile Trait poster for knowledgeable

Knowledgeable

This trait is so easy to apply yourself and notice with your learners! Everyone is knowledgeable about something and this trait gives a perfect reason to acknowledge and celebrate knowledge in our classrooms.

Some ideas for creating and embracing a knowledgeable classroom community:

  • referencing topics learned across the curriculum within and from your units of inquiry

  • explaining your thinking with phrases such as, "I know this because..."

  • letting the children be the teacher sometimes. It can be quite powerful for them to feel knowledgeable by sharing their understandings with you and others.

  • teaching students to gather information from multiple sources.

  • including Show & Tell in your timetable.

Mentor texts for knowledgeable

  • The Emperor's Egg by

  • Iggy Peck, Architect and Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

  • I Can't Do That, Yet by Esther P Cordova

  • Just Read by Lori Degman

  • Pluto Gets the Call by Adam Rex

IB PYP Learner Profile mentor text for knowledgeable, the emperor's egg, iggy peck architect, i can't do that yet, jst read, pluto gets the call