The TMS learner attributes are the TMS values and mission statements translated into a set of five descriptions for the 21st Century learner. These attributes should infuse all elements of the education, as well as the culture, provided in all of our schools.
In this light, the policy provides a vision of education. It is a set of ideals of the TMS student that is intended to inspire, motivate and focus the work of school Heads and teachers, with the aim to offer international-standard education. By referring to this policy, it is intended that teachers will be able to draw on a consistent structure of aims and values and an overarching concept of ‘our students’. The TMS learner attributes are important therefore, and lie at the heart of what all schools do, as a clear and concise statement of the aims and values of the education we provide at TMS.
Aims of this Policy
The attributes of the TMS learner define the type of learner that TMS hopes will emerge by studying in our schools, a learner who continues to learn well after leaving school. The TMS learner attributes form the common ground on which all TMS schools stand, and contains the essence of what they are about.
The aims of this policy are to:
- Promote the education of the whole person, emphasising intellectual, personal, emotional and social growth through all domains of knowledge.
- Focus attention on the dynamic combination of knowledge, skills, independent critical thinking and creative thought as underlying principles of educating the whole person
- Place the TMS learner attributes at the centre of all we do in our schools
- Describe a map of a learning journey for all TMS students, focusing attention on the processes and the outcomes of learning
- To provide a clear and explicit statement of what is expected of students as outcomes of learning
The Learner Attributes
Confident in working with information and ideas – their own and those of others. Millennials are confident, secure in the knowledge, unwilling to take things for granted and ready to take intellectual risks. They are keen to explore and evaluate ideas and arguments in a structured, critical and analytical way. They are able to communicate and defend views and opinions as well as respect those of others.
Responsible for themselves, responsive to and respectful of, others. Millennials take ownership of their learning, set targets and insist on intellectual integrity. They are collaborative and supportive. They understand that their actions have impacts on others and on the environment. They appreciate the importance of culture, context and community.
Reflective as learners, developing their ability to learn. Millennials understand themselves as learners. They are concerned with the processes as well as the products of their learning and develop the awareness and strategies to be lifelong learners.
Innovative and equipped for new and future challenges. Millennials welcome new challenges and meet them resourcefully, creatively and imaginatively. They are capable of applying their knowledge and understanding to solve new and unfamiliar problems. They can adapt flexibly to new situations requiring new ways of thinking.
Engaged intellectually and socially, ready to make a difference. Millennials are alive with curiosity, embody a spirit of enquiry and want to dig more deeply. They are keen to learn new skills and are receptive to new ideas. They work well independently, but also with others. They are equipped to participate constructively in society and the economy – locally, nationally and globally.
Putting into Practice Actions to Develop Learner Attributes
It is life in school as a whole that provides opportunities for students to develop the TMS learner attributes, brought about through all student activities, both academic and non-academic, for which the school Head and the teachers take responsibility since they all have an impact on student learning.
The values and attitudes of the whole school community underpin the culture and ethos of a TMS school and are significant in shaping the future of our students. In a school that has a commitment to the values and qualities inherent in the Learner Attributes, these values and qualities should be clearly apparent in classroom and assessment practices, the daily life, management and leadership of the school.
As such, school Heads and teachers should use the Learner Attributes to provide a shared vision that will encourage dialogue and collaboration among teachers and management about how to create the best environment for learning in the school.
School Heads must critically evaluate their learning environment and make the changes necessary to enable all its students and teachers to work towards developing the values and qualities of the attributes. Such changes should lead to a truly collaborative learning environment and the strengthening of professionalism among the teachers.T
he following questions should be used by school Heads and teachers to check the extent to which teachers, teaching, classrooms and the whole school support students to develop the Learner Attributes:
- Is it possible to create more experiences and opportunities in the classroom that support students to be active and independent learners?
- How much attention do we pay to how students interact with other students in group-work activities?
- Could we give more time to helping students work effectively as part of a team?
- Could we create more opportunities to discuss the ethical issues that arise in the subject(s) we teach in our curriculum?
- How well do we model empathy, compassion and respect for others in our classrooms and around the school?
- Informative assessment tasks, do we provide students with enough opportunities to take intellectual risks, and then support them in taking such risks?
- To what extent does the range of assessment strategies we use meet the diverse needs of students and encourage creative and critical thinking?
- Can we provide time for students to reflect on an assessment task and what they have learnt from it?
- What aspects of student development are we reporting on?
Management and Leadership
- Do all our teachers see themselves as responsible for the nurturing of lifelong learners?
- What is the quality of interaction between students and teachers?
- Does the structure of the school day and the timetable facilitate the development of the learner as a 21st Century learner?
- Are support structures in place to oversee the personal, social and emotional welfare of students, as well as their academic development?
- Are students empowered to take responsibility for their own learning?
- Are we investing appropriately in on-going professional development for our teachers?
All TMS teachers should be willing to explore and share ideas and practices. In this way, we aim to support our teachers as innovative and creative teachers able to play a significant role in developing learner attributes.
To facilitate the sharing of practices and experiences in the realisation of Learner Attributes, school Heads should provide opportunities for teachers to:
- Observe each other’s teaching
- Reflect on, and discuss classroom experiences
- Read and discuss texts and research on education
- Experiment with elements of practice
- Innovate in teaching
Successful implementation of the TMS Learner Attributes in a school should be evident from all teachers experiencing a learning environment in which the aims and values of TMS are strongly evident. We all must strive to put into practice the school ethos.
Monitoring for the TME Learner Attributes
In all schools, teachers are required to assess and report on progress in the development of the attributes of the TMS learner. This must be recognised in report cards and any other records or variety of ways that school Heads choose to add to information about student development.
Each school Head should reflect on the success of the implementation of the Learner Attributes in the school. To support this, all curriculums have been developed to support teachers in addressing the need for developing the Learner Attributes. These attributes should be developed through the approaches that the teachers take to teaching their subjects, and the whole school approach to ‘learning beyond the classroom’, extra-curricular and co-curricular learning.
Gathering Information about Learner Attributes
Listening to what students have to say about their learning should be the starting point for generating records of developing learner attributes. We suggest that schools develop ways for doing this, which might include inventories and other evaluation tools:
Learner inventories provide students with on-going opportunities to reflect on, and talk about, themselves as learners. These opportunities help students to develop their self-knowledge, vocabulary about learning and confidence. They should be used at the beginning of the school year, but they must also be used throughout the students’ courses of study; the frequency of this should be decided by the school Head and the subject teachers, based on local contexts.
Each new chapter of study provides a useful opportunity to explore individual attributes. For example, at the beginning of a new chapter in chemistry, ask students to reflect on, and then order, the following choices about how they will approach their learning of the topics in the chapter:
Schools should also consider:
Social inventories – these will provide the school with information for assessing students’ social competence (responsibility and respectfulness towards others).
Interest inventories – these offer a variety of insights into students likes and dislikes, interests and lives, which tell us more about their perceived confidence and promote reflection.
From such inventories, teachers should plan learning activities that engage and motivate students and which support their development of our Learner Attributes.
Profiling Learner Attributes
Schools should use observation and/or assessment information to help identify each student’s developmental level and particular challenges in meeting the expectation we set with the Learner Attributes.
School Heads should consider using a profiling approach (any format – table or other can be used). An example is provided below: