Saturday, August 14, 2010

The IB Learner Profile - Balanced

I have written about the IB Learner Profile before and how one of its strengths, as I see it, is that it applies to all members of the community.  The IB believes "we must all strive to put into practice what we believe".  Therefore this summer I started to look at the different attributes of the Learner Profile with the aim of working on my weakest one this year as part of my personal goals.

As I ran my eye down the list, the attribute that stuck out clearly to me as a weakness was Balanced.  The Learner Profile defines this as:

They understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.

Yesterday was the first day back in school for Subject and Team Leaders (Leaders is our new title, we are no longer called Coordinators).  At one of our meetings we were asked to think about our goals for the year.  Our school is a large school with 3 divisions and 3 campuses.  There are school-wide goals for all of us which this year are focused on the curriculum.  We will also have divisional goals - so in my case I will have the goals from the 2 primary campuses as well, as I will be teaching on both of these campuses this year.  We also need to set one team goal which should be connected with inquiry learning - in my case my team is the ICTL team (Information and Communication for Teaching and Learning).  This year I would like for this goal to be connected with differentiation and giving students a choice in how they use IT in their learning.  In addition we have to have 2 personal goals.  To be honest this is quite a lot of goals to achieve!

This weekend I have been thinking about my personal goals.  As mentioned before I wanted to work this year on being more balanced as one of my personal goals.  For my other goal, I would like to it be connected with professional development of our teachers - running more sessions like the Techie Breakies I already started last year.  Inspired by the great ideas from Kelly Tenkely, I'd like to also add Webspiration Wednesdays on our Zug campus and Tech Tuesdays for our teachers at the Luzern campus.  I've also discussed running a professional book group with our Librarian.  At the same time I am very conscious that at the moment we don't offer any IT provision for the Pre School and Pre Kindergarten students at our school, and last year I know I did say I wanted to work on that goal for this year too.   Right away, then, I have a conflict between my goals - I want to be more balanced, yet at the same time I am adding more and more into my school days so I am in danger of becoming less balanced than I already am!  Something is going to have to change.

One of the most powerful things I have read recently, is that for every new thing you have to do, you have to identify something that you have to stop doing.  Basically it is saying you have to have priorities and you have to know which things  not to do.  If there is just a whole list of things to do, and no prioritites, then you will just do, do, do and probably not do anything really well.  As someone once said "good intentions are no excuse for incompetence."

Yet I feel myself unwilling to stop doing things.  I think it is something to do with the culture of the schools I have been in - I just keep on doing, and finding new things to do, and I never, ever stop doing.

I know it's important to work on this.  I know I need to get balance into my life.  

Here are some ideas I have already:

  • Only do the things you are really passionate about and what you are really good at
  • Make a priority list of all the things you need to do and then chop the last 20% off the list as they are the least important
  • Start with a blank page - think of the things you are doing right now and try to imagine you were not doing them but just about to make a decision about whether or not you would start doing them.  If you would not, right now, make the decision to start doing them, then they are things you need to stop doing.
Does anyone have any more ideas for me?

Photo Credit:  Spring Stones by Vicente Villamon


  1. Very interesting, Maggie. I just posted about using balanced as my goal for next year yesterday (albeit briefly). It is certainly an area of development for me, and with a new city, new school, new job and starting my MA in Education and Technology, I see a great need to be balanced.

    And yes, there too are contradictions. All this, add an M.A., add my other personal and professional goals and balanced becomes harder. Looking forward to seeing how you develop this. Lets share occasionally.

    One thing I am proud of already: I have left planning, or asking for POI of new school, preparing, and definite goal making for now. It is hard without knowing your new playground!

  2. Hi Maggie. This is the Learner Profile most teachers need to work on! The problem is when you're passionate about something like ICT it is very hard not to get sucked into the time consuming blogging, RSS reading, new tools trying etc....

    Good luck for the new school year. I love reading your blog!

  3. Maggie, as you may have guessed, finding balance is a major weakness for me too. I suspect it is this way for a lot of educators who have a deep passion for learning and trying. I want to take it all in and in doing so become very unbalanced in my approach to life. So, I'm taking your advice, sitting here right now and making my list. It will be hard at first but it will give me more time to truly enjoy my passions. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Best of luck with Webspiration Wednesdays, they were a big hit with my staff!