The following comments are from graduates of our Masters programs both in Integrated Learning and Montessori Integrative Learning.
We welcome other graduates and students to share their journey in a similar way.
United Arab Emirates
I have been working in the Middle East for nearly seven years at International Schools and as a teacher-trainer for the UAE Ministry of Education. I am trained and experienced in the UK National Curriculum. I was drawn to studying for an M.Ed. for similar reasons to most people: I was experienced as a practitioner and needed further stimulation and professional development, and I also knew that an M.Ed. would entitle me to a pay rise! After searching extensively through many online programmes, I settled on the Integrative Learning course because it complemented my own background in global community, environment and holistic curriculum. I was also keen to learn from and work alongside Montessori practitioners, to establish clearly what the differences were between their philosophies and practices and my mainstream ones.
The key learning experiences in the IL M.Ed. were the directed readings covering educational philosophy themes from a very broad range of perspectives, and the intense and lively discussions that took place online following on from the readings. In the variety of online courses that I have worked on before and since, I have never experienced that richness of participation and challenge from my peers and my tutors. We truly became a global community, communicating across time zones and nations, and I felt a sense of loss when the engagement came to an end. What pride I felt as each one of my peers received their recognition for their thesis being accepted by the graduating committee!
Since the Integrative Learning course completed in summer 2010 I have continued to work within the UAE Ministry of Education, leading colleagues in the field of applying a coordinated and integrated curriculum. I led and implemented a total, integrated way of presenting the curriculum to teachers undergoing training, to enable them to work across blocks of time with different subject areas more seamlessly. This has been successful in many of my schools and the lower grade teachers in particular have realised a sense of freedom and enjoyment of learning in their classrooms from this approach.
My enhanced abilities to read, interpret and think critically created by my own experiences and attitudes, has enabled me to be much more reflective and intelligent in my work as I write curricula to incorporate the best features of many curricula from around the world – USA, Australia, Singapore, UK etc. I have recently begun online training in the IB PYP (International Baccaleaureate Primary Years Programme). I am delighted to find that the essence of it is very much in keeping with the philosophies of the Endicott IL programme, with a core set of concepts driving units of inquiry that are implemented across the curriculum and by all teachers. The driving force is the development of internationally minded young people with a strong understanding of how the world works, their place in it, their rights and responsibilities, and the skills to be able to take responsible action based on their beliefs. The PYP is an intellectual and professional challenge for educators and communities. Without my grounding in the Integrative Learning Programme I think I would have interpreted the PYP as a repackaged standard curriculum. With my IL learning I can see that the PYP is so much more than that.
I now have an insatiable urge to read, reflect, observe and understand all of the education that goes on around me, in schools and in the community. The Integrative Learning Programme has truly revitalised me!!
The above photo shows me with my choir of 150 students drawn from 14 schools across the UAE, participating in an international schools choir of over 400 voices.