March has arrived and so has our exploration of the IB Learner Profile Risk Taker. Perhaps the term initially sounds paradoxical to our responsibilities as educators and parents. How many times have we cautioned our charges, “Don’t jump off the play structure,” or “Don’t ride your bike without a helmet?” Breathe easy, these are not the types of risks the IBO had in mind when it defined this learner profile:
They approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs. (IBO 2009)
Throughout the school, we will focus on famous and not-so-famous risk takers through books and personal stories. Elementary students will be asked during library class to tell personal stories illustrating their own experiences as risk takers.
Parents can support this at home by linking behavior, personal experiences and new adventures with the profile. Helpful vocabulary might be to risk, to dare, to try, to speak up, to take a chance, to attempt, to seize opportunities, to learn new skills, to challenge oneself to achieve a new success.
Some good books to read this month are:
K-3: Sheila Rae the Brave by Kevin Henkes, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, Courage by Bernard Waber, Unique Monique by Maria Rousaki, Odd Velvet by Mary E. Whitcomb
Grades 3-5: Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, Under the Green Hill by Laura L. Sullivan, Loser by Jerry Spinelli