International-mindedness: A Necessity for the 21st-Century Learner

This article is contributed by Dr. Mrs. Vandana Lulla, Principal, Podar International School, IB, and Cambridge International


As the world becomes a global village, we are increasingly aware that there is but one race- the human race. In the modern age, we must give each other respect and co-exist harmoniously. Our children are our future, and it is our duty to imbibe in them values that will help them create a peaceful world to live in.

Podarites are sensitized to the fact that above all, they belong to the community of the human race. They see the interconnectedness and interdependence with other cultures, making them more open-minded. The richness that exists in multiple perspectives is far more abundant and rewarding than a polarized narrow outlook.

Students engage with their own beliefs and values and reflect on how belonging to a particular culture or speaking a certain language has influenced their perspectives. They also realize how often people are stereotyped based on culture, language, race, and gender. This process makes students appreciate and look inward first before looking at the world.

In IB schools International mindedness is the fulcrum around which the course is constructed. IB learners use this skill effortlessly as the programme aims to get students aware and involved in international mindedness. Education for international understanding is essential for peace, love, and cooperative living and promotes understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all students no matter what nations, racial or religious groups they belong to.

Learning about cultures through celebrations at school on Multilingual Day

What is International Mindedness?

“International-mindedness is an understanding that individuals can improve the state of the world through understanding of global realities and the accompanying acceptance of the responsibility to take action to do so” (Muller, 2012).

International Mindedness includes three aspects

  • Increase understanding of cultural diversity
  • Accept and celebrate diversity
  • Be a world citizen wherever one goes

‘Does some knowledge belong only to particular communities of knowers?’ A question explored by the learner at the TOK Exhibition.

Need for International Mindedness

India has been a place of cultural diversity, and our people considerably understand working with each other. It is because of this exposure to different cultures that we

  • Are Flexible
  • Navigate challenging work environments easily
  • Understand the moral values of one’s own culture to understand the moral values of other cultures
  • Respect one another

Learning how to navigate new and challenging environments in the Robotics class

International Baccalaureate (IB) institutions expose their students to various cultural influences. Due to this exposure, IB learners collaborate more effectively. People often judge one another without completely understanding one another. A person with an international mindset is more empathetic and will independently verify facts without passing judgement. We promote “peace, equality, and sustainability ” through international mindedness.

The learner profile attributes of Inquirer, Knowledgeable, Thinkers, Communicators, Principled, Openminded, Caring, Risk-taker, Balanced, and Reflective allow learners to become internationally minded. How?

  • Inquirer: Our children ask questions about the world around them -and just not in the local but also in the international context.
  • Knowledgeable: Wherever they go, they will be lifelong learners and build new knowledge and connections.
  • Thinkers: Critical thinking skills in a learner helps them to be self-directed, self-managed, self-disciplined, and self-corrected and can handle life situations effectively.
  • Communicators: Knowing more than one language facilitates connections with others.
  • Principled: Underlying international mindedness is the value of integrity which help build a peaceful and ethical world.
  • Open-minded: When living in a place that has cultural diversity, being open-minded is the only way in which one can thrive.

To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world

  • Caring: IB learners are tuned to be empathetic and caring individuals. Such children are patient, reliable, and respectful. The world will be a better place with such individuals as leaders in the future.
  • Risk-taker: Learners who are risk-takers can try new things without fear. IB students discover how studied risks can affect the world through classroom activities, stories, and lives.

Using music as a medium to connect to global cultures

  • Balanced: Mentally and physically strong learners function well in challenging environments.
  • Reflective: Reflecting on situations comes naturally to IB students because they are used to frequently reflecting on their experiences and lessons.

Reading books by international authors helps children understand various cultural perspectives

This emphasis on inclusivity is because we are all interconnected. As the Russian Psychologist Lev Vygotsky said, “A mind cannot be independent of culture; through others, we become ourselves.”

International-mindedness is a skill

Yes! You’ve read it right. As the world becomes a global village, and many travel to different countries for livelihood, being international-minded becomes a skill. PYP, students at Podar International School have been introduced to the idea and understanding of having an international mindset right from grade 1.
Over a period of time, this way of thinking becomes a skill that can be applied to any situation the children may encounter.

Celebrating International Days helps to educate children on issues of global concern

Events at PIS

International mindedness is embedded in the school’s mission and vision. Celebrating events cultivates global awareness and citizenship. The school organizes various events like:

  • Multilingual Day where learners celebrate cultures worldwide.
  • Theory of Knowledge Exhibition enables the learners to showcase how the theory of knowledge manifests in the world around us.
  • Creativity, Activity, Service The emphasis in CAS is an experiential learning. CAS activities enable students to enhance their personal and interpersonal skills.

Podarites believe in the “common humanity of all people”

  • IB learner profile: Each attribute is assigned each month, and activities are planned for the learners around the same.
  • Special Daily Assemblies: The students organize special morning assemblies to celebrate International Days.

CAS activities help learners to understand local and global perspectives


At Podar International School, international-mindedness is integrated into the school curriculum. This ensures the development of international-mindedness in learners and helps students to become future decision-makers by giving them a supportive and happy place to learn.

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