PANDEMIC AND SCHOOL MANAGEMENT. CHALLENGES FOR FUTURE EDUCATION
University of Florence, Italy
The experience of the Covid-19 pandemic, in detail what it has represented and still represents, is the subject of continuous reflections and it poses new problems that involve both the whole society and the educational institution. After the Prime Minister's Decree (DPCM of 4th March 2020) and the consequent closure of all Italian schools, one of the greatest challenges that today the educational system still faces is certainly an afterthought of the teaching-learning process. E-learning (DAD), the exclusive solution to the educational and didactic emergency, has highlighted even more the difficulty in abandoning traditional teaching practice. From the first days of closure, teachers have measured themselves with the technological tools, adapting to virtual learning environments and transferring in e-learning the usual teaching practices carried out in the classroom. However, in these new contexts, that we could define on one hand innovative and with enormous potential, the limits, risks and shortcomings of technologically assisted teaching have also been highlighted. Therefore, in the light of the difficulties and the experience lived in this period, this research aims to investigate, understand and analyze not only the critical issues that managers have had to face in these months marked by the suspension of teaching activities in presence, but also the "good practices" they have used to better manage the school and guarantee students the right to education enshrined in Italian Constitution.
REIMAGINING TEACHING AND LEARNING IN THE COVID ERA. METAPHORICAL CONSTRUCTIONS IN TEACHERS’ NARRATIVES
1University of Catania, Italy; 2University of Catania, Italy
Since the beginning of the Covid, national and international research has been conducted to investigate the impact and changes brought about by this emergency period on the educational system, particularly on learning and teaching processes (e.g. UNESCO, 2020). These ongoing analyses have revealed traditional flaws in our educational system while also inspiring school administrators, teachers, and educators to reinvent, rethink, and reimagine learning models and practices. Teachers have been (and continue to be) at the forefront of confronting pandemic challenges. They have demonstrated strong leadership and innovation in ensuring that no learner is left behind and that education can continue, as highlighted by a joint statement issued by UNESCO, ILO, UNICEF, and EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL on the previous World Teacher’s Day (5 October 2020). Also, this current period has enabled educational systems to reimagine learning and equip students with the skills required to navigate the future.
In this exploratory work, we wanted to focus on and give voice to teachers’ narratives and representations of teaching and learning during this vulnerable time. This paper, in particular, reports on a workshop experience with 100 primary teachers, in which an adaptation of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® (LSP) method was used as reflective practice pedagogy (Peabody & Noyes, 2017). Our goal was to learn how teachers reimagine education and rethink the teaching and learning process in the Covid era. Teachers were asked to build a Lego model representing “Reimagining teaching and learning in the Covid Times”. To inform our reflection and analysis, we used visual data (photos of Lego models), narrative writing to describe teacher models, and group discussions to explore teaching experience. This study shows how metaphor can be used to assist teachers in conceptualizing education as well as investigating implicit or emerging personal and professional epistemologies (Fabbri, 2012; Perla, 2011).
Using the kinaesthetic brick modelling methodology for reflective practice in teacher education is a promising pedagogical option (Craig, 2018). A significant advantage of using the LSP method was the ability of teachers to understand and articulate their narrative more easily than if it was first verbally reported. In fact, LSP is a powerful tool for promoting self-awareness and reflection. The use of Lego models as a tool for critical hermeneutic analysis can also facilitate the development of participants’ reflective abilities. Listening to teachers’ stories during this precarious period of pandemic emergency can encourage them to embrace the ‘change’ needed to adapt to constantly changing situations.
Craig C. J. (2018). Metaphors of knowing, doing and being: Capturing experience in teaching and teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 69, 300-311
Fabbri D. (2012). Per una Epistemologia Operativa del cambiamento. Riflessioni Sistemiche, 6, 43-54.
Peabody M. A., Noyes S. (2017). Reflective boot camp: Adapting LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® in higher education. Reflective Practice, 18(2), 232-243.
Perla L. (2011). La ricerca didattica sugli impliciti d’aula. Opzioni epistemologiche. Giornale Italiano della Ricerca Educativa. 4, 119-130.
UNESCO (2020). What have we learnt? Overview of findings from a survey of ministries of education on national responses to Covid19, Unicef Report
SCHOOL FUTURE(S). IMAGININING A 'NEW SCHOOL NORMALITY' IN THE TWILIGHT OF THE FRONTAL LESSON.
1Università degli Studi di Napoli - Federico II, Italy; 2IRPPS CNR; 3INDIRE
The public and policy debates about education, in the last school year, marked by the Covid pandemic, have been traversed by some dichotomic positions, such as the one between the necessity of schools’ closure and the defence of the ‘face to face’ model of schooling. In the meanwhile, a wider ‘power play’ about the future(s) of education is running through the Global (OECD, 2020; UNESCO, 2020) and National (AGCOM, CENSIS, INDIRE, SIRD) levels.
In this presentation, we will illustrate a research work aiming at highlighting the main school stakeholders’ agencies and their visions of education for a possible post-Covid world. In fact, following Nóvoa and Alvim, ‘the pandemic revealed that […] change [in schooling] is urgent and possible [and] this awareness […] invites us, today, to take steps, even modest ones, toward a future school’ (2020, 6), giving value to teachers, who ‘are essential to the present and future of education’ (Ibidem, 4). Blending these ideas with the inventory proposed by Latour (2020, 3) during the first global lockdown, we crafted a research dispositif whose aim was to stimulate school professionals’ reflections about imagining the post-pandemic practice of schooling: a self-description exercise that asks them to take a performative position toward their own future(s), through the discursive fabrication of ‘new protective measures […] against bringing back business as usual’.
By promoting a public sociology of education (Grimaldi et al., 2020), our research dispositif gave rise to the investigation named ‘La Scuola che Verrà’, targeted to italian teachers and head-teachers amd realized by CNR-IRPSS, INDIRE and ANDIS from May to September 2020. The analysis of the 206 responses, coming from small and rural schools (Mangione and Cannella, 2020) and a broader set of Italian schools, through the coding procedures of the Grounded Theory (Clarke, 2005; Tarozzi, 2008), led us to depict the complex semantic field of a possible ‘new school normality’ in the post-pandemic scenario.
Being distant from the ‘special effects’ of the rhetorics of innovation and the dichotomies of the public debate, a sort of ‘crepuscular vision’ emerges from the texts, in which new shapes and objects, though still blurred, are sustained by a pragmatic approach to the re-thinking of schooling. This vision moves beyond the detected inadequacies of the frontal lesson and the transmissive model, pointing towards 5 areas of change:
- small groups of pupils;
- a plurality of indoor and outdoor spaces;
- active pedagogies;
- digital technologies,
- an increased number of teachers.
The consensus around this vision is worthy to be further investigated. However, we can say from now that it seems possible and already practised in schools an approach that, aware of the cogency of change, is not resistant nor uncritically promoter of innovations, but prone to open yards of ‘metamorphosis’.
THE ECEC PROFESSIONALS WITHIN THE COVID EMERGENCY: FROM REMOTE CONTACTS TO LEARNING COMMUNITIES
1University of Modena & Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2University of Modena & Reggio Emilia, Italy
In Italy, the lockdown due to Covid-19 in February 2020 and the interruption of schools and services for children aged 0–6 have led early childhood educators and teachers to develop strategies for staying in contact with families remotely, in order to offer parents and children both support and educational experiences. As their work is usually strongly based on physical and emotional proximity, they had to deeply rethink their role, aims, methods, tools and activities.
Ministerial guidelines for the 0–6 education system were developed only in May 2020, highlighting the specificity of needs and actions, but the first emergency had already been managed by the local schools and services.
Within this framework, an online survey was carried out between June and July 2020 in order to examine how the professional figures involved reinterpreted their roles and redefined their tasks and objectives within the pandemic emergency. The study involved 1,086 educators and teachers of children aged 0–6 across Italy.
Starting from the point of view of educators and teachers, the analysis focus on: 1) what kind of obstacles and strategies the educative professionals found 2) what kinds of competences, support, networks and resources were they or were they not been able to draw upon 3) what kind of effects the pandemic experience had on the educative contexts.
Rethinking the educational settings was obviously a challenge for the education staff’s ability to adapt their role to online education, and the analysis highlights the difficulties faced by educators and teachers but also the resources and networks they managed to find.
The interviewees’ uptake of a multiplicity of online training activities suggests they feel a need to fill gaps in their skills and also perhaps to use the unusual situation as an opportunity for professional development. The interviewees also actively sought support and ideas through online contact with peers and online professional communities and experts, as well as from family members, showing the importance of horizontal networks. The vertical relations appeared to be weaker: internal coordinators (as pedagogical coordinators, school heads or principals), but also the responsibles of other organisations involved (municipalities, third sector organisations, the Ministry) were not often considered as significant sources of help.
The results also highlight how the education offering had not been the same across the country: not all the families were reached and the most vulnerable were likely lost. However, when communication worked, a sort of new emotional connection between professionals and families emerged. Physical distancing has demanded considerable effort, with different professional spinoffs, but also opened up to some innovations.
THE IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA
Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, Moldova
The Republic of Moldova, with a GDP per capita of US $ 4503.5 (according to the World Bank) in 2019, remains the poorest country in Europe. Faced with critical challenges such as corruption and mass migration, the country's resilience to crisis situations has been severely weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, social and economic inequalities have become much more pronounced. Of these, inequalities in education are among the most sensitive because they target children and young people.
This paper aims to evaluate:
- the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the right to education in the Republic of Moldova;
- the cost of accessibility to educational services during the pandemic;
- the correlation between personal expenditures of the participants in the educational process and National Public Budget’s expenditures for education during the pandemic;
- the level of redistribution between personal expenditures of the participants in the educational process and the National Public Budget’s expenditures for education during the covid-19 pandemic.
From a theoretical and scientific point of view, the study was carried out in the context of an integrated and systematic approach of modern economic and social concepts.
The paper is largely based on the results of sociological research (survey) designed to measure the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the right to education in the Republic of Moldova. The survey conducted by the author is quantitative and targets two categories of respondents addressed in two separate questionnaires - parents whose children study in educational institutions; teachers employed in educational institutions.
The complexity of the studied social, economic and financial phenomena required the use of statistical methods, namely the method of simple regression. Comparative analysis was also used.
The results of sociological research will be used to design funding mechanisms to support equity in the educational process in the Republic of Moldova.
Acknowledgments. This paper is developed within the project "Human Rights in the Republic of Moldova: financial dimension and consolidation through the efficient public expenditures management" (code 20.80009.0807.35), funded through the National Agency for Research and Development of the Republic of Moldova.
Al-Samarrai, S., Cerdan-Infantes, P., & Lehe, J. (2019). Mobilizing Resources for Education and Improving Spending Effectiveness: Establishing Realistic Benchmarks Based on Past Trends. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper (8773).
Di Pietro, G., Biagi, F., Costa P., Karpiński Z. & Mazza, J. (2020). The likely impact of COVID-19 on education: Reflections based on the existing literature and recent international datasets. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
Pokhrel, S., & Chhetri, R. A (2021). Literature Review on Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Teaching and Learning. Higher Education for the Future, 8(1), 133-141. doi: 10.1177/2347631120983481.
UN (2020). Policy brief: education during COVID-19 and beyond.
World Bank (2020). The COVID-19 pandemic: Shocks to Education and Policy Responses. Washington D.C., World Bank.
THE TEACHING EXPERIENCE DURING THE COVID EMERGENCY: THE RESULTS OF A FIELD RESEARCH
Link Campus University, Italy
Due to the global pandemic, schools in most of the countries were forced to an emergency distance teaching that, for a while, has been the only strategy for keeping the students on learning during the lockdown. Since this is having a relevant and dramatic impact on society, a national survey about the School remote experience has been carried out with the aim of understanding the opposing tensions that are animating the various school stakeholders during this still-lasting emergency.
The research has the descriptive-interpretative intent of fostering the debate on post-emergency schools and, consequently, on the education policies. Since the issue involves multi-players, the study has been conducted from multiple perspectives and has reached different targets such as school principals, students, teachers, and parents. The objective of the analysis is to observe how the Italian efforts of building distance teaching (DT) in the emergency period might be improved, with the aim of catching both the new development trajectories and dangerous social risks accrued in this pandemic experience which is still lasting to these days.
In particular, the paper describes the experience of the teachers, with a specific focus on their professional and emotional experience and on the teaching practices carried out during the covid emergency. With this dual-purpose were investigated the concrete responses activated to ensure teaching continuity, the training needs emerging as a result of the digitization of teaching, the strengths, and criticalities of the experience.