7 Free Online Courses in May

7 FreeOnline Coursesin May

Everybody likes May (or at least sweet potential of May mini break), the most fragrant month of the year – who doesn’t like the smell of lilac? We can almost smell the scent of summer break, and when we relax a bit, it’s nice to take care of our development.

May is somehow one of my favourite months when it comes to online courses – I usually study outside enjoying spring, and it makes learning far more enjoyable, especially after long winter.

I found some great free online courses you may enjoy this May – which one do you think is the best option for you?

Digital Skills for Teachers: Making Technology Work for You by GDST

Start: 06/05

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: people who want to improve their confidence with digital tools

There are many courses on technology, but sometimes they won’t help. Even the longest journey starts from a little step and this course will help you feel empowered to use digital technology in your classroom. On this course you will build your knowledge of digital tools and your confidence in using them, investigate gaps in your own skill set and learn how to close them.

Introduction to Psychology: The Psychology of Learning by Monash University

Start: 06/05

Duration: 2 weeks

For whom: anyone interested in psychology

This course will help you see the difference between learned and instinctive behaviours and approaches to how we learn. You’ve probably heard of Pavlov and his dog, an example of classical conditioning, but you’ll also learn about operant conditioning (learning behaviours based on positive or negative consequences), and observational learning (watching other people and imitating their behaviour). Something quite helpful for a teacher.

Bullying in Schools: How Should Teachers Respond? by QUT

Start: 06/05

Duration: 2 weeks

For whom: people who have a duty of care for children

We encourage children to “tell an adult” when they are being bullied, but children can be reluctant to report it. This course will help you understand the risks a child experiences before and after telling, understand the complex nature of bullying in schools. You will discuss various approaches to bullying, as well as strategies to help reduce bullying in your own school and classroom.

Leadership Theory: The Basics by Coventry University

Start: 13/05

Duration: 2 weeks

For whom: people looking to understand leadership, culture, decision making and change management

Being a teacher is being a leader (which explains one of the most interesting aspects of being a DoS = a leader of leaders), but we all know it’s not an easy job. This course may be a great way to observe the differences between management and leadership. You will learn various theories and approaches to leadership which may be quite beneficial, not only in your classroom.

English for Academic Study by Coventry University

Start: 13/05

Duration: 2 weeks

For whom: students planning to study at a university where English is the main language

This course may be a really nice idea for your students, especially those who either think of studying abroad or consider taking Academic IELTS. It will help to prepare students for both study on an online degree and at a university campus. The participants will have the opportunity to review the key vocabulary and concepts used in a university setting, and discover what tutors expect from students. They will also practise skills to expand their vocabulary for an academic setting, including tools to help pronounce new words.

The Online Educator: People and Pedagogy by the Open University

Start: 20/05

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: teachers involved in online education

Sometimes it is said that that online learning is about technology and content; that innovation and accessibility are incompatible; that researching online learning is an ethics-free zone, and that educators’ online identities are irrelevant. This course busts these myths and proves that online teaching may be as “real” as traditional education.

To be sure, this is my pick of a month!

Music Psychology: Why Does “Bohemian Rhapsody” Feel so Good? by Griffith University

Start: 20/05

Duration: 2 weeks

For whom: people interested in music psychology

This course will help you understand how the mind interprets patterns in music and generates an emotional response as a result. You will discuss how music communicates with the brain’s reward centre, and generates a chemical reaction that can provide a feeling of happiness. Is this something that will explain the idea of those annoying earworms, I wonder…

I believe you’ll find a course you’ll enjoy – maybe I’ll see you online?

Teacher, do you remember why you love your job?

Teacher, do you remember why you love your job_

At the moment a lot of Polish teachers are on strike. Due to legal issues the official reason of the strike is the demand for salary raise. However, we all realise it’s the system itself that requires changes and virtually everyone wants to discuss the problem and promote some alternatives. What causes the strife is various approaches and perspectives people have.

I cannot go on strike as I don’t work in a public school anymore, but I already shared my thoughts on the topic on my FB page.

I know many of my teaching colleagues are torn between their duty and their desperation. The government takes them on a pretty extreme guilt trip, so they need all the support they can get (e.g. Polish artists, scientists and journalists set up a fund and after two days they collected more than 700.000 euro). Yet I believe we all know this feeling of discouragement, with more and more administrative duties, students requiring more individual care and parents who are becoming more and more demanding.

What I want to write about is a short list of things that may help you smile, lift up your chin and remember that we matter, teachers matter, that regardless of what people claim, we do change the world. And we should never, ever, stop believing that.

Sir Ken Robinson “Do schools kill creativity”

This is the most popular TED talk ever. Have you ever wondered why? I have – and I don’t think it’s because it berates the soulless system of education. I believe it’s so popular because it gives us hope – that as long as we stay true to our teaching heart, we may change the world, create better futures for our students and ourselves. The idea of education cannot exist without teachers, but teachers can succeed without the limitations of the outdated system.

Silly souvenirs

Admit it, you keep them somewhere and only pretend you don’t remember them. “Thank you” cards from your students, compositions, artwork etc. I have some poems praising my black and rotten heart written by my teenage students, an angel that looks like Darth Vader (Christmas project), a composition on eating cats (it was a joke, no cat was eaten during research), photos of delicious cakes my students made… Well, the point is: go on memory lane once in a while. All those things will remind you that you matter, your work matters, your ideas inspire your students and this is as it should be.

Dead Poets Society

My favourite films about teaching is Kung-Fu Panda and Star Wars, but every one of us who watched Dead Poets Society wanted to have a teacher like Keating, to be Keating, to have own students saying “oh captain, my captain”. Now, I’m sure we all have those moments we realise we’ve changed something – we made ours student discover something new, choose a new path, take up a new challenge. We all can be Keatings in our own way.

Don’t you forget this.

Taylor Mali “What Teachers Make”

You probably know this poem, but it’s never boring to listen to again. What do we, teachers, make?

Sir Ken Robinson “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything”

“We are all born with extraordinary powers of imagination, intelligence, feeling, intuition, spirituality, and of physical and sensory awareness.” Let me close my list of inspirations just as I began, with Sir Ken Robinson. If you haven’t read his book on passion – do this. Just take a look at some quotes and you will soon realise why. It isn’t only about passion, it’s also about people you need to share it with. If you struggle with a teaching crisis, this book may come in handy, because you will find a lot of stories of successful people who quit schools… but somehow still found teachers.

We will prevail, even if our educational systems will not.

Robinson, Ken; Aronica, Lou: The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
Publisher: Viking Books, 2009

ISBN: 9780670020478

7 Free Online Courses in April

7freeonline coursesin April

April is still a pretty moody month, and the best thing one may wish for is weather that is quite stable. Unfortunately, we’re bound to experience the mixture of sunny and gloomy days, but it’s all good since we know what April showers bring.

Free online courses, of course, they bring free online courses.

Below you will find my monthly selection of free courses you may take online. Hopefully they will let you – and your students, as I found some nice options that may be used as interesting projects – bloom just like flowers.

Kickstart Your Career: Getting Ahead at University by QUT

Start: 01/04/2019

Duration: 2 weeks

For whom: students who want to get the most from your university experience

It’s a great idea to use this short course as an additional project with your students who aim to pass their exams and attend higher education. It’s only two weeks, but you may use it as a nice opportunity to show them the merits of self-education and discuss their progress in the classroom. Show them you believe in their potential!

The IB Extended Essay: Managing your Research Project by the University of Leeds and the International Baccalaureate

Start: 01/04/2019

Duration: 2 weeks

For whom: students who want to plan and write a successful extended essay

There are more and more students interested in IB as a form of education, and this course will definitely help them most. However, I recommend this course as a little bit of help when we teach our students how to structure their essay, write in an academic style and manage their time effectively so your project runs smoothly. Similarly to the previous course, I would run it as an additional project for more ambitious students. I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun – and if your students feel like it, they may still join another course on IB approach.

Understanding Autism by the University of Kent

Start: 01/04/2019

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: teachers who want to learn more about autism

Identified 70 years ago, autism is still a difficult topic for society. We seem to learn more and more about it, and if you work with people you might want to take this course in order to study autism and its spectrum. The course will help you not only study, but also discuss the issues of communication and social relations as well as investigate co-occurring conditions. It’s a great course, especially for teachers of children and young learners.

Caring for Vulnerable Children by the University of Strathclyde and CELCIS

Start: 15/04/2019

Duration: 6 weeks

For whom: people who want to develop their career towards child care field

In times of shrinking public services, the task of caring for vulnerable children has never been more challenging. This course will be of great help to all teachers and parents who want to learn more about risk and vulnerability. The main benefit is the possibility of discussing different methods of practice and different possible interventions.

Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching by Lancaster University

Start: 15/04/2019

Duration: 4 weeks

For whom: people with an interest in dyslexia and language learning

I have already taken up this course and recommended it months ago, but if you haven’t participated in it yet – it’s a great opportunity to do it now, as dyslectic students tend to underperform in foreign language classes. You will learn a lot of things about dyslexia and its co-occurring conditions. If you’re in need of materials for dyslectics, you may visit a page by my admirable friend Karina Frejlich. She has a lot of materials designed for dyslectic students you may but at the affordable price.

Managing Behaviour for Learning by the National STEM Learning Centre

Start: 22/04/2019

Duration: 5 weeks

For whom: teachers who want to work on effective behaviour management in classroom

I recommend this course for all the teachers who struggle with classroom discipline, an issue that becomes more and more problematic. This course will help you observe how your behaviour influences your students’, how you control emotional responses and interact with students. Then, you’ll learn techniques and develop your capability to achieve consistency in managing behaviour, recognise positive behaviour and build trust in your classroom.

Professional Development for Early Career Teachers by the University of East Anglia

Start: 29/04/2019

Duration: 5 weeks

For whom: teachers starting out in their careers

It’s a common question once you become a teacher that goes: “now what?”. This course will help you face your new responsibilities and duties. Through the course you will reflect on and identify your professional development needs, explore behaviour management strategies, pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning, ways to prioritise your workload and more. Just like the previous course, I believe it’s a great choice for freshies, but it may be a nice refresher for all of us.

I believe you will find these courses useful both for you and your students. Have fun enjoying longer and sunnier days!