Being a Learner is a True Mark of a Great Teacher

Teacher with primary school students

As a former teacher and now teacher educator, I understand that finding the time to undertake professional learning can be a real challenge. The teaching profession is built on the foundations of learning, but a teacher’s own learning is often overlooked as they focus first on the education of their students.

When I started my role as Associate Dean at QUT’s Faculty of Education, I wanted to build a professional learning model that would allow hardworking teachers, educators and leaders like you to develop your skills and knowledge in a way that would fit best into your busy lives and be more flexible and ‘bite size’.

You may not be ready to take on the larger commitment to complete a formal qualification such as a Graduate Certificate or Masters. That’s why I worked with our team of academic experts and learning designers to build QUT’s new modularised approach to professional learning so you can enhance your skills and knowledge in bite-sized pieces online. You can start with a free online course, and then continue with a series of modules that could lead to credit towards a postgraduate degree.

Online module pathway diagram: Free intro course (preview a course online for free on FutureLearn), Module (Want to more? Extend your knowledge with an online module), Module Plus (Complete an assessment that can be used in the real world. Plus, earn unit credit towards a postgraduate degree in education), Postgraduate degree credit (become an expert in your field. Put your credit towards a Graduate Certificate in Education or Master of Education).

We chose to offer online courses because it gives you the flexibility to learn at your own pace and in your own time. However, our online courses still allow you to interact directly with your facilitators and a community of other learners.

So how does it work? Firstly, you’ll need to select a topic in an area that interests you and where you’d like to develop your skills and knowledge. For example, we offer a course on inclusive education – an important topic that many teachers can benefit from. You can start with our free inclusive education course on FutureLearn. The FutureLearn course is two hours long and will give you a quick, but in-depth, preview of the topic. You get to learn and interact directly with QUT’s facilitator and hundreds of likeminded colleagues from around the world. The course is ‘open’ for you to complete the activities over an extended period of two weeks and if you wish you can upgrade to ensure you have access to the course at any time.

If you find yourself enjoying the topic, you can then enrol in a module for a small fee to extend your learning. Most of our modules require a time commitment of 13 hours over one month. Just like the FutureLearn course, you will learn with colleagues and a QUT inclusive education expert, and can dip in and out over the month, learning at times that work best for you. You will advance your learning of the topic and gain comprehensive skills and knowledge. On completion of the module, you’ll receive certification of your learning which is measured against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST).

(Note that you don’t have to complete the FutureLearn course to enrol in the module. The FutureLearn course is an optional step for those who want to dip their toes into the topic before diving into a module.)

Once you’ve completed the module, you can then choose to enrol in the Module Plus which will give you the opportunity to complete a real-world assessment piece. The assessment will allow you to critically analyse your learnings on the topic within your practice and educational context. Your assessment will be marked by our experts and you will receive a pass or fail grade. If you pass, you will earn 6 points of credit that can be put towards one of our postgraduate courses – for example, our new Graduate Certificate in Education (Inclusive Education).

Teacher with secondary school students.

We were mindful to select a range of topics that draw on the expertise of QUT academics and allow teachers to stay ahead of the profession in an ever-changing educational environment. These topics range from inclusive education, trauma-aware schooling, bullying prevention, to STEM topics, innovative thinking, and phonics in early childhood. Have a look at our full suite of online courses. What topics pique your interest and why? Are there any topics you’d like to see on offer?

QUT Teacher Podclass

I strongly believe that teachers will benefit from our new learning pathway. Being an educator is one of the most important careers in the world and with the evolving nature of education and learning, we know the more you learn, the more your students will learn. Education is so important – and being a learner is a true mark of a great teacher.

We hope you enjoy your learning adventure with us!  See all  QUTeX  Education Professional Development courses.


Simone White is Professor and Assistant Dean (International and Engagement) in the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Simone is also the Immediate Past President of the Australian Teacher Education Association. Simone’s publications, research and teaching are focused on the key question of how to best prepare teachers and leaders for diverse communities (both local and global). Simone is one of the founding members of the International Teacher Education Research Alliance (ITERA) project. This project aims to connect internationally, teacher education scholars to ensure teacher education policy and research improves the learning for all students and teachers. Her current research areas focus on teacher education policy, teacher learning (including teacher education), professional experience and building and maintaining university-school/community partnerships. Simone currently leads an Australian government grant focused on improving the preparation of future teachers to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and caregivers. Through her collective work, Simone aims to connect research, policy and practice in ways that bring teachers and school and university based teacher educators together and break down traditional borders between academics, policy makers, communities and practitioners.

1 Comment

  1. avatar
    Patricia Wagner Reply

    Wahoo !! How wonderful !! What a brilliant idea !! Sooo wish it’d been around when I was labouring through full time teaching , 3 kids to get here there & everywhere , husband mostly away from home , and wading through post graduate study !

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