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New 'Becoming a teacher' course launched on Futurelearn

School children in uniform studying at computersAcademics from The Open University’s Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) have created a new free short course, ‘Becoming a teacher’, hosted on Futurelearn. The four-week course is designed help students and those thinking of a career change to decide if teaching is the right path for them.

Teaching experts at The Open University, student teachers, and teachers themselves discuss what it’s really like to work in primary and secondary schools – challenging some common assumptions along the way.

The course materials will help to give a sense of what teaching is really like and start learners on the path to writing their application for initial teacher education.

Ben Oakley, Professor of Sports Performance Education, said: “The OU’s existing downloadable ‘Becoming a Teacher’ guide helps thousands of potential teachers every year. We wanted to develop a more in-depth and interactive bite-sized course into teaching as a career, to help many more.”

Sarah Stewart, Director of PGCE in Wales said: “The OU has been educating teachers since its very beginnings, over fifty years ago. As we move into the next phase of our teaching, with the introduction of the PGCE in Wales, I’m eager to start leading a new cohort of trainee teachers into one of the best professions available.”

Dr Azumah Dennis, EdD Programme Leader said: “Using archive footage created in partnership with the BBC, along with new material, we wanted to produce an online course that showed all facets of teaching-  both the good and the bad, that will help potential teachers make an informed choice before entering the field.”

Registrations for the free ‘Becoming a teacher’ course are now open, with the first programme beginning in early June. The course will continue to be available through the summer and beyond.  


Meet the academics behind the course

Four academics from the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport have developed the course.

Dr Azumah Dennis is programme leader for the OU’s EdD Programme. She had always wanted to work in teaching, but not within a school. She said: “Since starting in adult education I’ve never looked back. There is nothing I like more than being part of the transformational change in people’s lives that education makes possible.”

Ben Oakley, Professor of Sports Performance Education said: “An important part of my teaching at The Open University is writing courses like this with specific audiences in mind, and exploring how to teach new topics; trying to find innovative ways to capture people’s attention and encourage their interest in a field.”

Dr Liz Chamberlain, Senior Lecturer in Education said: “Originally I didn't want to be a teacher, but my mum had other plans! I struggled on my first placement, until I started doing what I believed in and engaged the children with storytelling. 33 years on I'm still a teacher, but now as a teacher educator involved in teacher education in development contexts.  I still work and teach children, and I am a firm advocate for primary teachers and the crucial role they play. My key message to them is always, 'Make sure you're passionate about education and know the difference a good teacher can make.'

Sarah Stewart, PGCE Programme Director (Wales), said: “I have always felt a deep commitment to ensuring all children get the best chance at an education, which I truly believe can make all the difference to their lives. Working on a teacher education programme gives me the opportunity to share my passion and commitment for learning with many other aspiring teachers – so that they too can go out and transform children’s lives.”


Further information

Access the ‘Becoming a teacher’ course on Futurelearn.

Download one of our ‘Becoming a teacher’ pdf guides.


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PGCE in Wales, first cohort starts in October 2020

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