Online learning is a flexible way for anyone with a demanding work schedule to acquire new skills.
With more teaching philosophies emerging – from new subject matter and pedagogy to the push to better understand the psychology of learning – it has perhaps never been more important for international school teachers to continue their professional development. But with stretched workloads and the challenge of settling into a new country, it can be difficult to find the time.
“The teaching profession is constantly changing and there should be no end to learning, but time management is always going to be a challenge,” says Mary Glynn, training and development manager for Prospero Teaching, a teaching agency.
Online learning is a flexible way for anyone with a demanding work schedule to acquire new skills, and is often free. Prospero, for example, offers teachers working abroad a series of webinars and online sessions on subjects such as safeguarding children.
There are also dozens of free courses on websites such as Udemy, Coursera and edX, which often come with certificates. Udemy, for instance, has teacher training programs on topics like mastering video-making. The courses are usually taught by other school teachers, who are excellent instructors because they understand the learning process and how knowledge should be applied in a classroom.
“Your main resource as teachers should be other teachers,” says Prospero’s Glynn. “If you can learn from your colleagues you will never stop growing and developing.”
She also advises teachers to be active on social networking websites and online communities. “Twitter is a fantastic resource for teachers, as many share ideas which can help others become more efficient and effective.” Learning through social media also transcends cultural boundaries. “On Twitter, the flow of ideas is fluid, which encourages teachers to be more open-minded to opinions from all around the world,” Glynn says.