Keystone Magazine - Page 50

Interview Q: Before coming to Keystone, you were the Head of the Primary School at Léman International School in Chengdu. What made you decide to come to Beijing to join the Keystone team? A: When I was in Chengdu, there was a lot of interest from the Chengdu Education Department for the (IPC). They were curious about the possibility of converting and running the IPC within local Chengdu schools. We talked to a lot of Chinese educators, principals and teachers and they were really excited at the prospect. I think Keystone presented a platform on which it would be possible to bring the IPC to Chinese students and teach it using Chinese. This opportunity excited me, and I can imagine that if we were successful here, then there would be tremendous implications for wider use of the IPC within the general education system here in China. China is also a wonderful place at the moment, so the opportunity to stay here was important for me. Another key factor was meeting Mr. Edward Shanahan and other people on the team and hearing what they hoped to do here at Keystone – it was very different and intriguing. to bring up to parents – that they need to understand what it is their child is doing. Facilitating this process is a key role of mine, but also a role that teachers and administrators will be involved in. It is also imperative that I have a teaching role at Keystone, along with other members of the administrative team, because we need to understand what is happening in the classrooms and in the curriculum. My role also includes helping to locate and train great teachers. We look for teachers who are passionate, prepared to take risks, and are not limited by traditional structures, but I must also work to bring this out of teachers who have been restricted in other systems. “When you have a curriculum like the IPC that is only focused on learning it is difficult to go wrong.” Q: Q: What are your primary responsibilities as the IPC Curriculum Coordinator? A: I will work closely with them to help them understand what it means, not only to deliver the IPC, but to promote learning through the classroom and wider school. The IPC will reach beyond the primary school because there are elements of the IPC that have to permeate every area of the school and wider school community. When I first heard about the IPC I became curious because it sounded fascinating. I did my own research and eventually saw a job posting on the IPC website. I applied for the job, received an offer, and began using the IPC as a Grade 1 teacher. Initially, there was a bit of stumbling around. I would ask questions like: “Is this ok?,” or “Can I do this?” I learned that you have to take your lead from the classroom, students, local environment and city. Once I got more experience using the curriculum, I thought - Wow! - this is really, really exciting. The kids were so enthralled. Parents would come to me, for example, and say, “Johnny just loves your class.” but I was not doing anything special. It was just the way the IPC was thematically structured. I will also facilitate parental understanding of the IPC. We need the parents to get excited. Because we are a school community, what we do inside the classroom has to also happen outside of the classroom. Learning happens everywhere. This is a very important point that we will have What I discovered in that first year is that kids were enormously passionate and excited about learning and couldn’t wait to get into the classroom. I had parents telling me that their children were up an hour early, and all they talked about was school. A: My role is to work closely with the Primary School team and ensure that the curriculum is effectively delivered. I will look