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EPALE - Plateforme électronique pour l'éducation et la formation des adultes en Europe


Distance Learning Experiences of Teachers During Covid-19 Process

par Esra Telli
Langue: EN

Almost all schools around the world have been shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, in many countries, education was not completely stopped, and countries and schools turned to distance education practices. Various measures have been taken to ensure that students are not completely disconnected from educational processes by using technological tools such as television, online platforms, internet and mobile applications. Many countries started distance education very fast after the closure of the schools. In this process, teachers were also expected to support students academically and to be included in the distance education process. However, in many countries, even if teachers want to contact their students, the number of countries where teachers are trained on “distance education” is very limited; In Europe and Asia, only 20% to 30% of countries provide training on distance education to teachers.

Many teachers who have never had such experience before, and who have not received sufficient training on how to deal with such a crisis in pre-service and in-service training processes, were caught unprepared for this process. In many countries, teachers are expected to take the initiative and carry out this process on their own, and teachers are not getting enough support. Teachers who have limited skills and skills in providing distance education face difficulties in effectively carrying out this process alone. In addition to the differences between teachers, the school's resources, students' access to digital tools and their ability to use, the socio-economic profile of the school and students, have a significant impact on how teachers spend their distance education. Especially teachers working in disadvantaged regions and schools face more difficulties in this process and even have difficulties in reaching their students.

Moreover, even if teachers have sufficient technological skills and can reach all students through communication channels, distance education may be insufficient for some age groups, class levels, lessons and students. In addition, pedagogical methods and strategies to be used in distance education have to be different from those used in the classroom. In order to ensure the participation and motivation of students, to follow learning, to support students remotely, teachers need to use different methods and make more efforts. While organizing teaching according to the needs of different students is quite difficult even in the classroom environment, trying to provide it remotely - even if not enough preparation has been made - makes the job of teachers much more difficult and creates pressure on teachers.

On the other hand, teachers at the other end of the spectrum have to cope with a much more intense workload, demands and expectations than when the schools are open and education is maintained in the classroom, with communication technologies being easily accessible. With the closure of the schools, parents' anxiety about learning and development of their children increases, and it becomes a demand for more attention from teachers and more time for their own children. In a society where a competitive school and educational culture is dominant, unfortunately, parents' comparison of schools, teachers and their own children with others increases the pressure on teachers. It is seen that this pressure has become much more evident in private education institutions.

Employees in all segments of society, different occupational groups, production and service sectors want measures to spend this process with minimal economic, social and psychological losses, as well as protecting their health and the health of those around them. In the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been challenging for all people, priority should be given to health services and employees in this sector. However, teachers and education employees who continue their distance education efforts during this process and who have a great role in compensating learning losses after the process also need to be supported to continue their job security during this crisis period, to prevent income losses and to meet their professional needs. Distance learning is one of the most challenging issues for teachers in this process. Countries need to take steps such as directing teachers in this process, providing them with the support they need, providing exemplary practices, and creating environments that will enable inter-teacher cooperation to be carried out remotely. Teachers have a huge role both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is essential to provide the necessary support to teachers.

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