The PYP Learner Profile and EAL

The PYP Learner Profile runs through every classroom and is part of the core of an IB education.  I love the focus they bring to the whole child and kids, in my experience, often start to live up to what the Learner Profile asks of them. However the words themselves are long and it takes some time for those words to stick. For EAL students they can simply be a mystery.

On Friday, I started training teachers new to the IB and one of the questions I head from the new 6-7 year olds teacher was, “How do I make the Learner Profile engaging and child friendly?”  I’d love any comments you want to add but here is what I suggested.

It does not have to be pre-made posters that you put up.

  • Use literature– When I taught 5-6 year olds we went through the literature we were using as read-alouds and tried to find characters that were demonstrating Learner Profile traits.  We then made signs and the kids drew pictures of these characters to remind them.  (i.e Sam from Green Eggs and Ham was a risk-taker, the Berenstain Bears were caring, Franklin the turtle was a thinker…)
    • This was probably the best for young EALs as they could at least use the picture to help define what we were talking about.


  • Let them define it– one year I simply wrote each of the Learner Profile traits on a piece of paper and as we focused on each one of them the kids brainstormed ideas of what each one would look like in action.  They wrote or drew what they thought it looked like.For EALs Google Translate is your friend.  We would often talk to parents and use Google Translate to determine the right word in the students’ home language for each word.  They would then do the same activity.


  • Let it grow– I’ve seen several colleagues have sentence strips with each Learner Profile trait written on one.  As students saw another person in their class exhibiting a Learner Profile trait they would add a sticker to the sentence strip.  I’ve also seen this with scoops of sand into a jar and puzzle pieces that go onto a tree. The bottom line is give the kids the power to reward each other and it can take on wings from there.thinkers
  • Charades – Whenever we had five minutes to fill, we used to play Learner Profile Charades.  Put the traits in a jar and let one child come up and draw a trait.  They act it out while the rest of the class guesses which Learner Profile they are demonstrating.  This was a favorite activity!caring
  • Make your own posters.  The kids started telling us when to take photos and what Learner Profile Trait they were displaying.  I would basically do something like this and quote them.  We would display in the hallway and in the classroom.  Parents loved this one!

Update: Here is my personal poster for the Teacher modeled Learner Profile Board.  The kids think it is hilarious.

lpHope your start of the year is great!  //Jenny Jenny (banner)


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