International-mindedness is a view of the world, where people appreciate their connection with the global community and assume a sense of responsibility towards its members. It is an awareness of the interrelatedness of all nations and people, and a recognition of the complexity of these relationships. Internationally-minded people are cognisant of and value the diversity of people, cultures and societies of the world. They make an effort to learn more about others, and express empathy and solidarity towards them, in a bid to achieve mutual understanding and respect.
International-mindedness, which is at the heart of international education, is central to the IB mission, and a foundation principle of its educational philosophy. In PYP, the learner profile attributes and approaches to learning (ATL) skills provide the bedrock of competencies and dispositions for the development of this global mindset.
Internationally-minded learners are Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-Takers, Balanced and Reflective. The development of these attributes is embedded in the curriculum and guides students’ behaviour. To facilitate students’ exhibition of these attributes, we award learners fortnightly for their strides towards international mindedness at the TIS Primary School Campus.
Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills help students develop competencies that have relevance across the curriculum and transcend the local context. These skills basically focus on helping students “learn how to learn”. ATL skills can be learned and taught, improved with practice and developed incrementally. These skills, when acquired, provide a solid foundation for the development of international-mindedness. For this reason, opportunities are created for students to employ their curiosity and research skills to inquire about the world, think and reflect critically on opportunities and challenges, work in groups to develop social and self- management skills, as well as communicate their views, while respecting those of others.
Language is also a means of fostering international-mindedness in students. At the TIS Primary School Campus, we encourage learners to speak using their native tongue and to learn an additional language. The drive towards multilingualism is a means of positively influencing students’ self-awareness, perceptions, and abilities, as well as triggering actions that are necessary for affirming cultural identity and developing positive, interpersonal relationships.
An internationally–minded learner is aware of global issues. Global awareness creates opportunities for students to explore their role in and understanding of issues outside the classroom. To keep students abreast of current affairs, we have provided a learning space called, ‘The Global Area,’ where students can gain information about the world through print media, such as newspapers, magazines and journals. Learners are encouraged to stock this resource area with materials that will heighten their global awareness. Parents are also welcome to support us in this regard with relevant material that will foster international mindedness.
Print media is not the only avenue for accessing local and international news. Other digital platforms present great alternatives and last week’s trip to Citi TV was focused on exploring these. Onyx and Opal students gained first-hand information on technologies that help to disseminate information worldwide. They had a feel of both radio and television transmission, and were thrilled with the experience.
The concept of international-mindedness is deeply entrenched in the IB PYP. At TIS, through the development of learner profile attributes, acquisition of ATL skills, multilingualism and global awareness, we are nurturing internationally-minded learners, who through tolerance and
collaboration, are ready to take actions that foster a better and peaceful world.