The learner Profile and visual arts

“The learner profile provides a long-term vision of education. It is a set of ideals that can inspire, motivate and focus the work of schools and teachers, uniting them in a common purpose”.

A question I often ask when running workshops (either as leader in face-to-face workshops or mentor in the online ones) relates to the participant and his/her ‘favourite’ Learner Profiles. Sometimes I use images as a way of integrating looking and interpreting as an approach to the learner profile.

For those who are new to the IB, sometimes the concept of these profiles comes as a surprise; many educational systems do not incorporate an over-reaching philosophy and teachers just teach their subject without relating to any concepts and beliefs that run through and across the whole program.

I also sometimes show the IB learner profile video (downloadable at

The idea of the learner profile originated in the PYP where it was called the “PYP student profile”, but practitioners from all three programmes identified it as a set of qualities that could also enhance learning in the MYP and the Diploma Programme—learning that should not come to a stop at the age of 11, but should carry through to the completion of the Diploma Programme.

So – I certainly value and promote being a ‘thinker‘ in art class, together with communicator and risk-taker; also principled can relate to such questions as the moral or ethical responsibilities of the artist.

For example, there is currently a lot of political/social unrest in some parts of the Middle East and North Africa, and my students are creating “art in response to current world events” – so they are thinking through their own responses to what is going on, in some cases to events in their home country.

I think (to use another of the profiles) its often a question of ‘balance‘: sometimes the focus of an art piece may be about caring (art created in response to issues such as poverty perhaps?), but at other times you may really want the focus to be inquiry (for example).

There is a pdf document (‘leaner profile booklet’) explaining the whole concept:

  • Greg
    March 19, 2011

    Hi Andrew

    Sorry that I haven’t checked in on the blog for ages – laptop death took a lot of bookmarks with it…

    Are those your IB learner cats?



    • triplea_av
      March 19, 2011

      Hi Greg,
      Yes as you can see they’re very ‘balanced’.
      One’s Risky (the risk-taker) the other’s Inky (the inquirer).

  • Professor J-La
    October 19, 2011

    Thanks for this reminder about the Learner Profile and some of its various connections to our classroom practice.
    Today my 10th graders and I were discussing plagiarism, appropriation, etc, and I see that I missed a GREAT opportunity to promote PRINCIPLED. We’ll add it to our continuation of the discussion tomorrow.

    Thanks again–J-La

  • Santosh Kumar Pattanaik
    August 22, 2015

    Thank you sir

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