The power of peer learning: PeerSphere co-founder Ewen Bailey shares his vision

Ewen Bailey presenting and sharing information about PeerSphere and the impact of peer learning communities. 

by LeeAnne Lavender, PeerSphere storyteller

Ewen Bailey loves the “middle space” of PeerSphere where professional learning and networking come together to create something unique, new and impactful. 

“With our professional hosts planning each session and leading each community, and with the expertise embodied in each community from members who share similar roles, we have created a space for learning that is practical and dynamic,” explains Ewen. 

Ewen started his educational career with Teach First, a program in England where teachers in training were placed in inner city schools so they could learn the art of teaching and leading by doing. It was an experience that was out of Ewen’s comfort zone at the time but he wanted to challenge himself, so he dove in and hasn’t looked back. Education became his life path. 

”After my experience with Teach First, I went to an international school in Oman where I was a classroom teacher and where I started to take on some leadership responsibilities,” recounts Ewen.

Ewen also met his wife at that school, and they later moved to Suzhou Singapore International School in China as a teaching couple. Ewen saw his career evolve as he moved from the science classroom to head of department and then to the position of Director of Professional Learning. 

“I’ve always had a keen interest in the practical ways of improving what happens in the classroom, and I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of working at scale and imagining impact for groups of teachers and across the staff of a school,” says Ewen. 

When Ewen had the chance to join Michael Iannini at PD Academia a few years ago, he jumped at the opportunity and knew he would be able to channel his passion into creating professional learning for an even larger audience. 

“Last year we launched 8 peer learning communities through ACAMIS (Association of China and Mongolia International Schools), and we had over 450 members and so much positive response,” says Ewen. “It was exciting to see so much engagement, especially in communities that don’t always have a lot of PD support like librarians, secondary lab assistants and operations managers.” 

This year Michael and Ewen have used the energy and insights from 2022/23 to launch an expanded vision and program for 2023/24. PeerSphere will encompass 42 communities and each will feature five 90-minute synchronous sessions throughout the year alongside a digital community learning and discussion space. 

“I led the professional learning community last year and was so impressed with how the sessions built engagement and interest,” recounts Ewen. “For our third and final session of the year, conversations about AI were everywhere and two members of our community – Stephen Taylor from WAB and Kasson Bratton from NIS – stepped in to share the deep work emerging around AI at their schools. We had the highest attendance of the year in that session and it was a fascinating conversation. That’s the kind of responsive space we want for all of our PeerSphere communities.” 

Ewen is excited to be fully immersed in developing the PeerSphere space for 2023/24 and beyond, and he can’t wait for communities to launch in September. 

If you’re interested in joining a PeerSphere community, or in having a team from your school plug into this impactful peer learning experience, please email Ewen at [email protected]. You can also check out the PeerSphere website here:

Ewen shares some thoughts about the power of peer learning: 

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