Turning Ideas into Reality. LYIS Visits Charterhouse Malaysia


It was an honour to be invited to Charterhouse Malaysia this Tuesday by the school’s Founding Headmaster, Richard Davidson. During our visit, we discussed the school’s opening, mission and core values, progress and development and Richard’s deep passion for making a difference.

Richard and André discuss all things leadership

Global Leadership Perspectives

As Global Citizens go, Richard’s career is most certainly a path ‘less ordinary’. As a young child, he moved to Tuvalu, took his first ever job in Greece, and lived and worked in Portugal for eighteen years, before relocating to Pakistan and now Malaysia, which has been home for the past eight years. All of this was complimented by his time in England, teaching Business.  As Richard tells me, given the experiences of his first ever job in Greece “I swore that if I ever led a company overseas, my job would be to support employees to make sure people feel settled”.

The Power of Student Agency

As we walk around the campus (after spending more than two incredible hours talking about leadership) I begin to understand how this campus and its leadership is different to nearly any other I’ve ever come across before. The level of agency that Charterhouse Malaysia develops in its students is incredible. “Students often come to me with ideas,” says Richard. “I’ll then ask them how they might be able to turn it into a reality”. There is the student-led Café, the student-designed and produced Drama production and the student band. Many students are pioneering entrepreneurs and the school actively encourages them to connect with local businesses. Various committees are run by students, developing leadership skills in ‘The Charterhouse Way’.

Teachers have the Greatest Effect on Learning

The key cornerstone to Charterhouse Malaysia and the school’s philosophy is in making sure teachers can spend quality time with students – after all, teachers evidentially have the greatest effect on student outcomes. “Historically, students have always been held back by curriculum constraints, and time restraints, and are labelled as ‘not ready’ by teachers. We want to create an environment where students can benefit from interacting with, questioning and learning with our staff”. Richard adds, “The Asian culture of tutoring is being phased out. We have a no-tuition policy. Our teachers are the subject matter experts and we don’t want our families feeling the pressure to have their children tutored. The school has followed the work of Prof. Rose Luckin closely in combining the right level of AI and HI (Human Intelligence). On the subject of AI, notes Richard, “As powerful a tool as AI is, it is not values-driven. For our students to be future-ready, for them to take their place in society as the changemakers in the AI era, it is important to focus on developing all of their human intelligences. Learning to be empathetic and effective problem solvers, critical and creative thinkers will enable and empower our students to harness their fullest potential to such an extent that they will have a positive impact on not only their lives but the lives of others ”.

As we end our conversation, thinking about the growth and sustainability of the school,  I am reminded by Richard that “we can only be safe as a school if we take risks”. Something Charterhouse Malaysia is most certainly doing in living out its core values of responsibility, moral courage, perseverance, open-mindedness, and kindness. Richard’s leadership seems to fit the school perfectly. His humility and ability to push others into the limelight. His skill in taking ideas and making them become a reality is one to behold.

If you would like Leading Your International School to visit your school, email: andre@leadingyourinternationalschool.com

LYIS is proud to partner with Wild China Education

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