The Impact of COVID-19

The Impact of COVID-19 on Education – How to Sustain Teaching Success

In order to help schools, colleges and education leaders prepare for teaching in the coming months, the OECD and the Global Education Innovation Initiative at Harvard University have collaborated on a new paper.

Schooling disrupted, schooling rethought – How the COVID-19 pandemic is changing education has collected data and analysed information on the education conditions faced in 59 countries.

With the pandemic far from over, it appears as though remote teaching and online learning is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

So how can the teaching profession best adjust to this new normal? Here’s what the report recommends.

Plan and prepare

“Challenging as providing educational continuity during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic has been, the coming years may be even more challenging,” notes the paper. Therefore, education leaders must prepare for rapid change and greater volatility.

Learn from the pandemic

A return to pre-pandemic life doesn’t look likely until a vaccine is available, which could easily result in further school closures. This means “a contingency plan to continue learning remotely should be developed, building on what was learned from the plan advanced during the first phase.”

Maintain physical distancing

“There are significant demands to operate schools safely following guidelines of public health authorities, implementing those effectively will require a process of design which needs to be responsive to the conditions of each school.”

Create a system for remote learning

An effective system for remote learning is essential to not only continue student education but also help them develop the skills required for tomorrow’s ever-changing world. Teachers may need to re-think their roles too, as more emotional support will be required.

Strengthen an expanded learning ecosystem

The only way in which education was possible for many schools during the first phase of the pandemic was with better technology and telecommunications. Partnerships with providers will need to be maintained and strengthened in future.

Continue teacher professional development

“Ongoing professional development needs to become a much more integral part of the work organisation in education, and ensure that teachers have a deep understanding not only of the curriculum as a product, but also of the process of designing a curriculum and the pedagogies that will best communicate the ideas behind the curriculum.”

Greater capacity for blended learning

The reopening of schools is an opportunity to integrate the spaces, time, people and technologies associated with learning. The key is striking a balance between standards and guidelines and responsiveness to local conditions in schools and communities.

Assessment of student needs and outcomes

Because many students will have experienced trauma as a result of the pandemic, it is essential to assess where they are academically and emotionally. This should involve the development of individualised strategies to retain the engagement of students and families.

Recover learning loss

“The majority of students were unable to learn what the curriculum expected them to learn during the first phase of the pandemic. Additional learning time will be necessary to minimise the long term impact of those losses.”

Additional recommendations on how to sustain education continuity can be found here.

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