Professional development of teachers: A core objective of European Schoolnet

Declared by UNESCO and celebrated every year on the 5th of October, World Teachers' Day is an occasion to thank teachers for their tremendous work and the major impact they bring to our society. Along with parents, teachers play an essential role in the development of children, as they are directly involved in the formation and creation of tomorrow's leaders and global citizens.

However, the last few years have been arduous for them. Many schools have had to rethink their teaching habits and adapt them to the technological divide caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Although we live in a world of technological innovation and digital empowerment, many people still lack ICT skills. In view of the global pandemic and its impact on the way we teach, stakeholders in the education system have had to ask themselves the following questions: are we prepared to face the technological challenges of the 21st century? Do we have the necessary skills to train our students?

The ever-changing nature of our society makes it important, if not essential, for teachers – and anyone - to take part in activities that contribute to their personal and professional development. Through personal and professional development courses, teachers can improve the knowledge that has been neglected for a long time, discover new practices to enrich their curriculum, meet other teachers and experience the benefits of peer assessment together.

European Schoolnet: the professional development hub

Since its creation in 1997, European Schoolnet has made it one of its main missions to provide teachers with the tools and knowledge to take part in the technological changes that the education system is facing. More than just practical and academic training, European Schoolnet and its many partners provide resource hubs to inspire and develop the potential of every teacher.

In addition, teachers have access to a multitude of online courses, more commonly known as MOOCs, and it is also possible to attend numerous events and webinars in which teachers and experts come together to share and work on innovative solutions for the classroom of the future. Whether it is the development of a MOOC, the testing of a new application, or the elaboration of an educational kit, European Schoolnet and its partners ensure that teachers are at the heart of the decisions and actively participate in the conception of innovative pedagogical tools. Therefore, all the educational content is designed by and for teachers to be directly in tune with their needs.

Start learning with EUN Academy, FCL and SEG

There are several free platforms provided by European Schoolnet where you can access several resources to work on or improve certain skills for free and at your own pace.

The European Schoolnet Academy platform gives you access to several MOOCs covering a wide range of subjects. Recently, their autumn catalogue of online courses was published so that primary and secondary school teachers can already register for the brand-new courses. For example, educators can learn with their students how to code or take part in a course that helps them understand the consequences of animal use in science.

The advantage of the training offered by EUN Academy is the continuous involvement of peers sharing and assessment. It is therefore important that teachers get feedback on their performance. Besides that, the European Schoolnet Academy allows teacher to meet colleagues all over Europe and to create a network of like-minded peers. Finally, to close the training and congratulate them for the attendance, the participants receive certificates and digital badges.

While the European Schoolnet Academy offers online training, the Future Classroom Lab (FCL) welcomes teachers in a redesigned classroom space to develop and promote a new methodology for creating innovative teaching scenarios. Fully equipped and dedicated to new pedagogical practices, the FCL invites teachers and stakeholders to shape together the school of the future through face-to-face training and strategic webinars. On the website, you can also browse upcoming courses that you can take on-site or online, depending on the sanitary measure. Whether it's about improving digital skills or media literacy, learning about new interactive technologies, or discovering the benefits of Active Learning in the classroom, The Future Classroom Lab makes it a point of honour to develop courses that are directly relevant to the teachers' reality.

Another helpful resource for teachers is the School Education Gateway. This educational platform produced in 29 languages provides access to the latest education news, teaching materials, and relevant resources (reports, expert articles, etc.) in the educational field. In addition, through their Teacher Academy, educators can gain access to free online and on-site courses developed by experts in the area.

Additionally to the courses and various webinars provided, European Schoolnet also offers you the opportunity to join different communities of teachers across Europe. Whether you are interested in setting up innovative projects and working with schools across Europe (eTwinning), or your field of interest is science (Scientix), you can sign up to become a member of these innovative teacher networks.

Teachers can expand their knowledge and deepen their curriculum beyond the subjects taught through the many courses offered. Taking part in these courses is not only beneficial for their own development but also for their students': seeking out new innovations in terms of education is placing the success of their students at the centre.

According to M. Peter Drucker: "(…) the best teachers are the ones who are constantly pushing themselves to learn about new research in their field".