Implementation practices and student outcomes associated with the learner profile attribute “open-minded” (2014)

Howard Stevenson, Pat Thomson and Stuart Fox—The University of Nottingham

The focus of this study was the learner profile attribute “open-minded”. The research was conducted at five Middle Years Programme (MYP) schools and one school not affiliated with the International Baccalaureate (IB) in the United Kingdom. This study aimed to examine the open-mindedness of a sample of MYP students and to investigate how IB World Schools develop open-mindedness among their students. Based on a mixed-methods approach, the study included an online survey designed to generate quantitative data on students’ open-mindedness and qualitative data from interviews and focus groups with school leaders, teachers and students. Findings indicated that both IB students and teachers tended to have a well-developed understanding of open-mindedness. Additionally, there was some evidence that attending an MYP school encouraged receptiveness to certain types of open-mindedness. The study suggests that the IB should consider broadening its definition of open-mindedness to a more multi-dimensional approach and that increased professional dialogue could help to foster open-mindedness in students. The researchers develop the concept of the “open-minded school” to illustrate a number of institutional factors which can encourage open-mindedness.

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