Free course

Primary education: listening and observing

Free statement of participation on completion
Primary education: listening and observing
Primary education: listening and observing

Would you like to volunteer or find work in your local primary school? Are you thinking about becoming a teaching assistant, or becoming a teacher in the future? In this free course, Primary education: listening and observing, you will have the chance to look inside primary schools, and watch and listen to children and teaching staff. You’ll also find out what head teachers look for in people who want to work or volunteer in a primary school.

This course is for anyone who wants to upgrade their knowledge of the primary school sector and ethical practices in education settings. The course is especially appropriate for primary school support staff (full or part time, paid or volunteer) and graduates preparing for teacher training.

The course presents a set of practice-focused readings and observational videos. You will learn about small-scale research in the primary school and observe children’s play and classroom learning, and listen to interviews with school staff and children. You will also explore cyber-bullying and the primary school curriculum.


If you wish to undertake any practical activities within schools you may do so with Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance in a school setting and with appropriate supervision and external assessment.

Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation which also displays your Open University badge.

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start of course survey. Once you complete the course we would also value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our optional end of course survey. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.

Primary education: listening and observing

Earn this free Open University digital badge if you complete this course! The badge can be displayed, shared and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. The badge is awarded for completing the course and passing the quizzes.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • show knowledge of how to plan and carry out sensitive observation and information gathering appropriate to educational settings
  • use appropriate small-scale research methods to understand and support children's learning
  • understand ethical practices in educational settings
  • use online and digital technologies for personal and professional learning.

First Published: 29/10/2018

Updated: 09/01/2020

You can start this course right now without signing-up. Click on any of the course content sections below to start at any point in this course.
If you want to be able to track your progress, earn a free Statement of Participation, and access all course quizzes and activities, sign-up.

Course content

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