IB Learner Profile Exploration Series – Session 9: Knowledgeable

BIBS IB Learner Profile Exploration Series

BIBS’ IB Learner Profile attribute for May was “Knowledgeable”: acquiring in-depth knowledge and developing understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines. How do we define the term “knowledgeable”? What kind of person is knowledgeable? Why is being knowledgeable so important? How do we become knowledgeable? What do we do at BIBS to encourage students to become knowledgeable? Follow us as we learn more about the IB Learner Profile attribute “Knowledgeable.”

IB Learner Profile Exploration Ninth Session: Knowledgeable

How to do we define “Knowledgeable”?

To become “knowledgeable” we explore information across a range of disciplines. We develop and use conceptual understanding and engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.

It is difficult to define “knowledgeable” as there are many meanings to the word, Mr. Terry Linton, BIBS MYP coordinator explains. “However, how we think about it in the MYP is that someone who is knowledgeable is someone who is always searching out knowledge. The kind of person that is knowledge is a person who is interested in information. This person is well rounded and has a variety of interests. They keep up to date on current events but they are also interested in what has happened in the past. A knowledgeable person is often reading and learning new things.”

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Pranav S. in Grade 7 is a good example of such a BIBS student, and was one winner of the IB learner profile award for May: “Knowledgeable.” “[Pranav] was nominated and won for being the mastermind champion twice this year. He is dedicated and works hard to be knowledgeable” explained Silvia Venegas, BIBS MSHS Counselor. Daiyan A. in Grade 10 was another winner. “He has been at BIBS for only 2 months now but he has been very involved in many activities. He participated the mastermind and got second place and always works hard to be knowledgeable. ”

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Why Should Students be Knowledgeable?

Knowledge is power. A knowledgeable person can bring meaningful changes to his life and the world around him. There are a lot of famous quotes in China and abroad talking about the value of knowledge: One Chinese proverb says: “ learning is a treasure that will follow its owner.” Wangchong, a Chinese philosopher from the Donghan dynasty said “No knowledge in your chest is the same as having no money in your hand.” Shakespeare once said “Ignorance is the curse of God, knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to the heaven.” In a word, Knowledge molds one’s character; it can lead your life. Sharing and putting knowledge into practice can make local and global significance.

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As a student, learning to be “ knowledgeable” means forming good learning habits. “For students at BIBS to become knowledgeable,” Mr. Linton explains, “they need to understand that the inquiries they are working on in their subjects are just the starting point. That what they learn in school is there to get them going but they need to develop their own desire to learn more about the subjects, topics and concepts that they are learning about.”

How do BIBS teachers foster students to be knowledgeable?

At BIBS, to nurture someone to be knowledgeable is to help a person become a lifelong learner. This is done by our global contexts in that students understand why they are learning what they are studying.

Knowledge acquisition is accomplished in different ways. Promoting reading and helping students to foster reading habits is one way. BIBS uses the online reading system RaZ-kids, which offers digital books that can be accessed through a laptop, desktop or iPad. The books are leveled in difficulty from A to Z and offer a variety of topics, both fiction and non-fiction. Students not only improve their English, but more importantly, they learn and build good reading habits they will take with them for the rest of their lives. Another example of BIBS encouraging reading comes from BIBS Speaker Series presenter, the Radish Detective, who gave a presentation on how to support improved children’s reading habits and gave tips on how parents can best select children’s books.

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A knowledgeable person is always willing to share knowledge with others. Through sharing, he spreads knowledge to more people and enriches his own knowledge as well. Just like what Albert Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” In this respect, throughout the school year we held different activities to show what we learned, holding exhibitions of student work, literacy, science and math weeks, multi-grade Celebrations of Learning and more. Students use these opportunities to explain what they have learned and deepen their understanding.

Learning at school is not enough, however. A famous Chinese proverb says one can walk thousands of miles by reading thousands of books. Lucas from Grade 9, another IB Learner Profile “Knowledgeable” award winner for May, was nominated because he both reads a lot and has traveled a lot with his parents. He is quite the inquirer, learning by himself and questioning almost everything during his travels. Going outside the classroom and school can teach students a lot. As such, we arrange different kinds of field trips throughout the year, these live experiences testing what students have learned in the classroom and expanding knowledge.

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.”—Anton Chekhov.

In ancient China, people emphasized the unity of both knowledge and action. For its part, BIBS has “Service as Action” in the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) in the IB Diploma Program (DP), where students are taught to contribute to community and local society. They visit orphanages and assisted living centers and have raised money for people affected by the earthquakes in Nepal. Their actions make their knowledge useful, meaningful and powerful.

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I would like use Mr. Linton’s paragraph to conclude: “Knowledgeable people are interested in the world around them. They are interested in people, animals, business, science, governments and the world. They are interested in all things and have that sense of wonder and curiosity that keeps them moving forward and keeps them wanting to learn more. Someone who is truly knowledgeable learns that the more they know and the more they learn, the more there is still out there to learn and that they can never learn everything they want to. Knowledgeable people are never bored, they have a long reading list and they are always acquiring more things they want to know about.”