The pandemic has changed our world forever. Whilst that is a bold statement, unfortunately it is true. We did take a brief look at the effects of COVID on education but we wanted to take a more in-depth look, to see some of the more long-term issues that students and teachers face. The education sector has been one of the hardest hit; particularly as teachers and administrative staff have had to teach effectively online. For those students whose parents were key workers, teachers also had to provide socially distanced lessons too.
All Age Groups Affected
It isn’t just the generation of children who are at school who have been affected by the pandemic; this spans across all age groups. Parents have been struggling to combine work with homeschooling, and teenagers have been panicking due to cancelled GCSEs and A-Levels. Then there are the university students who have effectively been trapped in their student accommodation as campuses have had to go into lockdown!
It isn’t all negative though, think about how innovative teachers have had to become with lesson plans. Students have probably absorbed more information than ever before by learning via Zoom! Parents have also been spending more time with their children and got involved in the lessons themselves.
How Has Coronavirus Impacted Education?
As you are probably aware, the move to e-learning was the biggest reform in the education system during the pandemic. Teaching went from a face-to-face classroom environment to teaching remotely and students having access to their lessons via digital learning platforms. Some of the main ways the pandemic has impacted education are:
A mix of in-person and e-learning
Some schools were able to combine e-learning with traditional teaching methods, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic. This allowed students and teachers to get used to using the remote learning software, rather than being thrown in the deep end. Class sizes were reduced and the learning day was staggered to ensure social distancing was adhered to at all times.
This is compulsory in every classroom in the UK now. But, trying to maintain the same size classes with the added pressure of social distancing has been challenging for many schools. Younger children find it difficult to grasp the concept of social distancing too; so it has been even harder for early years providers.
Larger inequality between rich and poor students
The digital transformation and shift towards using technology more for learning has really had a negative impact on those who don’t have access to the right resources. Many children relied on free school meals, for example, which were extremely difficult to access during the early stages of lockdown. Some didn’t have access to an internet connection either, which made learning impossible. This group of students quickly felt further and further behind the rest.
How Pupils & Teachers Have Adapted
It is clear that both students and teachers are a lot more adaptable than most of us originally thought! Studies have shown that online learning can actually improve the retention of information in students. Not to mention it takes less time than traditional learning methods too. Of course it would have been better if this move to online learning hadn’t been quite so rushed. But this wasn’t pre-empted at all.
The main issue was that teachers were given very unclear guidance. The regulations they were working towards seemed to keep shifting. After an initial shock, both students and teachers alike soon settled into the new way of learning and saw it as a positive experience. One of the great things about online learning is that teachers are able to easily set deadlines and break learning down into more manageable chunks. This is the main reason why students have been able to retain more information than they would have in a traditional classroom environment.
How have you managed to get on during COVID, has your learning been impacted at all? Luckily here at Brooks and Kirk we have offered blending learning for quite some time, as we saw the benefits of both online and classroom-based learning. By combining the two this gives the best of both worlds. For more information on the courses that we offer, please give us a call on 01205 805155.