The COVID Classroom Part 2: How do teachers feel about remote learning?

This is the second post about remote learning, specifically relating to teachers. The first post reported on a Victorian study about how students were responding to remote learning.

The Melbourne Graduate School of Education conducted a national survey looking at the impact of COVID-19 with teachers. The report, Examining the impact of COVID-19, is summarised below.

Topline findings:

  • 49% reported all students had access to devices and 43% most of their students
  • 10% identified they had reliable internet all the time – 70% reported stable and reliable internet available to students 75% of the time
  • 15% reported that students always attended online classes at the designated times and 16% only half the time
  • 54% reported that students completed their work most of the time and 26% about half the time
  • 34% somewhat disagree to strongly disagree that students were well prepared to engage in learning online in the home environment, 30% were somewhat prepared – more secondary teachers felt students were better prepared for remote learning
  • 53% of primary teachers identified that the work standard during the remote learning period was not at the same standard as face-to-face teaching
  • 65% of secondary teachers reported that students were producing the same standard of work in the home environment as they would in the classroom environment
  • In the comments teachers identified that significant parent support resulted in higher quality work produced by students

Education Progress

Education teachers were concerned about the impact that a change of routines and programs would have on their students. Teachers who indicated that there would be positive educational outcomes for their students focused on skills such as their students’ improved use of technology and an improvement in independence, organisation and resilience. Many teachers indicated that there were going to be both positive and negative impacts on their students, depending on the amount of support their students had received during the remote learning period, especially for those learning at home. Teachers indicated that the better the support at home the more positive educational outcome for students.

Social and emotional

  • While not at a physical site, many students found means and ways of communicating with one another anyway
  • Teachers were optimistic that remote learning would develop a greater appreciation of friendship in their students, and also a valuing of attributes such as connectedness, empathy, and kindness
  • Teachers felt that social and emotional learning could take a more prominent role in school when students return to school

Teachers and remote learning

  • More than two-thirds of all teachers indicated that they worked more hours than usual every week
  • Around 50% reported working more than 6 hours extra each week, with some working more than an extra 20 hours per week
  • 78% agreed to varying degrees to feeling well prepared and supported for remote teaching
  • 50% were given professional development, 77% extra time and 68% curriculum development support

Tools they used

There were a wide range of platforms and tools accessed by teachers in remote learning:

  • Pre-recorded videos
  • Learning platforms such as Edrolo, Google Classroom, teacher dashboard 365
  • Microsoft Teams, Zoom
  • Secondary teachers used OneNote, Canvas, Compass, SEQTA, eLearn and Blackboard Collaborate

Their concerns

  • Not being able to interact with students, see their expressions, or have 1:1 conversations
  • Their own personal health and wellbeing, feeling isolated and exhaustion
  • Inequity for some students in terms of access to technology and parental support

Opportunities

  • Engagement improved for some students who would normally be disruptive and for those who would be affected by disruptions in class
  • Some students’ organizational and time management skills improved
  • Remote learning encouraged more creative approaches
  • An improved partnership with parents and carers
  • Huge increase in staff collegiality and collaboration, as teachers relied on one another when transitioning to online platforms

Finally, the researchers concluded that:

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education will have far reaching consequences. A better understanding of the experiences of educators and students across the nation is essential in informing what supports and adjustments are needed now and into the future.

My next post looks reports on an international study conducted in the early stages of the pandemic.

2 thoughts on “The COVID Classroom Part 2: How do teachers feel about remote learning?

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