Two terms in, working at the International Football School (IFS) and I’m just beginning to ‘get it’. During this time plenty of people have commented about how
they think the school’s project based learning model works and some of that opinion feels fuelled by some weird competition than any actual understanding of what this little school is doing. So here is an example of how re-thinking what these kids need powers the ethos of the school.
Firstly, the school is fundamentally about play, which fits with my views on the role of play in learning. Whether football or tennis, the coaching and play at the school is outstanding and truly international. This week, I went with the Under 13’s to the Under 14’s Futsal competition on the coast against the best players in local high schools. IFS put out half a dozen teams, which were selected based on what the kid’s need to learn, rather than the ‘best team’ needed to beat the competition. If they had selected a team to win, then it would have hardly been worth going. It was interesting however to see other schools getting overly excited at beating IFS and missing the whole point of the day. Of course they could win just about everything, but their coaches know that winning isn’t learning per se.. While other schools were cheering their ‘win’, IFS kids were way more interested in learning from the coach’s feedback and breaking down the game (win or lose). Winning didn’t feel important, but every game felt like a grand-final.
There’s a mindset at IFS that cannot be explained or aligned with PBL or anything else I’ve seen or experienced … how good is that? Oh, and the next school holidays will be spent at the Kanga Cup, and no teacher at the school would miss it.