Web watch with Peter Banks



Effective pedagogy is a free online continuing professional development (CPD) course from the Royal Society of Chemistry. It describes a huge number of strategies that we can use every day in our teaching practice and provides links to resources on Learn Chemistry. The course consists of eight topics, each split into three chapters: core ideas, exploring understanding and developing understanding.

Two topics explore how you can approach teaching (Models of teaching and Pedagogical content knowledge). They effectively explain broader concepts such as assessment for learning, constructivism, the neuroscience behind teaching and a wide variety of pedagogical models. You can pick topics in any order, but I’d suggest starting with these two as they prepare you nicely for the others.

The remaining six topics focus on classroom strategies such as assessment, questioning and literacy. They are clearly introduced and describe both the uses and limitations of each strategy. There are plenty of links that take you to further explanations, research and resources. For me, it is the relevance of these to chemistry teaching that makes the course so useful. They work particularly well as a method of suggesting several excellent groups of resources on Learn Chemistry.

All the topics contain a mix of text, photos, video content and some animated cartoons. The cartoons were less useful for me; they moved on quite slowly and the content was often in the text below. The videos were excellent, but their functionality is currently compromised by a slight bug in the system. I tested the course across a variety of devices and it responded quite well on all my desktops, tablets and mobiles. It even worked through my school’s internet connection.

If you’re a chemistry (or even non-chemistry) PGCE student or NQT this is a course you can’t afford to miss. My advice: take your time over it and, like all the other RSC online CPD for teachers courses, use it to help you find your way around the mammoth bank of Learn Chemistry resources. It was certainly very useful to refresh my knowledge.