The Learning Hub – Interview with Susana Davidson, Regional Director of Learning in Southeast Asia

Resources on The Learning Hub inspired some excellent discussions and reflections.

The Learning Hub (TLH) is making an impact across ISP schools all over the world. Continuing in our series about how learners are using this new collaborative space, we spoke to Susana, who has been using The Learning Hub to improve learning in the Tenby Schools in Malaysia.

​What aspect of learning did you choose to get better at with Tenby Schools, particularly as they are relatively new to the ISP community?

Many of our schools in Malaysia are now entering their second year in the ISP community. Therefore, a key focus of ours is to work closely with teachers to help them achieve a stronger understanding of how knowledge, skills and understanding are learned, taught and assessed in different ways. This will support teachers to develop truly learning-focused experiences for their students.

During three sessions with the teachers at Tenby Ipoh School, Malaysia, I used some of The Learning Hub resources including the great video modules in the course “Let’s Talk About Learning”, alongside the resources and feedback that other colleagues across ISP globally have shared in addition to my own materials. Teachers worked in teams and each team was given various statements in the different subject areas, which they had to assess as being related to either knowledge, skills or understanding. This activity inspired some excellent discussions and reflections that served to consolidate and deepen our understanding of Learning. Critically, it also inspired teachers to access The Learning Hub to take the courses and use the resources available.

More recently, I was invited by Etta Jameson, Head of Primary at Tenby Schools Penang , to share a session about The Learning Hub for parents. . Once again, we used some great video resources that were available but specifically the first module in the “Let’s Talk About Learning” course which focuses on the ‘basics’ of the brain and learning. This led to some deep discussions among the group about what parents believed they knew about learning and how the school was helping their children improve within a learning-focused environment.

We shared with parents some ‘age appropriate’ questions that they could use to spark conversations in the home and allow the parents to discover more about how their child learns. As a result, this would then allow the parents to become more familiar recognising where their children are in the process of learning for example, ‘good struggle’, ‘no struggle’ or ‘bad struggle’.

A lot of this was ‘new learning’ for the parents, so at the end of the session, Etta asked them to take the quiz to help them consolidate their learning and see how much their brains had engaged and changed as a result of the event. We gave out school notebooks as prizes to those who were able to give the correct answers. There were lots of notebooks given out!

Tenby Penang parents watch the Let’s Talk About Learning video which led to some excellent discussions around what a good struggle looks like.

What were you collectively hoping to achieve throughout these sessions from a learning perspective?

Our primary ambition was to move learning forward and use any tools and resources available to us that would help facilitate this aim. The Learning Hub proved to be an excellent way of doing this. The schools we worked with have already put in place strategies to motivate teachers to use the courses and resources on The Learning Hub to help them improve their own learning which in turn will have a hugely positive impact on their students.

In Ipoh, for example, all members of the Senior Leadership Team have been looking through each of The Learning Hub courses and resources to see where they align to their own Continuing Professional Developed (CPD) plans and how they can best use these new resources in their academic year. At the end of each session I challenged the teachers to access the module in the Let’s Talk About Learning course, on ‘Knowledge, Skills and Understanding’, and use the information they had collected to help improve one lesson plan that they would be using the following week. I also suggested they then share this with a colleague over a cup of coffee during a break to help to build ‘communities of practice’ within the school.

In Penang, they have also started to use The Learning Hub courses and resources to support teachers’ personal growth and development targets and actions for the year.

Etta Jameson shows the video on how the brain learns. Some parents were surprised to find out that learning only happens in the brain, that it is a brain thing.

Did you find The Learning Hub courses and resources easily accessible and presented in a way that complements teacher development?

The Learning Hub is very intuitive. The courses are simple, clear and user friendly, with short videos containing high quality information and graphics. These include some very specific and clear examples that help to explain the concepts clearly. For example, in the course Let’s Talk About Learning, one of the videos unpacks how skills are different from knowledge, through an example of how an adult, a five-year old and the Tour De France winner can all say ‘I can ride a bike’ but their skills progression is different. Our teachers were able to connect easily with these examples which helped them to relate to the journey of skills over time, through the stages of Beginning, Developing and Mastering – and to recognise those stages in themselves as learners, and in their students too. This showed a very tangible benefit to using The Learning Hub in a very short space of time, which was hugely positive!

How valuable is this resource for continuing professional development in your ISP schools?

I have been using The Learning Hub in my work with schools from the very beginning of the soft launch and have found its courses and resources to be extremely beneficial. I have included these resources in my sessions with leaders, teachers and parents over the past year. The two-day learning conference in Kuala Lumpur in October 2019 was developed around The Learning Hub and I used many of the video resources and learning activities available during my own conference sessions and received very positive feedback as a result. Colleagues felt they had left with a better understanding of how helpful and useful The Learning Hub is and committed to engaging their staff and encouraging them to use it. This was reflected in the 87% Malaysia login average that followed during the full launch.

What defines ‘Amazing Learning’ for you and your colleagues?

As first year schools within the ISP community, last year the focus for this cohort was mostly on understanding what learning is and what it is not, as well as schools coming up with their own definitions of learning. This year I am working with schools and colleagues to develop a deeper understanding of the concept of amazing learning and help them to identify and record those ‘wow’ moments where students and colleagues surprise themselves beyond what they thought they could have achieved!


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