Last week, in collaboration with Pivot Professional Learning, we release the Whitepaper, The Educator Perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning in Australia and New Zealand. 

“Digital transformation takes organisations years to implement and COVID-19 has challenged teachers and students to adjust overnight. We initiated the survey as we wanted to hear from teachers on the front line. This feedback will be invaluable to EP as we look to support educators on this digital journey” Alex Burke, CEO EP.

Below Anna Prytz from The Age discusses some of the survey’s findings with Pivot’s CEO, Amanda Bickerstaff.

Most teachers fear students are falling behind under remote-learning arrangements during the coronavirus lockdown and say they will need more support to catch up once classrooms reopen.

A survey of 3500 teachers across Australia and New Zealand in April revealed widespread concern that students’ academic and emotional needs were not being met.

Teachers are divided on the efficacy of remote learning.

Photo: Tanya Macheda

Eighty per cent of teachers surveyed by education consultants Pivot Professional Learning said they felt students would need extra instructional help when school returns.

Forty-one per cent said they were not confident online learning was as effective as classroom teaching, and 70 per cent said their workload had increased.

Seventy-seven per cent of the Australian teachers reported being concerned about losing their social connection with students.

In Victoria, only vulnerable children and the children of essential workers can attend school. The state government, acting on advice from the state’s Chief Health Officer, has asked parents to keep children at home if possible.

Pivot chief executive Amanda Bickerstaff said the disruption to learning was “very real”.

Ms Bickerstaff recommended schools begin preparing now to provide the extra support, which could include increasing the number of teaching aides and instructional time in classrooms and employing tutors.

“If there was ever a time to support students and support teachers, it’s now,” she said.

“Teacher voices are often obscured. What we found was there was no whinging, no ‘we can’t do this’. We saw ‘we’re trying our best and this is really hard and the kids come first’.”

Mordialloc College assistant principal Marina Walsh said her staff were working to avoid significant setbacks.

“Our focus is to make sure students are learning the essentials so when they come back to school hopefully there’s not a great deal of loss of learning,” she said.

“Once they return we’ll be looking at keeping the expectations realistic and then slowly building on it.”

Professor Janet Clinton, an education academic at the University of Melbourne, said a disruption to learning was expected at such a time and was not due to any failure of teachers or students.