Whilst the safety and wellbeing of students, staff and families remains our top priority, the International Schools Partnership (ISP) continues to put learners and learning at the heart of everything we do.
Despite the temporary closure of our school buildings around the world due to COVID-19, learning and teaching continues through our distance learning approaches across ISP.
Our transition to a distance learning model has been led by the following ISP Principles:
- We begin with our children and students. Our children and students are at the heart of everything we do. Simply, their success is our success.
- Treat everyone with care and respect. We look after one another, embrace similarities and differences and promote the well-being of each other.
One of the many benefits for ISP schools is being part of a community where we share best practice and support each other. Our highly experienced Learning & Education professionals have established an effective distance learning strategy which includes supporting materials and resources. These are designed to ensure consistency of learning and to support our schools to continue to get better over time.
We know that these exceptional circumstances are a change for our educators, students and their families but change brings opportunities as well as challenges. One of these opportunities has been to revisit our shared ideas about what ‘school’ means without the structure of a building or physical space.
In doing so, we asked ourselves:
- How can we create a community of learners when there is no physical space to come together each day?
- How can we continue and extend an atmosphere that fosters a sense of belonging, connectedness and safety?
- How can we ensure students, parents and colleagues feel connected, heard and engaged?
- How do we ensure a continued focus on learning whilst exploring new ways of planning, additional technology skills and greater involvement from parents and care givers?
Drawing on best practice and valuable experience from our global community of educators, we have created a dedicated distance learning toolkit through The Learning Hub, ISP’s unique digital learning community. Using this resource, schools have been reflecting on their own practice through the lens of ISP’s school improvement criteria, sharing their ideas and examples and using feedback from peers and colleagues to get better and facilitate some Amazing Distance Learning.
Across ISP, we understand that distance learning is not only about technology; it’s also about our people. We recognise that there are many elements involved in providing content, experiences and connection for children and students so that they can continue to learn as part of a community. In short, it’s about showing up for each other, and demonstrating our care of the whole child as well as the whole community. This can be done in multiple ways and technology is an important but not exclusive part of the mix. Distance learning includes innovative opportunities for both online and offline learning, as appropriate for the ages, stages and needs of our students. It also requires a significant amount of planning, preparation, flexibility and communication.
All our schools have strategies in place to enable distance learning so we can continue to focus on learning and our commitment to our students and their families. By having effective plans in place, we minimise disruption, confusion and uncertainty for our children and students.
Our distance learning approach is focused around a core set of Learning Must-Dos. Their purpose is to support each school in reflecting on their transition to distance learning and taking their own contexts, opportunities and challenges into consideration. They are focused around five key areas:
- The factors that affect distance learning
- Evidence of learning
- Communicating about learning
- Planning for long term school closure
We wanted to commend the entire team at Tenby for pulling together the distance learning for all our students within the short period of time under these very challenging circumstances. We can only imagine how the IT Dept and all the teachers have been working around the clock to get things ready. Bravo! All communications, documents and packages are superb and our children seem to be taking the new mode of learning, in their stride. From the bottom our hearts, thank you very much. Your effort, dedication and commitment is truly appreciated.
Parent at Tenby Schools Setia EcoPark
Through The Learning Hub all ISP colleagues can access supporting materials, resources, and professional development. To provide continuous education for our teachers, students, parents and families, we also provide general distance learning guidance tips to support wellbeing, connectivity and inclusion here.
In collaboration with our schools we have curated a comprehensive collection of resources to support distance learning, including those for:
- Wellbeing (e.g. The Student Wellbeing Hub and Go Noodle)
- Safeguarding (e.g. these resources from Thinkuknow)
- Different subjects, ages and stages (K-12) (e.g. BrainPOP, TedEd and Playful Learning)
- Parents (e.g. these resources from the Child Mind Institute, and Parent Map)
- Synchronous and asynchronous learning (e.g. Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams)
- Assessment and reflection (e.g. Flipgrid and Quizizz)
Our students, teachers and staff have seized this opportunity to continue to learn and get better together. We are extremely proud of the adaptability and commitment of our professional and passionate educators as well as our community across the world in making the transition to Distance Learning. We have witnessed so many exciting and innovative approaches to distance learning as well as many initiatives to support our children and students wellbeing, keep their spirits up and help them to stay motivated as they continue their amazing learning journeys at home.
A heartfelt ISP thank you to our students for adapting to your new learning environment, our staff for the huge amount of work and dedication you have given to implement our distance learning approaches for our students, and our families for your continual patience and support during this unsettling time.
As some of our students and colleagues start to gradually return to school, we are working with our community to create practical learning resources to support both face to face and distance models – a blended learning approach. In doing so, we continue our commitment to learning continuously, getting better and ensuring the most effective, engaging and equitable learning experiences for our students and their families.
would you like to know more?