If you, like me, are unfamiliar with the concept of Visible Learning you may be wondering firstly: “What is it?” And secondly: “Is it any good?” Thankfully help is at hand in the form of a Visible Learning expert at the Australian International School Malaysia (AISM).
We talk with Michelle Chaplin, Head of Junior School. She is just one of the many teachers at the school, who have worked together to help it become the first Certified Visible Learning School. Not just here in Malaysia, but in the whole world.
What is Visible Learning?
Visible Learning is a result of an extensive evidence-based study by University of Melbourne’s Professor John Hattie. He discovered that when teaching and learning are ‘visible’ – that is, when it is clear what teachers are teaching and what students are learning, students go on to achieve more.
The main purpose of Visible Learning is to encourage children to develop four main skills:
- How to think effectively
- How to learn
- How to understand their progress
- How to use and give feedback effectively
Visual Learning: how can it help my child?
The Visual Learning approach to education encourages students to set goals as they significantly enhance a students’ performance. Goals provide direction and a sense of purpose. They provide motivation and focus as well as allowing you to measure your success.
Michelle explains that because of this, all students at AISM set clear and achievable learning goals each term. The students share their goals with parents and teachers. This way, all key stakeholders can work together to ensure that students achieve what they set out to.
Teachers also set out clear learning goals and the success criteria in their lessons. As a result students are more engaged, they also take more responsibility for their own learning and outcomes.
What does Visible Learning look like in a classroom?
Leigh Janett, Deputy Head of Junior School, shares with us a practical example of what it looks like.
“The children in the Foundation classes began the year thinking that mistakes were not allowed. It took a lot of effort to convince them that mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn. A big part of this was making sure they knew what it was they were trying to learn and the steps they needed to follow to get there. In every lesson the children were given a Learning Intention (what are we learning) and the Success Criteria (how we know we have learnt it).
“As a result the same children now want to know what the Learning Intention and Success Criteria are before the start of every lesson. In doing this they are taking responsibility for their own academic success, as well as starting to explore what it is they could improve upon next time.”
What does it teach teachers?
Hattie’s research revealed that inspired and passionate teachers will have the biggest positive impact on their students. It also proved that when teachers work collaboratively with their colleagues to support student learning, it has the greatest effect on achievement of any of the almost 200 identified influences.
Michelle added that ‘because of this insight into Visible Learning and what character strengths are needed to deliver it effectively, AISM will only recruit teachers who can clearly demonstrate a willingness to effectively work with students, colleagues and parents. We also have processes in place to actively encourage teamwork and which has had a very positive effect ’.
Do you think this approach has helped during home learning?
Both Michelle and Leigh concluded that they believe this approach has been particularly invaluable during home learning.
“I can’t think of a time where we’ve relied so heavily on students taking responsibility for their own education and to be self motivated enough to achieve their own goals. We really believe that together with incredible support from our school community the Visible Learning approach has helped our students continue to thrive.”
Virtual Open Month
Would you like to know more about how Visible Learning could help your child flourish or even just to learn about life in general at AISM? Join their Virtual Open Month this November and chat live with its Principal – Liam King and Heads of Schools. If you like what you see and hear, you can register your child and benefit from an application fee rebate* plus a 50% admissions fee waiver*. Visit the school’s website here for more details. Alternatively, you could contact a member of the friendly Admissions team on 03 8949 5000 or email them here.
*terms and conditions apply
Australian International School Malaysia
AISM has been offering an outstanding Australian curriculum in Malaysia for more than 20 years. AISM employs predominantly Australian trained teachers, and caters for children from age 3 (Pre-school) to age 18 (Pre-University). Located in a secure gated community in Seri Kembangan, AISM overlooks the picturesque South Lake of The Mines Resort City. The school is a short drive from Kuala Lumpur City Centre.