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IOE develops free online course for teachers around the world

24 August 2017

Indian teacher

The UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and British Council, India have designed a free online course that will help teachers to develop their reflective skills and improve their practice in the classroom.

The second run of the Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) starts on Monday (28 August) and targets the needs of teachers in India and similar contexts, particularly those teaching in English or who teach English as a subject. However, it is also relevant for teachers around the world and those who teach other subjects.

Hosted on FutureLearn, the free six-week programme aims to provide a platform for teachers in India to access an international community of practice, and similarly for teachers around the world to connect, share with and learn from teachers in India.

Drawing on research and content generated in the UK and India, the course promotes the IOE's expertise to a global audience and invites participants to use and adapt what they learn for their own contexts. During the course, teachers will identify their own professional development needs and explore reflective practice, as well as inquiry-based teaching.

Dr John Smith and Mrs Kim Insley, who have helped to develop the course, said:

"It has been an exciting opportunity for us to work with colleagues from British Council, India in order to develop a MOOC which reflects our understanding about teacher learning: that learning should be owned and valued by the teacher in order to affect change in practice.  

"To achieve this, the UCL Institute of Education and British Council colleagues worked together to explore how 'reflective practice' might translate to the everyday activities of teachers in specific contexts.

"To support and illustrate our rationale we included video dialogues, developed in collaboration by the IOE and British Council team. Having planned activities to trigger learning, three of us were filmed discussing different topics, and demonstrating that there was more than 'right answers' to any situation. The final seven video sequences were then edited into short sections that would support each topic throughout the six weeks of the MOOC.

"As a result of the excellent response and high number of participants, a second run of the MOOC is about to start."

The MOOC first launched in April this year and attracted over 16,000 registrations globally, with 54% participating as active learners.

Commenting on the course, Carla Aerts, Director of IOE Futures, said:

"Supporting teacher professional development is an important dimension of the IOE's work - this includes teachers in resource-poor contexts. Working on the MOOC has enabled the IOE and British Council, India to reach new audiences using a digital channel to share their respective educational expertise. The MOOC has helped teachers take ownership of their own professional development to improve their pedagogical practice, as well as the learning experiences of the pupils they teach."

Alan Gemmell OBE, Director India, British Council, added:

"We're bringing the best of UK expertise through our partner UCL Institute of Education together with our decade of experience working with teachers in India to provide a deep learning experience for thousands across the country who may not otherwise have access to this type of content.

"We're using the FutureLearn platform, which is unique in the social approach that it takes to online learning courses - we firmly believe that by leveraging digital solutions with high quality content we can facilitate a positive change in teachers - both from India and around the world - working together to improve their teaching and the learning outcomes for their students."

This is the IOE's first MOOC in partnership with the British Council. Other IOE MOOCs include a 'Blended Learning Essentials' course with the University of Leeds, as well as a course that helps to support children with difficulties in reading and writing, in partnership with the International Dyslexia Institute. For a full list of IOE MOOCs, please visit the IOE website.

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Image: BTT 1.3 courtesy of Mat Wright via the British Council