IB Learner Profile Series – What does it mean to be a Thinker?

Thinking is considered an obvious component of learning, but what does it mean to be a thinker? Being a thinker is an important attribute in the IB Learner Profile. At OWIS, we define thinkers as those students who consider a problem from both the creative and critical perspectives, regardless of its complexity. In addition, thinkers are students who make reasonable decisions guided by their ethics and morals.

In the classroom setting, thinkers are those students who are excited to engage in discussion and work through a complex question their teacher has presented. Not only are they ready and willing to share their thoughts and ask their questions, but they also are open-minded and empathetic as their classmates do the same.

Essential Thinking Skills for Students

On the surface, thinking may seem like a basic function, but the most powerful thinkers have honed specific thinking skills that allow them to consider complex issues and develop innovative solutions carefully.

These are the four types of thinking skills that students should develop throughout their educational journey:

  • Analytical Thinking — Analytical thinking is the most straightforward type of thought process and is most common in students who are not provided with opportunities to develop their higher-order thinking skills. Analytical thinkers rely on their memory, the resources they have available, and their logic to come up with a solution to a problem.

  • Divergent Thinking — Divergent thinking is the type of thought process that is used when there is not a single correct solution to a particular problem. For example, students weighing the benefits or disadvantages of several possible solutions are using divergent thinking.

  • Critical Thinking — Critical thinking is a higher-order thought process in which students analyse each part of the problem — as well as their existing knowledge — in order to determine a possible solution.

  • Creative Thinking — Creative thinking is another form of higher-order thought process that often works in tandem with critical thinking. Creative thinkers often develop alternative or unique ideas to resolve a particular problem. In addition, creative thinkers are adept at considering problems or questions from multiple perspectives to create innovative solutions that others may not have thought of yet.

How Thinkers are Cultivated at OWIS

The educators at OWIS Nanyang and OWIS Suntec constantly encourage students to think critically about a question. They do this not only through the themes and topics in the curriculum, but also through hands-on activities that promote discussion and encourage inquiry.

Some of the ways that we develop this IB Learner Profile attribute at our international school in Singapore include:

  • Assigning inquiry-based projects to students during their IB PYP experience. Inquiry-based projects provide students with the freedom to ask their own questions, create their own tests and come to their conclusions. These projects provide the building blocks needed to become thinkers.

  • Requiring students to complete the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge components in the IB DP. These two components of the IB DP provide students with an opportunity to dive deep into their passions and expand their concept of knowledge.

  • Actively developing a growth mindset in our students at all levels of learning. A growth mindset is one in which students understand they will continue developing their skills throughout their educational journey. With a growth mindset, students know that through their effort and the guidance of their mentors, they can succeed.

  • Providing students with different learning experiences to develop their thinking skills organically. At OWIS, we offer outdoor, experiential and transdisciplinary learning opportunities to augment thinking.

Learn More About the Well-Rounded Education at OWIS

As one of the leading international schools offering the IB PYP, Cambridge IGCSE and IB DP academic pathway in Singapore, we are proud to cultivate all of the IB Learner Profile attributes in our students. To learn more, contact us today to set up a campus tour of our OWIS Nanyang campus or OWIS Suntec campus.

This blog was originally written in collaboration with Jasween Gill, former Admissions and Communications Director, OWIS Nanyang and Suntec. 

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