The IB Learner Profile

The IB Learner Profile

CONNECT, EXTEND AND CHALLENGE is one of the routines that I implement on the completion of workshops for the purpose of obtaining feedback from the participants.

This feedback is collated, synthesised to support my own future learning and used to confirm or adjust my workshops. It is an ongoing process as part of my journey as a life-long learner. As an IB Educator, it is integral to my work  that I model the attributes of the IB Learner Profile; being principled to ‘walk the talk’, to be open-minded and accept others opinions about your hard work and perhaps style, to then use this to reflect and use the feedback to further improve the work I do with others.

Throughout my career I have been confronted with situations where I have been forced to choose between providing an honest answer/give feedback to support a colleague/employee/student/parent or take an easier path where there is least resistance. While it is less stressful to simply agree with the other person, to not say anything or give a grade that is not commensurate with the rubric/grading criteria, I believe that it is my ethical obligation to do what is best for that person, or the school. So, while I may have had positive intentions, it is not always received from that perspective and sometimes can be perceived as a personal attack. My goal has always been to support others to reach their potential, and it is fundamental to my ‘work philosophy’.

Every time I complete a project, or a workshop, and I am in the midst of collating the feedback, I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone appreciates honesty, that I cannot please everyone and not everyone will accept my contributions/thoughts in the way I intended.  I was reminded of this again just recently when one of my Masters programmes students expressed his hurt and anger with me about my grading feedback to the University. I understand his reasoning, and hope that at a later stage, he is able to reflect on this and take something positive from the experience.

However, such occasions I have mentioned are isolated, and as I was reflecting on the feedback from my workshops at the EARCOS Leadership Conference,  in Bali and Beijing, as well as my recent lecture at Adelaide University, I was astounded by the range of difference in the take-aways that different participants have written about.

Therefore I need to share two reflections as they show thoughtful responses to a request to use the CONNECT, EXTEND AND CHALLENGE protocol for feedback.

“CONNECT: Leadership, like teaching, is multi-faceted, a blend of personality, art and science, and it can be both invigorating and daunting. EXTEND: I appreciated having the opportunity to think, discuss and reflect on the various elements that define educational leadership, especially culture and the role it plays in how we lead. CHALLENGE – I am still hesitant to just ‘be a leader’ as it goes against what I believe I inherently am. I enjoy sharing, helping and inspiring but have spent 18 years doing that from the position of colleague and teacher. Taking on a leadership position by title this year opens up feelings that I know I have had in the past towards people in leadership positions – positive and negative. I have high expectations of myself and of my leaders and still feel tension within myself that I might not be able to meet those expectations. This is something, on reflection, that I assume many leaders must feel and part of the growth process of being a leader.”

“CONNECT:  shows links to my current role, what I’m doing well and areas to improve. This workshop expanded my understanding about theories of leadership and how to connect them to the IB philosophy. Shared stories helping me to understand others perspectives, varying situations and many common threads. EXTEND: once again a timely reminder to look after self, keep it simple and be true to self. To clarify and be able to articulate my own educational philosophy, to be solutions focused and to consider others viewpoint before strong directionality. CHALLENGE: I have so much more to learn but need support and guidance in this journey, A leaders support group?”

To conclude, it is feedback such as this that not only helps shape my future workshops for leadership and management skills, but it inspires, challenges, supports and empowers me to continue my work to help others achieve their potential.

Stay tuned for my next blog about Origins Education ( and my work with them in Beijing: Inspired to Wonder, Challenged to Explore, Supported to Create and Empowered to Connect