The Winpenny School has been implementing the IPC for a number of years and Fieldwork Education regularly provides a variety of Professional Learning opportunities for its teachers to improve and grow. Earlier in 2019, I was fortunate to be invited to study on the 'Implementing the IPC' online course and I have noted the significant impact that it has had on my teaching practice and the quality of learning that occurs in my classroom.
While almost all of our students are Mexican, their level of English is very high and we have shared several conversations throughout the year about my British accent and vocabulary compared to their often American-sounding English! Since beginning to teach with the IPC, I have seen how the celebration of languages and cultures from the students’ home countries really helps them to feel ownership over their own learning. After taking the course, I have encouraged new ways of getting the students to celebrate their own cultures through a Portuguese lesson for the class, given by a new student from Brazil and also a concert given by another recently-arrived student sharing his guitar-playing talents. I witnessed firsthand how it helped the students to feel part of the group and welcomed.
Furthermore, one of the things that I enjoyed most about the course was connecting with teachers from around the world. I was very happy to collaborate with a teacher who works in Germany but originally comes from a village just a few miles from my hometown in Northumberland. The focus of the course on International Goals inspired me to assist my students in connecting with learners from around the world through class Skype conversations. At the end of the final units of the year, the students considered an international action that could help people in other countries and created posters and designs to encourage their classmates to save water, which is of significant concern today in Mexico City. In the coming academic year, I hope to be able to give the students more leeway to plan their own actions that will hopefully have a positive impact, not just on the local community, but to the international arena.
Another truly positive outcome for the course was enhancing my knowledge of the personal goals and using this vocabulary to praise the students in lessons when they demonstrated them. I noticed that by making the personal goals less abstract, the students became much more aware of how they can demonstrate them, when they are showing them and for setting goals for future improvement. One student told me, “Mr Jack, I think I deserve a house point for showing morality when I handed in the twenty pesos that I found in the yard”. While hearing this did make me giggle, I was very happy indeed to see this boy using the language of the IPC. I have set myself a goal to be more open-minded towards other teaching methods and strategies from outside my go-to repertoire, and also help the students to be more open minded to other cultures and ways of thinking.
The final major benefit to my teaching from this course was to consider the use of assessment in my teaching. Through the ideas from the course, I experimented with a lot more formative assessment tasks including team quizzes, map-related games, four corner challenges and others which motivated the students and also informed my planning and also helped the students to understand where they are in their learning as well as steps to get even better. The visible thinking strategies which are promoted by the IPC, have been a significant help in assisting the students to make their learning explicit which has assisted in developing both their language and critical thinking skills.
In summary, studying this course allowed me to learn, not just about the theory of the IPC, but also best practice from experienced teachers from all around the world. As well as consolidating my knowledge of the programme, the course provided several ideas for extending the students’ learning in more interesting ways and also making the vocabulary of the IPC a lot more explicit through visible IPC learning objectives and personal goals. I am excited to have been invited to share my learning with my colleagues at the beginning of the coming school year as a refresher course, and as an introduction for new teachers. Overall, I am sure that this online course has had a very positive impact on my teaching, and more importantly, on the quality of learning in my classroom. I am looking forward to studying on more IPC professional development courses in the future to enhance my practice!