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IB Learner Profile Trait: Principled

According to the IB Learner Profile (ten attributes valued by International Baccalaureate World Schools like GIS), being Principled means being someone who will "act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. They take responsibility for their actions and their consequences.”

While we all can agree on the importance of striving for such attributes, what does it look like for children? Being Principled means you know what is right and wrong and you do it, even when no one is watching. A great example of this is St. Martin, who we talk about each November in classes. He was a soldier who saw a freezing beggar sitting on the side of the road. St. Martin cut his cloak in two, and shared it with the beggar. He did not ask for a thank you, he was not looking for recognition. He just saw someone in need and helped him.

It's not always easy to know what the right thing to do is. Having integrity and being Principled is hard, which is why children need good role models at home and school. They also need opportunities to discuss the consequences of their actions and their effects on others.

How can parents help to develop students who are Principled at home?

  • Involve your child in deciding the rules for a game or activity, and then ensure that they stick to them.
  • Encourage your child to play games that involve teams. Discuss with your child the qualities of a good team player. What sort of person would they want on their team?
  • When playing a game, don’t change the rules or let your child win. Being a gracious loser is just as important as being a good winner.
  • Provide opportunities for your child to make their own decisions, discuss the consequences of their decisions.
  • Discuss how being principled is a life-long commitment and a well sought after characteristic.
  • Read books and tell stories in which the characters demonstrate making principled decisions. Stories like The Empty Pot, by Demi.

Here are some questions you can use to discuss these stories with your children:

How do you think it made the character feel to stand up for their principles?

Do you think it was difficult for the character to be honest? Why?

What was the effect of the character's actions? How did they effect others?

What words would you use to describe the character's actions? 

How could the character be more Principled?

Did the character follow the rules? If not, what were the consequences?

What did the character do to improve the situation?

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