IB Learner Profile Exploration Series – Session 5: Principled

The first month of the New Year was a very busy month for BIBS students and teachers. With the Spring Festival holiday approaching, and the first semester of the school year coming to an end, students were busy with exams while teachers were busy with student reports. Regardless of their focus, both teachers and students followed, and continue to follow, one important principle: to be “honest and fair.” This is also what we practiced in January as we examined the IB Learner Profile attribute “principled.”

IB Learner Profile Exploration Fifth Session: Principled

Being PRINCIPLED means that we act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences. Terry Linton, BIBS MYP Coordinator explains that “[being] principled is doing the right thing, it is knowing what is right from wrong and acting on it. It is about having a code or a set of standards that you adhere to that you always follow, no matter what the circumstances. Someone who is principled is someone that can be counted on.” This month, our teachers invited and encouraged parents to discuss with their children real-life situations in which they have the opportunity to be principled.

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In the BIBS MS/HS assembly on the last week of each month, there is an IB Learner Profile Award issued to students chosen for their excellent representation of the given IB Learner Profile attibute in daily school life. For January, we were happy to see Tom L. (G11) and Jaime T. (G10) awarded with an IB Learner Profile certificate for their actions. In fact, these two students demonstrate being PRINCIPLED all the time, not just this past month. Ms. Silvia Venegas, MS/HS Counselor and person in charge of this project said, “We want to provide any way possible for students to demonstrate the IB Learner Profile [attributes]. Teachers can give a card to a student portraying any IB Learner Profile attribute during the entire year. They then put them into the box in the lobby for a prize at the end of the month.” The project aims to reward and encourage students to make an effort to become well-rounded, aligning with the goals of an IB education.

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For our “Principled” month, 6 students were nominated. Beside Tom L. and Jaime T., the other 4 students are William Z. (G7), Daniel W. (G7), Michael S. (G8) and Joe Z. (G9). They all exhibited principled behaviors. Mr. Jose Tapia said he “nominated William and Daniel, because they both exhibited principled behavior. Recently, the 3 of us have been doing a series of sessions on becoming organized and keeping up on our study habits (i.e. note taking, coming to class prepared, and taking more pride in our finished products). I realize that taking time out of their schedules is difficult, and this topic is not the most exciting, but they have been committed. They go out of their way to remind me about our sessions and appointments. They have exhibited principled behavior by following through with what they ‘need’ to do, and putting aside the things they ‘want’ to do. They are taking responsibility of their own learning.” Another nominator, Mr. Byron Chen for Joe Z. said, “I nominated Joe because [he] choose badminton for his ASA and from the beginning of term until now, he hasn’t been absent once. Some other students have quit or given up but he always persisted. Thought he is not the one play best, his consistency make me choose him.” Our Public Relations Manager, Enrique Eddy, was very impressed with Tom L. for: going to the assisted living center, helping teachers move things, always offering help and taking care of others, reasons for which he was nominations. In fact, the full list of why Tom was nominated was too long to display here.

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Ms. Silvia believes that “being principled is about doing the right thing with integrity, honesty and respect. Sometimes taking responsibility for something that went wrong can be quite difficult but a principled person takes responsibility for his/her actions and consequences. Teachers look for students demonstrating this characteristics every single day, whether is a one-time situation or if they demonstrate this all time. One student last week accidentally broke one of the plant pots in the lobby. He immediately found an adult and explained what had happened and offered to replace the pot damaged. The teacher made aware of this incident recognized the student being principled and gave him a card. He will now be able to put it in the box for a chance to win a prize. If this student demonstrates to be principled more than one time he will receive the IB learner profile PRINCIPLED award. This gives the opportunity for students to practice and demonstrate the IB learner profiles all year round.”

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The ancient Chinese sage Mencius said “without a ruler and compass, you can’t draw a circle or a quadrate.” In other words, nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards. At BIBS, in addition to the “reward mechanism” above, we have, more importantly, developed a series of school policies and expectations found in our “Student Handbook”, rich in content, covering a full outline on students’ behavior, academic integrity, health and safety, life and other aspects of school life. Open the “Student Handbook”, turn to the page of “Examples of BIBS Students showing these profiles”, and we see that under “Principled”, it includes several specific requirements such as arriving on time to school and classes, always referencing information from another source, submitting all work on time, being honest, using technology appropriately, being prepared for all classes, adhering to school rules and more.

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Likewise, as an educational institution, we strictly promote and adhere to “academic integrity.” I asked Mr. Linton “what are the basic principles for students at BIBS?” “When we look at being principled we are interested in academic honesty. Therefore, if you use someone else’s work it is referenced. You do your own work, and don’t steal others’ ideas and pass them off as your own.” Our teachers not only are principled models for students, but are actively teaching them be principled. Mr. Linton adds our teachers “Emphasize academic honesty. Showing them how to do research and reference is one way, the other way is to be on time and to work hard.” In January we were happy to see both students and teachers working hard with integrity and honesty in real life and in their studies. When teachers do reports and assess our students we maintain that each “student will not be judged against the work of other students, but against the IB assessment criteria which the teacher will show and explain to the student.” The role model function from our teachers and BIBS principles are our “ruler” and “compasses” for education. With the formula and the strength of the principles, BIBS students and teachers are drawing their beautiful “circles” and “quadrates” for their future, and that of the future of BIBS education.

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