Subconscious Development of ATL Skills

Updated: May 11

by Ayra Shaliha Matondang, student from Tunas Muda School.

Being an IB student all my life has shaped the person I’m becoming today. There are certain things that you joke about with other kids in the curriculum that would be lost to anyone who are not familiar with it. For example, we’d complain about the back-crushing workload, the one point we needed to cross the grade boundary for a higher one, also how we get such little time to socialize. However, something that we have always found amusing is the IB Learner Profile and ATL Skills.


The IB Learner Profile are traits an ideal IB student should have to make exceptional contributions in school and the community. This concept has been instilled onto my peers and I who have went through PYP and MYP. While, ATL Skills are skills that students can develop to learn how to learn. They are not attached to a certain subject, rather the skills can be used for all subjects and even projects, extracurricular and clubs beyond academic grades.


We consistently ask each other, “Why is this necessary?”. Even more of that now since my peers and I are doing our MYP Personal Project, and we are obligated to assess which ATL Skills did we develop during each stage of the project. At first, I thought to myself how tedious it would be. Won’t it be enough that I know what I did well and the things I learned through the project? Why do I need to assess which skills I used in each activity I completed?


It took me a while, but fortunately, I understood the need to reflect on our own individual experiences and the ATL Skills helped us realize what we can do better and what we should be proud of.


My Personal Project focused on sustainable fashion, and it was a choice I deliberated on even before the project started. I was set to work on something that I am passionate about and have always wanted to pursue but couldn’t in the past. After some brainstorming, I chose to focus on how I can raise awareness on sustainable fashion and how it’s not something inconvenient nor far fetched. I aim to do this by designing and sewing 5 garments that make use of Eco-friendly fabric and natural dyeing techniques. Going into the project, I hadn’t noticed how much information I’ve retained from researching about the topic during my free time.


It gave me a realization on how ATL Skills are not prescribed just for learning inside the classroom. Rather, it is something that can be applied in every form of learning. Content in specific subject are bound to fade overtime, moreover if it is not in use or not connected to your future path. However, applying ATL Skills while pursuing excellence in these situations let students harbor and develop lifelong skills that can help them be a contributing member of society.

Personal Project is a long-term project, spanning almost 8 months, consequently I practiced self management skills to manage the demand of my projects, school deadlines, time to socialize and sleep. It is easy to get lost in the illusion that you have a lot of time in your hand, while doing projects with a deadline months apart from when you start. From this I learned to be disciplined and developed my organization skills in order to finish everything on time and be efficient and effective.


Laying down which ATL Skills I used while writing my report enabled me to see how much I’ve actually achieved. I am sure that everybody possess a basic sense of the ATL Skills, they are definitely not limited to IB students. These skills, when advanced solidly would help us tremendously to get by anything we’re doing!

About the Author

My name is Ayra and I am currently in year 10 of Tunas Muda School in Jakarta, Indonesia. I'm passionate about a plethora of social justice issues (women empowerment, climate degradation are only some of them!) and I try my best to educate my peers on such topics and raise awareness on social media through various projects and initiatives. In my free time I enjoy reading novels and watching series (be it American, Korean, Thai or from any other country!).

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