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How MOOCs Could Save Teachers from Underperforming

Posted in 'Articles by the MoocLab Community' started by Carolyn, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. Carolyn

    Carolyn Founder at MoocLab Staff Member

    Suffolk, UK
    How MOOCs Could Save Teachers from Underperforming
    By Carolyn McIntyre, CEO & Founder of MoocLab.club
    Numerous studies have demonstrated that the professional support provided to teachers in England is pretty poor. Could MOOCs provide the solution?


    A lack of Quality Teacher PD Opportunities could be damaging Pupil Achievement

    With just 5 PD days a year, teachers have quite rightly expressed concern over the lack of opportunities for developing and improving classroom teaching or subject updating – two aspects that are core to improving pupil achievement. Members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers are reporting that ever-dwindling school budgets are resulting in fewer opportunities to access CPD. In fact OECD surveys show that Teachers in England receive significantly less Professional Development opportunities than many other countries. Added to that is the lack of time and a heavy workload faced by teachers, as well as provision quality and cost barriers.

    To make matters worse, the current one-off inset days have very little impact on teaching quality and pupil achievement with reports that they are often badly organised and represent a significantly wasted resource. The Developing Great Teaching report from the Teacher Development Trust by Philippa Cordingley et al. highlights the importance of sustained professional development over time, showing that to be effective, CPD needs to be prolonged and last at least 2 terms or, even better, a year (or longer).

    In addition, research has brought to light the ineffectiveness of the generic "one size fits all" approach which is often adopted by schools, and underlines the need for differentiation in CPD: delivering a variety of relevant content that fits individual teachers’ needs. Evidence suggests that the more teachers are involved in selecting their own professional development activities, the more they report improvements in their subject knowledge, their commitment to teaching, their teaching practice, and the learning of their students (Moor et al., 2005; Cordingley et al., 2005; White, Lim & Chiew, 2006).

    Collaboration and Peer Learning are Key

    Equally, frequent, meaningful engagement from participants and creating a shared sense of purpose through collaboration and peer learning and support as well as sharing evidence from experimenting with new approaches is key to successful outcomes. A study by Cordingley et al. (2005) found that teacher engagement in collaborative CPD (‘teachers working with at least one other related professional on a sustained basis’), resulted in improvement in pupils’ learning and behaviour, as well as teacher’s practices, attitudes and beliefs. Currently, however, teachers in England don’t have enough opportunities for discussion or to learn from each other and share good teaching practice.

    Overall, the picture looks pretty bleak, particularly given the increasing evidence linking pupil achievement and the quality of teaching.

    What is it then that the teaching profession really needs?

    Up-to-date and relevant training and subject knowledge enhancement opportunities tailored to teachers' needs provided in a collaborative and supportive framework that is accessible on-demand over a prolonged period and at low-cost.

    MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have all the credentials to meet this need. These open online courses provide a wealth of both teaching and subject knowledge enhancement opportunities provided by some of the best institutions in the world, and made available over the internet free of charge. What's more, MOOCs provide collaborative learning environments, giving teachers from all over the world an opportunity to interact, share experiences and learn from each other. But how many teaching professionals even know of the existence of this new form of free and open education which is immediately accessible from anywhere at any time at no cost?

    Top Platforms offering Free Online Courses & MOOCs for Teacher Development

    After extensive research, MoocLab unveils today a compilation of the platforms offering the very best free teacher training and development courses and resources provided by some of the best universities and organisations in the world, and delivered online making them accessible from anywhere and at any time.

    Whether you are looking to enhance your subject knowledge, improve your teaching skills and confidence or find material to integrate into your own teaching programs, the courses and resources available across our selected providers can help you achieve your goals in your own time and at no cost.
    Discover the Top Platforms here
    AD Coursera logo Build skills for a top job in any industry. Explore hundreds of business courses on Coursera today. AD Udemy logo You can learn it too! Our top-rated courses now starting at just $11.99.

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