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Closing the gender gap in the classroom

Free online course explores the factors that support girls to reach their full potential

18 September 2017: Social learning platform, FutureLearn, is today launching a free online course ‘Girls’ Education: Teaching Strategies That Develop Confidence, Resilience and Collaboration’, in partnership with the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST).

With gender inequality making headlines worldwide, the four-week course explores ways to support girls in the classroom in order to prepare them for their future lives and careers. The interactive tutorials guide participants through different aspects of pedagogy that develop and promote character traits such as independence, resilience, collaborative working, problem solving and confidence.

Designed to help reach as many girls as possible, the course is aimed at those who shape the learning experience for girls in school: teachers, school leaders, school governors and parents.

Cathy Walter, Assistant Director of Education at the Girls’ Day School Trust and lead educator of the course, said, “At the Girls’ Day School Trust, we are passionate about our role in preparing girls for life beyond the classroom. The ways we teach can have a profound and positive influence in girls’ self-belief, confidence and character.  As experts in girls’ education, we are excited to share all we’ve learnt and to reach as many girls as possible.”

Simon Nelson, Chief Executive at FutureLearn, said: “Gender equality is widely discussed in today’s workforce, so it’s critical to address this issue as early as possible by opening up a dialogue in the classroom too. We’re thrilled that the Girls’ Day School Trust shares our ethos of helping everyone to fulfil their potential in a changing world. We hope this course will equip educators and those who influence classroom cultures with the skills to build confidence in girls.”

The course will help participants to:

  • Explore strategies that develop character in a way that supports academic success in school and professional success after school, such as a ‘Growth Mindset’
  • Identify practical in-school opportunities to develop confidence in girls for learning and later life, and consider the need to develop a cognitive vocabulary in girls
  • Develop a rationale and criteria for effective collaborative learning to maximise effectiveness and engagement in girls’ learning
  • Evaluate school-based strategies that can help girls build confidence and respond positively to learning challenges
  • Reflect on, analyse and understand the implications of the course for practical use in the classroom

While working through these objectives, participants will reflect on the role that schools play in supporting girls’ long-term achievements and explore the importance of classroom culture and the value of ethos and atmosphere. They will also have the chance to discuss the vital balance between challenging learners and providing them with confidence, as well as the chance to evaluate and discuss aspects of the course with others who contribute towards shaping learning experiences.

As with most FutureLearn courses, this course can be taken for free or there is the option to upgrade to receive additional benefits.



Notes to Editors

For further press information, please contact:

Rachel MacPherson, PR Executive, FutureLearn

About FutureLearn

Founded by The Open University in 2012, FutureLearn is a leading social learning platform, enabling online learning through conversation. With over 6.5 million people from over 200 countries across the globe – a community that is continuously growing – it offers free and paid for online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, as well as organisations such as the European Space Agency, the British Council and Cancer Research UK. FutureLearn’s course portfolio covers a wealth of areas to promote lifelong learning for a range of applications including general interest, an introduction to university studies, continuing professional development and fully online postgraduate degrees.

About the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST)

The GDST is the UK’s leading group of independent girls’ schools, with nearly 4,000 staff and 20,000 students between the ages of three and 18. As a charity that owns and runs a family of schools and academies in England and Wales, it reinvests all its income in its schools. Founded in 1872, the GDST has a long history of pioneering innovation in the education of girls.


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