online education

On-line coaching for everybody to spice up trainer skilled improvement

Recent ministerial guidance states that teachers must place their professional practice in a perspective of continuous improvement and employ the necessary resources to develop and update their professional skills. However, this commitment to continuous training is sometimes hampered by major obstacles, linked in particular to logistics (modalities, costs, time, duration, location) and the professional context (lack of time and resources due to the lack of manpower ).

At the same time, managing the diversity of needs and particularly the disruptive behavior of certain students is a major challenge that creates glaring training needs for many teachers. In fact, disruptive student behavior can lead to stress among teachers and is even considered the single most important cause of burnout.

Considering that professional development is associated with the adoption of better professional practices, with improving the sense of personal effectiveness and consequently with well-being at work, it is advisable to consider career development pathways taking into account reality pull teaching profession.

We invest in research to implement practices that support student success and are interested in the potential of Massive Online Education (Massive open online course – MOOC) for professional development of teachers.

What is a MOOC?

A MOOC is free online training that can accommodate an unlimited number of learners with no admission requirements, and its content is designed and structured by experts, usually academics, in the field. Participants are invested in a learning process that respects their pace and their need for commitment, aiming to update their knowledge through a variety of methods: videos, readings, questionnaires, discussions, experiments, etc.

Man points to a schematic representation of the MOOC
Are MOOCs a promising way to meet the urgent professional development needs of teachers?
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MOOCs targeting teachers are rare and relatively new. Considering their innovative aspect that allows learners to take part in quality training for free and at the most convenient time for them, they certainly promise to support the professional development of teachers. With this in mind, and in response to training needs in the field of intervention with students with behavioral difficulties, Laval University has developed the MOOC, The Point on ADHD: Understanding, Supporting, and Guiding Adolescents.

Based on effective practices recognized by research in the field of professional development and intervention in young people with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), this MOOC aims to engage school staff who work with young people aged 5 to 17 with ADHD works with them to implement more effective school intervention practices. This training is also designed to encourage participants to reflect on their practices in order to make changes deemed necessary to support the educational success of students with ADHD.

Hyperactivity, inattention and resistance

At school, students with ADHD may have difficulty maintaining their attention, organizing, regulating their level of verbal and motor activity, controlling and inhibiting their behavior, and forming good relationships with peers and teachers. Not only can these phenomena hinder the academic success of students with ADHD, but they can also have a negative impact on the well-being of teachers. In fact, behaviors related to hyperactivity and inattention, as well as those related to resistance, are the ones that cause the most stress in teachers. Thus, compared to other students with special needs, those with ADHD cause teachers to have more doubts and need more support.

Given these findings, this training, divided into four modules, first provides an overview of ADHD based on current scientific literature, in order to allow those involved in education to better understand its symptoms and manifestations. It then examines different intervention approaches and strategies that could help school staff to more effectively intervene with students with ADHD and better support their development and learning in school.

It is important to equip teachers to appropriately intervene with students with ADHD.

Specifically, this MOOC is a toolbox with a wealth of effective strategies. Specific interventions particularly related to academic learning (success in reading, writing and arithmetic), the development of social skills, emotional regulation, anxiety and resistance behavior are also presented.

Better equipped teachers

This MOOC has just completed its fourth edition. To date, it has already attracted more than 35,000 participants. The results of a study conducted during its 2nd edition (Winter 2020) underline the satisfaction of the participants (overall satisfaction rate of 86%). Additionally, 90% of respondents believe their participation in the MOOC has enabled them to increase their knowledge, adopt a better attitude, and intervene more effectively with students with ADHD. In addition, the results of this study demonstrate an improvement in self-efficacy when teaching students with ADHD between the start and end of the MOOC. Therefore, after the MOOC, the vast majority of participating teachers feel more competent and equipped to intervene with these students.

The results of this research encourage considering MOOCs as a promising professional development activity to support the adoption of effective practices among students and promote teacher well-being. Indeed, this is a scenario that allows us to believe in the potential of MOOCs to meet teacher training needs. The use of this innovative technology is an important advance in education and of social relevance as it contributes to the accessibility of high quality university education activities.

Those responsible for teacher professional development in partnership with post-secondary educational institutions would do well to consider the potential of MOOCs for teacher education needs.

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