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

As an IB school, OWIS teaches a variety of values to students to help turn our students into engaged citizens of the world. One of the most important values of all is kindness. It is with kindness that our students learn to be respectful of themselves, others and the earth itself.

There are many reasons that the faculty and administration at OWIS believe that kindness is one of the most important traits that children can learn. In this blog, we’ll talk about why and how we teach our students to be caring.

Why Should Students Learn this Trait?

“Caring” is one of the 10 traits to be nurtured in learners at schools that are accredited by the International Baccalaureate. As per the organisation, this value encourages empathy, compassion and respect, gets students engaged in service projects, and shows them the path to making a positive difference in the world.

This value of the IB approach resonates with our own core values as a school. There are many reasons that we teach kindness and being caring at OWIS. Children who exhibit kindness and have had kindness exhibited toward them feel less pressure to perform and less stress in their daily lives. They are more likely to show kindness toward others, which helps create a healthier classroom environment for their peers and a healthier environment for themselves.

It’s common for children to experience feelings of self-doubt in their childhood, but those who attend school in a kind environment feel a sense of belonging. This helps boost their confidence and helps them think more clearly, enabling them to take advantage of their true potential.

Children, adolescents and teenagers who attend school in a kind environment are able to focus better on their work, which can help their academic performance. There is less incidence of bullying, and at the same time, students feel more accepted by their peers. They feel more comfortable sharing their feelings, trying new things and taking academic and social risks.

Mental health is an important issue in schools. Children who feel pressure to be something they’re not or feel that they will not be accepted if they don’t perform in a specific way may be more prone to experiencing mental health conditions like depression.

Problems like depression can plague them their entire academic life and into adulthood. Kindness at school can stop these problems before they become serious, giving children the confidence to be themselves and relieving them of pressure at the same time.

Finally, children who learn kindness in school are more likely to maintain that kindness as adults. They tend to become good neighbours, coworkers and citizens. The world needs more people like this. At OWIS, we’re proud to nurture our students in a way that will help them become better global citizens.

How We Build this Attribute in Students at OWIS

There are many ways that we encourage kindness in our students. One of the first things that students learn at OWIS is that there is no “wrong answer” during class discussions and inquiries into new subjects. It’s accepted to present theories openly and to discover the truth together.

At OWIS, all teachers model kindness with their behaviours. In fact, many of our teachers openly admit that their primary way of teaching kindness to students is by showing kindness. In addition, every teacher has an “open door” policy that allows students to enter and talk about their needs.

Teachers at OWIS also read books to students and design activities that focus on the value of kindness, so the culture of helping others is present in everything from interactions with faculty to actual studies in school.

Children at OWIS engage in service projects and special events, like Kindness Week, wherein they work together on projects that help them understand the importance of this value.

We have a Pastoral Care Programme at OWIS where we create a positive environment for our older students. We also have the “Secondary Six” value system for Secondary students. These “six” values are kindness, respect, positivity, integrity, relationship and responsibility. Ultimately, we do our best to surround our students with opportunities to learn kindness.

Want to Learn More? Contact OWIS

Find out more about how OWIS can help your child learn kindness and other skills to take with them into their years in university. Contact us today to speak with an admissions officer or join a virtual tour of our campuses.

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