Being a lifelong learner is a major part of being in the education field. Professional development is a great way to continue learning, and so are in-person or online courses. As we are living through the Coronavirus pandemic, online courses are a great option to take this summer! The courses all mentioned are either free or low-cost, and the links are provided!
The Science of Well-Being at Yale
Yale University is offering many online learning courses for free that are great for professional development for teachers! One extremely popular and beneficial course for teachers is called “The Science of Well-Being”. This course focuses on building healthy habits, incorporating wellness activities into your life, and increasing your overall happiness. Teachers are living through unprecedented times, and being physically and mentally strong are very important in order to do the best job for the students. There is much uncertainty about what the beginning of the school year will bring, so being mindful of your own self is important. This course is free to sign up for, and there is an option to earn a certificate, which is $49.
PBS Teacherline also offers many great course options for the summer. While there are many courses offered where you can earn graduate credits, there are also many courses offered where you can earn certificates. The certificate courses are free, and there are so many options available.
One course that sounds extremely interesting is titled “Engaging with Families and Communities to Support Social-Emotional Learning”. Enduring the thirteen weeks of distance learning presented many challenges in keeping students engaged, motivated, and happy, and building strong relationships with the families was important to the process. There are interactive modules in this course to understand the families, understand what the families know about social-emotional learning, and how to discover available resources to support the families.
Another course that is offered for free by FutureLearn is for teaching students that have experienced trauma. Through research, observations of distance learning, and discussions with families, students, and guidance counselors, it is apparent that many students have experienced some form of trauma throughout the closing of in-person learning. This course focuses on finding out what complex trauma is and how you can help children dealing with it. As this type of trauma affects social, emotional, and physical growth in children, this course can help teachers have a deeper understanding of how to respond.
Learner’s Edge is offering a course on cultural responsiveness online. This course is priced at $49, and there is a Letter of Completion given at the end of this course. The title of the course is “Culturally Responsive Teaching: Awareness to Action”, and it focuses on many of the issues that are present in teaching and the world today. The foundation of culturally responsive teaching is explored, along with mindsets and biases present in educators and how to develop a plan to address these, and how to apply strategies to have a more culturally responsive approach to lessons. This course is very relevant to many challenges present in our current society.
Harvard University is offering a course on family engagement. This course is free, or $70 if you wish to receive a certificate of completion. The focus is on family engagement and the improved achievement in school, as well as the benefits having support from home can provide in the classroom. This type of engagement can be vital to the improvement of our schools and the education provided to students.
Google Classroom Training
Google offers many different types of training for Google Classroom. The levels are varied from beginner to advanced. After creating a virtual learning environment during the pandemic, many teachers will now want to enhance their knowledge of the online learning platform used by most teachers in the country. These different trainings will help educators “learn how to use Google tools to their full potential.”
Google Teacher Center
Google Teacher Center also offers different trainings to help teachers develop and strengthen their ability to utilize Google tools. There are various courses and trainings offered, including a course to become a Google Certified Trainer. In this way, you can pass your knowledge onto your colleagues through in-services or teacher training.
Continuing education is not just important for educators, it is required. There are so many low-cost or even free online courses available. With all the changes and challenges that teachers are facing right now, there are many great ideas that can be learned through any of these online courses. Keeping yourself emotionally prepared for what the new school year will bring is important. Your mindset and attitude will be directly reflected in your students’ mindsets and behaviors. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Believe you can, and you are halfway there.” Stay positive, keep a growth mindset, and believe that anything is possible.