Discussions of the impact of COVID–19 on education are understandably often framed in negative terms; the pandemic has, after all, had a massive disruptive impact on schooling globally. Teacher education – both initial teacher preparation and continuing professional development – has also been adversely affected by the often enforced transition from face–to–face to online modes of learning. A new study examines the impacts of the shift to online teacher education in the field of English language teacher education. Through a series of case studies, it highlights the challenges that teacher educators and trainees experienced, how teacher education changed in response to these challenges and the factors that facilitated such change. The full report will be available in the next few days at www.aqueduto.com/research/.
The study also highlights, though, many positive outcomes for teacher education programmes of the enforced shift to online delivery and in this blog I would like to focus on these. They illustrate how the educational crisis created by COVID–19 was a stimulus for productive change that would have otherwise taken longer to occur or not happened at all.
Nine providers of English language teacher education from around the world – all largely new to online delivery – took part in the study. Through detailed interviews, they told their story of how COVID–19 impacted on their work, including, despite many challenges, several ways in which the experience had ultimately been beneficial for them. The box below summarises the benefits they highlighted and these are discussed further in the report.
The enforced move to online teacher education led to improvements in ….
|Understanding||of the value of online education; of the differences between online and face–to–face education|
|Awareness||of the challenges trainees face in an online environment|
|Competence||among teacher educators and trainees regarding online tools and platforms and of how to work effectively online|
|Collaboration||as teacher educators worked together (and with trainees) to find effective online solutions|
|Opportunities||to expand business to new online markets|
|Efficiency||by reducing the logistical demands and costs of face–to–face teaching and learning|
|Access||to teacher education by a wider range of trainees|
|Resources||as teacher educators located, adapted and designed digital materials|
|Flexibility||in the ways teacher education was delivered and (where relevant) assessed|
Many of these benefits (such as collaboration and increased attention to trainees’ needs) have the potential to continue to enhance the work of teacher educators even when they return to face–to–face delivery. Others will continue to shape the teacher education provision of those who sustain an online presence alongside or blended with in–person delivery.
If you are a teacher educator who was thrust by COVID–19 into a rapid shift to online delivery, are you able to identify any benefits of the experience and which might extend the list above?
Borg, S. (2022). COVID-19 and the shift to online language teacher education. Available from www.aqueduto.com/research/