Martin – a primary school teacher in the UK – used FutureLearn to gain new skills in teaching online during the coronavirus lockdown. We talked to him about his experience as a learner.
Martin Griffiths, 43, is a teacher at a primary school in the UK. After working in the fitness industry as a general manager at a leisure centre, Martin moved into teaching and used FutureLearn to help with his professional development.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he took FutureLearn’s ‘How to Teach Online‘ course.
Martin came across FutureLearn after a colleague recommended a course from the University of Glasgow, designed to help teachers develop strategies to support English language learners.
“I’m in my second year as a qualified teacher, after retraining and moving careers into teaching. FutureLearn provided an opportunity to learn and improve my knowledge base. The school I work at has a lot of students for whom English is not their first language and Glasgow’s course played a role in this area of development for me and helped me to adapt the way I communicate and set up lessons. It also helped to reassure me as things I was already doing were recognised in the course as good practice, which confirmed some of my own teaching methods.”
Like many teachers, when Martin’s school closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was faced with the sudden and unexpected move to online teaching. He was worried about how to engage his Year 5 students online, and returned to FutureLearn to take the ‘How To Teach Online’ course.
“I knew I was going to have to do some form of online teaching, which is something I’ve had no experience of at all. I wanted to find something useful to help. I chose FutureLearn as I had enjoyed the format of the courses and the blend of content they offer from videos, articles and interactions in the comment section.”
FutureLearn is flexible
One of the things Martin found most useful about using FutureLearn during lockdown was the flexibility it offers.
“I was able to fit the teaching online course around my existing commitments and do bits of the course and return back to it when I had the time. I’ve got children who were also doing their own school work from home and we would all sit together to work. I enjoyed teaching but also learning at the same time”.
‘How to Teach Online’ saw educators from all over the world share their experiences of teaching online.
“I found the comments from different teachers really interesting and it was useful to see how others were teaching online. Many shared their tips on things that did and didn’t work and I could take this on board and feedback to my colleagues. I also learnt specific skills around how to set up lessons online, which I’d never done before. I also found the course easily accessible, the language used was not overly academic and no prior knowledge was needed to complete the course.”
Upskill with FutureLearn
FutureLearn has helped Martin to improve his teaching skills, from connecting remotely with his students, to supporting language learners in the classroom.
“Both courses have enhanced my general understanding of different areas of teaching and I’ve recommended them to my colleagues. I will put the things I’ve learnt from FutureLearn, into practice when school reopens.”