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The current Conference time is: 14th Aug 2022, 11:26:29pm CEST

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Parallel session - F.5.1 How Schools Address The Covid Emergency: Voices From Principals, Teachers, And Students
Thursday, 03/June/2021:
9:30am - 11:45am

Session Chair: Cristiano Corsini
Session Chair: Valentina Grion
Session Chair: Carla Gueli
Location: Room 7

Session Panels:
F.5. How Schools Address the Covid Emergency: Voices from Principals, Teachers, and Students

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Elettra Troina, Andrea Mangiatordi, Luisa Zecca

Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca, Italia

This study presents the metaphors that emerged from a group of 22 teachers interviewed about their switch to remote instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. The main theoretical framework adopted to study the emergency teaching situation (Hodges et al., 2020) was that of smart learning, defined as “context-aware ubiquitous learning” (Hwang, 2014) and as centered on content, rather than on devices (Gwak, 2010). Primary school teachers from Italy were interviewed about online and smart learning. Following the idea that proficiency can not exist without the ability to reflect on and about actions (Nuzzaci, 2011), participants were asked to describe their experiences by choosing images or ideas that would represent them. The use of metaphors allowed to better understand their feelings related to the condition of emergency teaching. Data from the interviews was classified in four emerging themes used by participants:

a. distance – picturing themselves as TV characters only available to students through a screen, or as pictures hanging from a wall, teachers felt the weight of barriers over their relationships with classes;
b. responsibility and co-responsibility – reflection became an opportunity to question responsibility, as teachers felt like a lighthouse for their pupils, trying to help in overcoming their difficulties; other sea-related metaphors, like that of a lone sailor and of a huge storm, or a deep abyss, tell the story of a very difficult situation in which references were lost; on a more positive note, some teachers saw this situation as a possibility for the blooming of new competences and new co-responsibility links with families – a kite built with pupils but led by a teacher;
c. wasteland – this group of metaphors mostly involved Special Education teachers, who felt disconnected from pupils “like a rock at the bottom of a river”, or screaming in a nightmare depicted as a variant of Munch’s Scream; the difficulty or impossibility to have meaningful relationships with children with special needs had an effect on the teachers’ morale and sense of fear;
d. travelling between two worlds – seeing the remote teaching experience as a journey, teachers felt like abandoning a well-known habitat to explore distant and unexplored worlds, mostly based on a “analogic vs digital” discourse; many participants felt that this change was non-reversible, as the future scenarios will always have to come to terms with what happened during the pandemic period.


  1. Gwak, D. (2010). The meaning and predict of Smart Learning. Smart Learning Korea Proceeding, Korean e-Learning Industry Association

  2. Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B. B., Trust, T., & Bond, A. (2020). The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning. Educause Review. Retrieved from

  3. Hwang, G. J. (2014). Definition, framework and research issues of smart learning environments - a context-aware ubiquitous learning perspective. Smart Learning Environments, 1(1): 4.

  4. Nuzzaci, A. (2011). Pratiche riflessive, riflessività e insegnamento. Studium Educationis, (3), 9-28


Fabio Sacchi, Mabel Giraldo, Nicole Bianquin

University of Bergamo, Italy

The Decree of March 4, 2020 imposed the closure of Italian schools of all degrees and the transfer to distance learning methodologies. This new scenario forced head teachers (HTs) to reorganize their schools and coordinate all operations in order to guarantee the right to education of all students including those with disabilities (Agasisti, 2020; Fotheringham et al., 2020; Harris, 2020).

Recent research (CENSIS, 2020; INDIRE, 2020; ISTAT, 2020) have revealed that Distance Teaching (DT), implemented in the school year 2019/2020, caused phenomena of exclusion, dispersion by penalizing the learning path of the students, especially those vulnerable and with disability.

In order to explore the actions with which the HTs have organized the first phase of pandemic lockdown, this contribution presents the results emerged from the research Tutti presenti oggi? (Is there anyone at school today?). It was carried out through a survey organized following the theoretical framework for monitoring the inclusive processes based on three dimensions: structure, processes, and results (EFA; UNESCO, 2002).

The outcomes of the research revealed, in the three area, critical aspects which might be analyzed and on which to intervene, as well as quality factors which should be shared among the stakeholders and implemented for rethinking the inclusive process in the after-pandemic school.

Strongly related to the inclusive aspects, the results showed that the HTs have been attentive to the economic needs of the families of students with special educational needs, involving a plurality of figures and maintaining relations with local authorities and families. Alongside these undoubtedly positive aspects, some school processes need to be revised: designing and organizing DT activities for students with disabilities, reviewing and monitoring IEP goals in relation to remote instructional activities, and involving all the actors of the inclusive process including students with disabilities. The crisis generated by the recent pandemic has undoubtedly confronted the HTs with the need to reconfigure, at least partially, the structural, procedural, and evaluative dimensions of their schools. In this extraordinary situation, they exercised their leadership by orchestrating responses, even timely, to face the urgent difficulties generated by the sudden transition from one-on-one to distance school. In these emergency dynamics, however, it seems that less attention have been given to the inclusive process of students with disabilities.

Agasisti, T. (Ed.). (2020). Management educativo alla prova. Lezioni dai dirigenti scolastici durante l’emergenza COVID-19. Milan (I): goWare & Guerini Next.

CENSIS (2020). La scuola e i suoi esclusi. (retrieved: March 2021).

Harris, A. (2020). COVID-19 – School leadership in crisis, Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 5(3/4): 321-326.

INDIRE (2020). Pratiche didattiche durante il lockdown. (retrieved: March 2021).

Fotheringham, P., Harriott, T., Healy, G., Arenge G., McGill, R. & Wilson, E. (2020). Pressures and influences on school leaders as policy makers during COVID-19. (retrieved: March 2021).

ISTAT (2020), Spazi in casa e disponibilità di computer per bambini e ragazzi. (retrieved: March 2021).

UNESCO (2002). EFA global monitoring report, New York: UNESCO. (retrieved: March 2021).


Andrea Ciani1, Chiara DalleDonne Vandini1, Aurora Ricci1, Lucia Scipione2

1Alma Mater-Università di Bologna, Italia; 2Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen some of its most disruptive effects on schools. Indeed, due to closed schools, an estimated 74 days of learning lost worldwide per student have been estimated (Save the Children, 2021). UNESCO, UNICEF and World Bank (2020) calculated that the loss of one-third of a school year in terms of cognitive skills losses could reduce the future student's earned income by 3% and a country's GDP by 1,5% for the rest of the century. This dramatic scenario could be exacerbated by the impact of the losses in social-emotional development and the pre-existence of disadvantaged conditions relating pupils.

According to this, the present work aims to represent a first in-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis of the SIRD national survey regarding the target of 3.423 Emilia-Romagna teachers of all school grades, who filled the questionnaire between April and June 2020. In particular, the role of several didactic, organizational, and relational variables that influence the percentage of students not reached by DAD and the percentage of "missing" students (i.e., those not completely reached) was explored. Quantitative analyses were conducted for different school grades to describe the difficulties perceived, the collaboration perceived, the teaching strategies perceived and the evaluation for technical, organizational, and didactic issues by teachers. Furthermore, an explorative analysis was performed to identify the factors affecting the early school leaving. Qualitative analysis were conducted to investigate more deeply the experience of teachers in emergency teaching, and in particular they were asked to indicate the difficulties of students in the use of DAD, the strengths and weaknesses of remote education. To study the open-ended responses, an analysis model including macro-categories and sub-categories (Batini et al., 2020) was created, capable of restoring the complexity of perceptions and experiences of teachers belonging to different school grades.

The quantitative findings highlight the role of both the perception of technological tools’ availability by students' families and the perception of having included all students, in predicting the perception of early school leaving. In terms of differences within school grades, the effect of some variables appeared stronger: the difficulties regarding pupils’ parents (kindergarten); the difficulties regarding colleagues and school managers (primary school); the perception of technological tools’ availability by students' families (secondary school); and the difficulties regarding DAD (high school). At the same time, the qualitative results explore the difficulties in the use of DAD going beyond both the "problems related to technological tools" and the "lack of direct contact". In particular, the difficulties in planning and achievement of objectives due to age inadequacy in the use of the tool (0-6 ECEC), the difficulties related to the quality of communicative exchange, interaction and feedback (primary), the trouble in evaluative processes and in the control and monitoring of students (secondary school).

First reflections will be carried out in the light of probable risk scenarios linked to school dispersion and to the general impoverishment of competencies to which the current target students involved in the emergency distance teaching and learning process are severely exposed.


Diego Izzo, Giulia Mattiacci, Damiano Periccioli

Dipartimento di Filosofia, Scienze Sociali, Umane e della Formazione, Università di Perugia, Italia

The health emergency following the Covid-19 pandemic has had an important impact on all the life contexts of the world population, also gripping the school context, where teaching has undergone a profound structural transformation, accompanied by equally important implications on the psychological and pedagogical level (Biondi & Iannitelli, 2020): new rhythms, new spaces, new emotions, new ways of educating. The prolonged closure of schools has increased learning difficulties and favored the likelihood of developing psychopathologies for the various actors involved (Onyema et al., 2020), especially for students of all levels. This abstract aims to review the points of view of those who have experienced firsthand or more indirectly the reorganization of the school system (Izzo & Ciurnelli, 2020): changes, subjective experiences, the feelings and needs of teachers, parents and students, collected in several national and international studies. One of the aims of this paper is to offer an overview of empirical evidence focusing on the ways and strengths with which the pandemic has spilled over into schools, with a particular focus on the 0-6 age group, highlighting which educational and didactic mechanisms have been suddenly undermined, only to be rebuilt in new ways. Alongside the quantitative survey, the intervention will also focus on a qualitative survey. Starting from the assessment of the critical issues that emerged in the transition from face-to-face teaching to distance learning, due to technical, organizational and relational difficulties, the research team of the “Leggere: Forte!” project collected several interviews with educators and teachers of the services and schools participating in the project, which contributed to the production of a manual where 27 techniques to improve reading aloud in educational and school contexts were identified (Batini & Giusti, 2021). Taking into consideration the 55 interviews conducted, an ex-post categorisation of these products was carried out, a process that made it possible to detect a shared feeling: reading-aloud has proved, in addition to an educational practice, a lifesaver for all those educators and for all those students who have had to approach with difficulty and perplexity to a screen-mediated didactics; reading aloud also allowed a better transition and a better acceptance of the distance learning by all the people involved, making possible to create, through the book, a new kind of relationship between educator and pupil.


Batini F., Giusti S., a cura di, (2021). Tecniche per la lettura ad alta voce. 27 suggerimenti per la fascia 0-6 anni. Franco Angeli, Milano.

Biondi, M., & Iannitelli, A. (2020). CoViD-19 e stress da pandemia: “l’integrità mentale non ha alcun rapporto con la statistica”. Rivista di Psichiatria, 55(3), 131-136.

Izzo, D., Ciurnelli, B. (2020). L’impatto della pandemia sulla didattica: percezioni, azioni e reazioni dal mondo della scuola. Lifelong, Lifewide Learning, 16(36), 26-43

Onyema, E. M., Eucheria, N. C., Obafemi, F. A., Sen, S., Atonye, F. G., Sharma, A., & Alsayed, A. O. (2020). Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic on Education. Journal of Education and Practice, 11(13).


Giuseppe Carmelo Pillera

Università degli studi di Messina, Italia

This paper has been developed within the framework of a European Social Fund project, which involved a network of three primary-middle schools in Sicily. The extracurricular activities engaged over a thousand students and the workshops were partially carried out during the first Covid-19 lockdown in Italy (March-May 2020). The qualitative-quantitative evaluation focused on the improvement of students’ basic and transversal skills and on the development of an inclusive school environment. The research data were collected by surveying workshops’ students, trainers and teachers-tutors about their point of view on the effectiveness of the intervention. The objective of this study, focused on the quantitative dataset, is the comparison of the above-mentioned activities which took place before and during the pandemic emergency and eventually identify any discrepancies.

This paper has been developed within the framework of a European Social Fund project, which involved a network of three primary-middle schools in Sicily. The extracurricular activities engaged over a thousand students and the workshops were partially carried out during the first Covid-19 lockdown in Italy (March-May 2020). The qualitative-quantitative evaluation focused on the improvement of students’ basic and transversal skills and on the development of an inclusive school environment. The research data were collected by surveying workshops’ students, trainers and teachers-tutors about their point of view on the effectiveness of the intervention. The objective of this study, focused on the quantitative dataset, is the comparison of the above-mentioned activities which took place before and during the pandemic emergency and eventually identify any discrepancies.


Giovanni Castagno

Roma Tre, Italia

On 8 June last year, a number of parents, teachers, associations and parent committees in Rome, under the slogan "Apriti scuola!", met in all those places that could host interventions and pedagogical actions that the school had not been able to guarantee: squares, parks, streets.

For the parents and teachers of the Di Donato school, the Falcone Borsellino school, the Fratelli Bandiera school and the Principe di Piemonte school, who set in motion that process of coming together and pushed for the creation of a network of parents in the city, the government's decision to close the schools had led to a profound educational and social crisis that needed to be tackled with greater courage and flexibility.

The discomfort and dissatisfaction with the fact that not even a single day of symbolic reopening had been approved by the schools, prompted parents' associations and committees to take action independently of the prevailing trends among headmasters and teachers.

Through the combination of the use of information technologies, such as "chat" and digital platforms, it was possible to make the network more stable. Through virtual meetings it was possible to circumvent the impossibility of seeing each other in person and to reason around the fact that it was equally important to express one's dissent from the school policies of the last decades not only on the issue of opening or closing schools but also: increasing the number of teachers and auxiliary staff; training teachers in the use of new technologies; funding for school buildings; the necessary conversion of schools to outdoor teaching; the redefinition of the relationship between schools and civil society.

A year after its creation, this network continues to promote initiatives for reflection and mobilisation. As well as contesting the closures that have marked the last school year this network constitutes a material and intellectual resource so that a deeper issue can finally be addressed, that of the participation of civil society in school governance.

Therefore, one year after its establishment, we retraced the path taken, through the voices of the protagonists, questioning the perception they have of the ability to broaden the participation of other parents in school issues. We tried to understand if the people involved in this project think they have succeeded in "turning this crisis into an opportunity to transform the school for the better, not into an excuse to impoverish it even more", or if they think rather the opposite has happened.


Baldacci Massimo (2019), La scuola al bivio, FrancoAngeli editore, Roma

Bosio Gianni (1975), L’intellettuale rovesciato. Storia orale e forme di espressione “spontanee” del mondo popolare e proletario, Edizioni Bella Ciao, Milano

Cassese S. (2019), Il popolo e i suoi rappresentanti, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, Roma

Chiosso Giorgio(1977), Scuola e partiti tra contestazione e decreti delegati, La scuola, Brescia

Pati Luigi (2019), Scuola e famiglia. Relazione e corresponsabilità educativa, Scholè, Brescia

Vannini Ira (2012), Come cambia la cultura degli insegnanti. Metodi per la ricerca empirica in educazione, Franco Angeli edizioni, Roma


Alison Milner2, Paola Mattei1, Christian Ydesen2

1Università di MilanoMTT, Italy; 2University of Aalborg, Denmark

Over a period of three decades, strategic government interventions in public education have shifted and blurred the boundaries between state, market and civil society modes of governance. In these new heterarchical governance landscapes, schools operate under increasingly hybrid accountability arrangements in which public accountability can both complement and compete with new market and social systems and their associated institutional logics, values and mechanisms. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, however, national governments implemented a wide range of emergency measures which had implications for the established mixes and layers of accountabilities in schools. This article examines the principal policy changes in Denmark, England and Italy. Drawing on state theories of crisis and governance and the concept of ‘hybrid accountability’, semi-structured interviews with national and local policymakers and school practitioners were analysed thematically. While cultural nuances exist between the cases, our findings reveal that state interventions reinforce public accountability and governance by control and command. Concomitantly, state non-interventions and the mix of bureaucratic and consumerist logics have implications for the nature of social accountability. Future research might investigate the extent to which the pandemic influences the direction of educational reforms in a post-COVID era.

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