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GDST launches online courses with FutureLearn

Girls' Day School Trust partners with FutureLearn to offer free, online CPD courses for teachers

Posted by Stephanie Broad | September 27, 2016 | Technology

Leading girls’ school network The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) has announced a partnership with FutureLearn, the social learning platform owned by the Open University, to produce free, online CPD courses for teachers. 

The first course, ‘Girls’ Education: teaching strategies that develop resilience, confidence and collaboration’ is now open for enrolment and will start on 21 November 2016. It will be run by Professor John West-Burnham and GDST Assistant Director of Education, Cathy Walter.

The course will examine the significant factors that influence girls’ learning experiences, in particular strategies that develop character in a way that supports academic success in school and professional success in their future careers. 

It builds on the premise that the behaviours the education system rewards – studying, careful preparation, patient climbing from one level to the next – seem to give women an advantage academically. Yet in the world of work, people hire and promote based on character as much as on formal qualifications.

Different aspects of ‘girl-friendly’ pedagogy will be examined with a particular focus on approaches that develop and promote character traits such as independence, resilience, collaborative working, problem solving and confidence. 

These approaches include:

  • Collaborative learning
  • Challenge
  • Problem-solving  

Learners joining the course will have the opportunity to watch videos, debate key issues and read articles. At every step of the course, there is also the opportunity to post comments online and engage with fellow students. 

Welcoming the partnership, the GDST’s Head of Creative Teaching and Learning, Cat Scutt, said: “We are really excited to be the first school group to be accepted as partners by FutureLearn. In a world where technology is increasingly at the centre of the learning experience of school students, we are keen to embrace the opportunities afforded by online learning for teachers on a massive scale. FutureLearn provides the ideal platform for this, giving us a huge opportunity to cement ourselves as leaders in innovation and teacher development.” 

Nigel Smith, Head of Content for FutureLearn, added: “It gives us great pleasure to add GDST to our learning establishments partnerships. We are looking forward to working with them to deliver the unique benefits of the international collaborative social learning environment offered by FutureLearn which encourages teachers from all over the world to share their questions and thoughts, and allows them to grow together to get the best results for their students.”

Find out more at    

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