Identifying Beliefs and Values - Personal Project
Arushi A., Grade 10

In the International Baccalaureate, students in their final year
from the Middle Years Programme explore an area of personal
interest. It provides them the opportunity to consolidate their
learning and develop important skills they'll need in both further
education and life beyond the classroom.

My goal for the MYP Personal Project was to identify, create and
communicate my own belief statement reflecting my moral and
ethical judgement
. I chose this topic because "defining identity"
was something I was interested in. As the idea, as a whole, was
too broad, I chose to focus on beliefs and values because of the
large influence it has on one's identity. I think that the beliefs
and values one lives with greatly affect decisions they make, their
actions and who they are as a whole. In fact, the opposite takes
place too, as our identities affect our beliefs and values as well.

I believe that it is essential to explore these topics and discover
our fundamental beliefs at this age (as we are learning and growing)
in order to have a stable foundation in life. I am not exploring my
beliefs and values in order to solidify my mindset because frankly,
one learns everyday and no mindset can be solidified for life. Through
this project, I merely plan to explore my own identity and build my
research, self-management, critical thinking, social and reflective
skills while doing so.

The format of the panel was a Zoom video conference. I invited
eight guests, a mix of teachers and students, to the panel discussion
where I posed questions for all participants to answer. I began the
panel by introducing myself and the project itself. Then, I requested
all participants to introduce themselves and why they agreed to
participate. I started with the basic question of "what are beliefs and
values?" and the conversation began from there.

My reason for hosting this discussion was in order to gather opinions
from different people as to why they believed in the things they did. I
wanted to explore the idea of beliefs, values, morals and ethics using
the help of people in my community. Since my goal was to identify my
own beliefs and values, I wanted to use this input to guide me in this
journey. By listening to different opinions and perspectives, I got to
learn about how and why others in my community made the decisions
they made.

As mentioned previously, we had a brief introduction. After I posed
the first question, we discussed the importance of establishing beliefs
and values at a young age, but also keeping in mind that they would
not be concrete. We discussed the validity of laws and legalities and
why they exist. We also briefly talked about the concept of "nature vs.
nurture", regarding what values and beliefs come to us as natural human
beings as opposed to the ones we develop ourselves through education,
environments, people in our lives, etc. Lastly, we discussed the importance
of expressing our beliefs respectfully and consciously. It is very easy to
cause mental or emotional harm to others through words so therefore,
knowing how to (or if to) voice your opinions is an essential part of
growing up.

I am so grateful for this experience as I got a chance to learn so much
about how people perceive the concept of beliefs and values. By discussing
all these intriguing concepts, I realised that it is essential to build a
foundation using your experiences, cultures, communities and other aspects
of life. Building a strong foundation of opinions can help us become a more
decisive, moral and focused human. However, it is important to keep in mind
that these ideas should be malleable and that one should be open-minded
enough to constantly learn, change and improve their current belief system.
I realized that life is a process that constantly changes our identity, so it is
important to know which beliefs and values one should keep and which to
change through new experiences.