Character Education

To ensure all students develop a sense of ownership and belonging, we employ a research-based character education program using International Baccalaureate learner profile traits and approaches to learning skills.

The Learner Profile Traits

The IB Learner Profile: A singular capacity for invigorating campus life

Informed by the International Baccalaureate (IB) mission to develop active, compassionate and lifelong learners, the IB programmes foster a distinctive set of attributes. These qualities—embodied in the IB learner profile—prepare IB students to make exceptional contributions on campus.

Inquirers. They develop their natural curiosity. They acquire the skills necessary to conduct inquiry and research and show independence in learning. They actively enjoy learning and this love of learning will be sustained throughout their lives.

The instructional staff at Cultural Arts Academy regularly note IB students’ passion for discovery.

Knowledgeable. They explore concepts, ideas and issues that have local and global significance. In so doing, they acquire in-depth knowledge and develop understanding across a broad and balanced range of disciplines.

IB students are extraordinarily well prepared for the academic requirements of university coursework.

Thinkers. They exercise initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems, and make reasoned, ethical decisions.

IB students contribute to discussions in a meaningful way. They do not shy away from challenging questions and, once they know the answer, follow up by asking “why?”

Communicators. They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others.

IB students regularly deliver stimulating presentations and drive excellence in group assignments.

Principled. They act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities. They take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences that accompany them.

IB students are infused with the academic integrity that is a fundamental value of universities and colleges.

Open-minded. They understand and appreciate their own cultures and personal histories, and are open to the perspectives, values and traditions of other individuals and communities. They are accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of points of view, and are willing to grow from the experience.

IB students have a deep understanding of various cultures and views, bringing an appreciation of new views to both their academic study and their involvement in local and wider communities. Their international mindedness complements the missions of the best tertiary institutions.

Caring. They show empathy, compassion and respect towards the needs and feelings of others. They have a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference to the lives of others and to the environment.

IB students tell us they bring this commitment to community and others to their activities and leadership roles at university and carry it throughout their lives.

Risk-takers. They approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs.

IB students transition well to challenging university settings and show resilience and determination in their work. In academics, they have the confidence to approach new or unfamiliar subjects or material.

Balanced. They understand the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance to achieve personal well-being for themselves and others.

IB students are active participants in a wide range of aspects of campus life, as well as focusing on their academic development.

Reflective. They give thoughtful consideration to their own learning and experience. They are able to assess and understand their strengths and limitations in order to support their learning and personal development.

IB students have developed an ability to reflect on their learning and to articulate how they learnt. They have learned that critical reflection is an important academic and life skill. 

The Approaches to Learning Skills (ATLs)

The IB’s Approaches To Learning skills are a set of skills that are valuable for all learning within the classroom and in life outside of school. They were previously called transdisciplinary skills because they are tools that can be used by students across all subject areas to become successful learners.






Acquisition of Knowledge

Gaining specific facts, ideas, vocabulary; remembering in similar form


Grasping meaning from material learned; communicating and interpreting learning


Taking knowledge or ideas apart; separating into component parts; seeing relationships; finding unique characteristics


Combining parts to create wholes; creating, designing, developing and innovating


Making judgments or decisions based on chosen criteria; standards and conditions

Dialectical Thought

Thinking about and understanding two or more different points of view at the same time


Analyzing one’s own and others’ thought processes; thinking about how one thinks and learns.

Accepting Responsibility

Taking on and completing tasks; being willing to assume a share of the responsibility

Respecting Others

Listening sensitively to others; making decisions based on fairness and equality; recognizing that others’ beliefs, viewpoints, religions and ideas may be different and stating one’s own opinion without hurting others


Working together in a group; being courteous to others, sharing materials; taking turns

Resolving Conflict

Listening carefully to others; compromising; being fair

Group Decision-Making

Listening to others; discussing ideas; asking questions; working towards consensus

Adopting a Variety of Group Roles

Understanding what behavior is appropriate in a given situation and act accordingly


Listening to directions; listening to others; listening to information


Speaking clearly, expressing ideas clearly and logically


Reading a variety of sources for information and pleasure; and comprehending what has been read


Recording information and observations; taking notes and paraphrasing; keeping a journal or record


Interpreting and analyzing visuals and multimedia; understanding how they convey ideas, values and beliefs; making informed choices about personal viewing experiences


Constructing visuals and multimedia for a range of purposes and audiences

Non-Verbal Communication

Recognizing the meaning of visual and kinesthetic communication

Gross Motor Skills

Exhibiting skills in which groups of large muscles are used

Fine Motor Skills

Exhibiting skills in which precision in small muscle systems is required

Spatial Awareness

Displaying a sensitivity to the position of objects in relation to oneself or each other


Planning and carrying out activities effectively

Time Management

Using time effectively and appropriately


Engaging in personal behavior that avoids placing oneself or others in danger or at risk.

Healthy Lifestyle

Making informed choices to achieve a balance in nutrition, rest, relaxation, health and exercise

Codes of Behavior

Knowing and applying the appropriate rules and procedures of groups of people

Formulating Questions

Identifying what one wants to know and asking compelling and relevant questions


Using all of the senses to notice relevant details


Developing a course of action and devising ways to find out necessary information

Collecting Data

Gathering information from a variety of first-second-hand sources

Recording Data

Describing and recording information in a variety of ways

Organizing Data

Sorting and categorizing information and arranging in understandable forms

Interpreting Data

Drawing conclusions from relationships and patterns that emerge from data

Presenting Research Findings

Communicating what is learned; choosing appropriate media.

At CAACS, we both directly teach these skills and also embed them into our learning units to afford scholars the opportunity to apply and sharpen these skills.  Professors formally and informally assess these skills and provide scholars with feedback. Scholars reflect on their development of these skills and recognize their growth.  The ATL skills provide a solid foundation for learning independently and with others.

Parents can support the use of these skills outside of school by referring to them with their children and the community. The more purposeful, guided opportunities students have to use them, the more skilled they become in their use.