My Independent Professional Project

JE BuckinghamJE Buckingham is a student in the Summer MA in Teaching whose final Sandanona Conference presentation explored student use of the internet to incorporate culture into their language learning.  Here, she describes her final project for the degree.  Popularly known by its abbreviation, IPP, the project culminates her program and demonstrates mastery of critical dimensions of teaching.  A teacher of ESL, Spanish, and French in a California public high school, JE’s emotional attachment to her work and her vigor infuse whatever she does.

On Sunday, February 22, I finished a complete first draft: 4 chapters, appendices and bibliography of my IPP.  I intend to send it to my SIT faculty advisor, Pat Moran, as well as pass it along to my 2 readers, at that point in electronic form.  Title: Imaginary Friends: Using WebQuest to incorporate culture into a standardized foreign language curriculum.

I had spent so much time doing the required research for my Sandanona presentation that it was just a logical choice to continue the work, applying the project in my own classroom, and then write it all up for my IPP.

I am exhausted although exhilarated.  When I began the process, I really had no idea how much time and emotional energy I would spend in first taking my students through the project and then debriefing them to glean their experiences and feedback.  In comparison, the writing is the easy part!

Having come to SIT was an extension of my work and teaching philosophy.  My IPP is a refinement of that work and an extension of my continually developing philosophy.

As one of my students who had participated in the project said, “I wish everybody could have the chance to learn like this.  It was an amazing experience that would help everyone break down the walls that stand between us so that we could all better understand each other and our cultures.”

As I sat listening to her verbalize my highest hope for the outcome of my life’s work, my tears started to flow.  It suddenly became very clear just how very much what we do every day matters – not only to ourselves, but also to our students and their lives and then, by extension, to the world that they will help to create.


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