With the return of children to school, teaching professionals need to be fully prepped for the busy and bustling classroom. The Open University’s free learning site, OpenLearn has created two dedicated resource hubs to support and develop subject and pedagogical knowledge for primary school teachers and teaching assistants, including a wide range of articles and short courses on child development to mental health and wellbeing.
Created in response to feedback from the OU’s Education students, the sites have already proved popular, with the following courses receiving the most traction:
Supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing
Children’s mental health is a global concern and children are increasingly being diagnosed with mental health conditions. While the context of children’s lives undoubtedly contributes to their sense of wellbeing, this course highlights that there is more that can be done within society to improve children’s sense of wellbeing to help prevent poor mental health. Academic experts guide through the mental health and wellbeing of babies and young children (aged 0–8 years) and its importance.
Teaching for good behaviour
The quality of teaching inevitably has an impact on the behaviour of students. This free course considers some of the factors that can contribute to misbehaviour in the classroom and the steps that we can be taken as teachers to re-engage students with the learning process. The course considers the format of lessons, how lessons are delivered, how to present lesson content in an interesting and creative way, and the development of ‘engaging lessons’.
Designed for non-specialist mathematics teachers of 8-14 year olds, teaching assistants, home schoolers and parents. This course aims to develop your understanding of the mathematical content covered in the middle school years and effective strategies and approaches to teaching and learning. Through your studies you will begin to understand how children in this age group learn maths and the common misconceptions which they may experience.
Exploring children’s learning
How does a child’s mind and behaviour change as they develop over time? In this free course, four theories of child development are explored. Each theory views child development from a different perspective and all have underpinned psychological research for many years and continue to do so today. By the end of this course you will have a good understanding of each of the theories and will have begun to challenge your own assumptions about how your own children, or children you know, have developed over time.
Learn about autism, a complex and challenging long-term condition for many individuals and their families worldwide, and an aspect of human diversity to others. This course introduces the autism spectrum, how it is experienced by different individuals and families, and why it is a global concern. The course explains how ideas about autism have evolved and explores diagnosis, causes, intervention and life-span development. Widely varying perspectives on autism are illustrated and key societal and cross-cultural issues highlighted.
“The Open University has provided our Learning Coach Team with the best possible free online CPD, which has enabled our team to continue their professional development whilst they’ve been working from home.”
Dr Liz Chamberlain, Senior Lecturer in Education (Primary) at the OU, added:
“Teachers and support staff are working tirelessly through the pandemic to teach children remotely, in bubbles, and through their own home schooling. Yet, despite being so busy, they remain professionals committed to deepening their subject knowledge and continue their learning. The Open Learn content offers so many free courses that suit the needs of support staff and it seemed the least we could do would be to gather all the resources and put them in one, easily accessible place.”