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Teaching challenges in the Covid Emergency
In these difficult days, our ReadTwinning experts have conducted a survey in order to better understand the impact of the shift to online school activities on teaching and learning.
Were the teachers ready to work through online education? Did each and every student have the necessary devices and tools to attend virtual classes? Is online didactic more inclusive or not?
These are just few examples of questions we asked to a cross-section of 111 different schools. The section comprehends a diversified example of schools: from primary to high school; working in urban, suburban or periphery context; schools which were already part of the ReadTwinning project and schools which were not. The answers we obtained were extremely differentiated, let's look at them!
Learning activities will surely continue online even when the pandemic emergency will be finished. By that time, schools will definitely need more specific indications from their national Ministry of Education because, as shown in the survey, more than 37% of the choice of tools and platform to be used was based on individual choice of the teacher. The most efficient tool used in investigated schools is the email (74.8%), followed by platforms of web conferencing (57.7%) and the materials provided to students during this online teaching are mostly contents produced personally by the teacher (74.8%). The majority of teachers feels frustrated or in tension because they did not have clear instructions on how to face the shift to online teaching. In addition, they did not have any previous opportunity to test the tools and were forced to learn simply by using them. On the other hand, the flexibility and the encouragement given by the school to use any necessary tool for learning activities could be considered as an added value in helping teachers to shape their work according to the single situation they are facin
On the side of online teaching inclusivity, there are both positive and negative news. On the bright side, we could report that for the 41% of interviewed schools more than 90% of students have access to internet, mostly though desktop or smartphone. However, there is still a 29.7% of teachers who answered that more or less the 30% of their students do not have access to internet at home. Generally, the participation is satisfactory and involving for most of the students. However, there are important negative factors: the 7.5% of schools declare to have a very limited or non-existent participation in online activities and the 15.3% of teachers do not have any kind of contact with the parents, which is in any case only occasional and limited to few parents. To conclude, we here report that 24.3% of teachers think to spend from 6 to 8 hours a day in online teaching related activities. At the same time, the majority of them considers their student to be engaged in learning for less than 2 hours a day (33%). It could be interesting to interview also students on order to have a more complete vision of the situation.
Particularly considering reading-related activities, we could say that there is a general encouragement of leisure reading for students by teachers. When an elaboration on the book is requested, it reflects the digitalisation we all are experiencing in these days. For example, it is asked to read online books, which are accessible to everyone now that libraries are closed, or to develop presentations of the book through a digital presentation, or to share in the online class the reading experience. A special attention is also given to themes of the book. For examples, therapeutic stories could be helping children in getting through this difficult time by being brave but extremely creative.
Schools and teachers had the impression of being left alone fighting a battle without adequate tools and indications. It is also extremely importantly to guarantee that each and every child can fulfil its right to education, a right so crucial to young people's development and opportunities for the future, that it should never be underestimated or forgotten, not even during a sanitary emergency.