Many times students will ask, "Who even uses this [fill in the blank with the skill or concept being taught] in the real world?" or "I'm not going to be a [insert profession in the blank], so why is this important?" It can be hard to help see the value of what they are learning when there are so many other things going on in their lives. This is why it is important that we surround our students with examples of individuals who are living the IB Learner Profile or take part in a subject area that they usually do not associate with them.
Take for example John Urschel - a guard and center for the Baltimore Ravens. While many know him for his moves on the football field, they don't know that he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT while playing for the NFL. Urschel is the embodiment of the Learner Profile. He is undoubtedly knowledgeable, both about the physics behind football and mathematics, as well as a thinker, co-authoring a paper in 2015 entitled "A cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fieldler Vector of Graph Laplacians." Urschel is also a risk-taker, always trying new strategies, both in mathematics and football, and then reflecting on how to use them effectively to improve. Additionally, he is caring, giving back to his community through charitable events. He finally is the embodiment of balanced - balancing his professional, academic and personal relationships, as well as his physical and mental well-being.
One way we can help our student or child see the relevancy of what they are learning to their lives now or in the future is to discuss with them real-world thinkers in their daily lives, whether in the media or in their neighborhood. By talking with students about the connections to the attributes in the Learner Profile or links to Global Contexts, we can support them make relevant connections.
For more ideas for how to discuss these elements with you child or student, check out the Parent Resources page or visit the MYP Student page with them.
Ms. Belzyt is the MYP Coordinator for the Royal Oak Middle and High Schools, an IB educator, and life-long learner
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