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An educational calamity. Learning and teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic

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This book is the result of a graduate course in comparative education policy in which students assisted education authorities in various jurisdictions around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic in understanding the educational impact of the covid-19 pandemic and identifying options to sustain educational opportunity during this emergency. The course was offered at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, one of the ten professional schools at Harvard University. Students engaged with education authorities between September of 2020 until January of 2021. The chapters that follow examine what happened to educational opportunity during the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh, Belize, the municipality of Santa Ana in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Kenya, in the States of Sinaloa and Quintana Roo in Mexico, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, and in the United States in Richardson Independent School District in Texas. The primary focus of the chapters in this book was in identifying and evaluating options to sustain educational opportunity during the pandemic. The options examined, and ultimately recommended, are specific to the challenge identified by the government that students had partnered with as well as to the context. The policy options presented in the chapters in this book include some at the school and others at the system level. At the school level, the chapters include options to streamline and reprioritize curriculum, providing greater emphasis to the socio-emotional support of students, using more appropriate technologies and using them more effectively, supporting teachers with opportunities to develop new knowledge and skills to effectively teach their students in this context, including using remote teaching, fostering teacher collaboration, and focusing explicitly on the students who need most support to maintain equity. At the system level, the chapters emphasize the role of information systems and technology to monitor student access, engagement, and learning, to identify students at risk and provide appropriate support and to deliver educational content effectively and facilitate student interaction while in-person instruction is interrupted. Also, at the system level the chapters prioritize creating professional development opportunities to support teachers, supporting effective leadership, promoting partnerships between schools and other organizations to promote innovation, and maintaining a focus on equity. Based on the analysis presented in this book, is that in the countries examined in the ten studies included in the book, the last year produced a remarkable collapse of educational opportunities to learn, robbing the current generation of students of the opportunities to gain the same skills that their counterparts were able to develop the previous year. Unless effective efforts to correct such loss are put in place soon, the future for those students, and for their communities, will be less hopeful than it would have otherwise been. Only time will tell how such loss translates into other, perhaps much bigger, challenges for society. It is our hope in publishing this book that we may be able to act to prevent such global tragedy.
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... Because of government closure of educational institutions to contain the spread of COVID-19, education institutions internationally quickly converted to online learning environments during 2020 (UNESCO, 2020). In a recent book entitled An educational calamity: Learning and teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, Reimers et al. (2021a) provide 10 case studies of the educational impact of COVID-19 in numerous countries to identify options for mitigating and redressing this impact. The picture painted by these case studies is that 2020 involved a "remarkable collapse of educational opportunities to learn, robbing the current generation students of the opportunities to gain the same skills that their counterparts were able to develop the previous year. ...
... With the unprecedented disruption to education worldwide in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic (Reimers et al., 2021a), many face-to-face learning environments were changed hastily to online teaching/learning. In the study reported in this article, we used quantitative and qualitative methods to identify and explain changes in the learning environment of a university course that were attributable to pandemic-related disruption. ...
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When the 2020 semester began in the USA in January, it was unimaginable that the near-total closure of educational system across the globe would become the new normal. To mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, teaching faculty hastily converted to an online learning environment in order for instruction to continue. This mixed-methods study used the What Is Happening In this Class? (WIHIC) questionnaire and analysis of student course evaluations to explore changes in student perceptions of learning environments from before to after the switch to remote learning because of the pandemic. Students perceived a statistically-significant decline in student cohesiveness, teacher support, involvement, task orientation and equity, with the largest decline of 0.56 standard deviations occurring for student cohesiveness. Qualitative comments illuminated reasons for these declines and suggested ways to mitigate declines in the future.
... When governments closed educational institutions in 2020 to restrict the spread of COVID-19, online learning became the new normal around the world [1], with 90% of the world's students being impacted [2]. In 10 case studies, Reimers, Amaechi, Banerji and Wang [3] document the remarkable collapse of opportunities to learn, and Reimers [4] provides a comparison of the short-term impact of the pandemic in 13 countries. Accompanying educational institutions' rapid move to fully online delivery because of the pandemic, many researchers investigated the readiness of institutions for this transition and students' experience of online learning at the university level. ...
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With the advent of COVID-19, universities around the world have been forced to move to a fully online mode of delivery because of lockdown policies. This led to a flurry of studies into issues such as internet access, student attitudes to online learning and mental health during lockdown. However, researchers need a validated survey for assessing the classroom emotional climate and student attitudes towards learning in universities that can be used for online, face-to-face or blended delivery. Such a survey could be used to illuminate students’ perceptions of the experiences that make up learning at university level, in terms of such factors as care from teachers, collaboration and motivation. In this article, we report the validation of a University Classroom Emotional Climate (UCEC) questionnaire and an Attitudes to Learning scale, as well as their use in comparing the classroom emotional climate and attitudes during COVID-19 lockdown (fully online delivery) with post-lockdown (mixed-mode delivery). Female students experienced the post-lockdown condition significantly more positively than during lockdown for all scales except Care, while the only significant difference for males between the during and post-lockdown was their choice to engage with learning (Control) and the degree of Challenge that they found with the learning materials.
... Many of these schools are quintile 5 schools, which means they are fee-paying and receive the lowest funding from the government because of the high economic status of the neighbouring community (Eadie et al. 2021). However, this is an incorrect picture due to the high migration rate of families into the suburban schools (Ogbonnaya & Awuah 2019:2). ...
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Background: Research into language and reading scores show that South African learners struggle to read for meaning. Many local researchers report on the inadequate teaching training programmes. Teachers cannot teach basic comprehenion skills. Objectives: This research identifies a gap in the research and records an intervention programme designed to engage learners and develop their higher-order comprehension abilities. This research analyses responses from five learners who engaged in a variety of literacy activities to extend their zones of literacy abilities to become independent critical thinkers. Method: An interpretivist paradigm, within a qualitative approach, using a case study design was devised and implemented. Five struggling Grade 7 learners were purposively selected to participate in a 10-week intervention programme. Data were collected using pre-tests and post-tests and the learners’ own exercise books to assess their academic performance in written comprehensions, their daily comments on their motivation charts, information from two interviews and the researchers’ participant observation scheduled notes. Results: During the time of the intervention, all five Grade 7 learners gradually learned and began to use higher-order thinking skills. Conclusion: This small research project indicates that when a teacher explicitly planned and used a variety of literacy strategies to teach comprehension skills, not only did the learners enjoy the respectful discussions but this experience developed them into independent higher-order thinkers.
... While schools and education systems put in place alternative means of instruction, foregrounding remote and online learning, emerging evidence indicates that many students did not learn what was expected during the academic year (Reimers, 2021a). Along with lost opportunities to learn, students experienced a loss of knowledge and skills, as a result of lack of engagement with academic work (Reimers 2021a, Reimers, Amaechi, Banerji, andWang, 2021). They also reported negative social and emotional effects of school closures, as well as loss of motivation to learn and of engagement with schooling. ...
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This book attempts to contribute to the development of operational strategies for change in education that will help prepare students for the future, while addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and making education systems more resilient to future disruption. Drawing on the goals and extensive work of the Global Education Innovation Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in advancing knowledge on how to transform public education, the aspirations of the Hybrid Education, Learning and Assessment (HELA) initiative of the UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE) and the inspiring vision of UNESCO’s Futures of Education initiative, we set out to identify and study examples of educational innovation that emerged during the pandemic and that present pathways for transformation. By taking stock of some of these innovations we hope to draw valuable lessons from them, as well as to illustrate an approach to capturing the innovation dividend of the pandemic. Our hope is that this may help codify further innovation and, in so doing, animate the broad-scale innovation that, alongside societal commitment and collective leadership, is necessary to mitigate risk, build resilience and transform for the future.
... Además, al combinar el género como el rol de las personas analizadas, es interesante notar que, si bien tanto docentes como directivos del género masculino aumentan sus indicadores indegree y outdegree durante la pandemia, estos presentan un aumento bastante menor que sus contrapartes femeninas. De hecho, el aumento de directivos masculinos no es significativo en indegree, así como el de docentes masculinos en outdegree, en contraste con sus colegas de género femenino, lo cual muestra la preponderancia y liderazgo de mujeres durante la pandemia en ámbitos socioeducativos (CEPAL-UNESCO, 2020; Gabster et al., 2020), que ciertamente es valorable de tener en cuenta para escenarios futuros (Reimers et al., 2021). Sin embargo, la interpretación de estos hallazgos debe ir más allá de una visión específica del rol femenino en educación, en virtud de promover la importancia de culturas de gestión inclusivas y participativas, independiente del género de la persona que se desempeña en los establecimientos educativos. ...
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This study examines and compares educational collaboration in various Chilean schools previous and during the COVID-19 pandemic, to identify the influence of three dimensions: formal roles, gender, and years of experience of 354 educative actors. The analysis accounted for social network indicators, particularly the degree of centrality of the participants, through non-parametric tests of the dimensions. Among the actors, collaboration was higher among those with leadership roles (such as principals and department coordinators) over teachers, women over men, and by novice teachers or actors with less professional experience (over most experienced actors). The analysis also indicated an increase of collaborative interactions during the pandemic in comparison to a “normal” academic year. These results emphasize the influence of the aforementioned dimensions in collaborative structures during challenging scenarios such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, this could be indicative of an imminent increase in collaboration among all actors, in light of future challenges from a post-pandemic scenario, beyond the roles and attributes of educative actors. We discuss the potential for moving toward greater collaboration in schools both post-pandemic and in future crises.
... Dado que el acceso a las oportunidades para aprender fue mediado, incluso más directamente de lo que normalmente lo es, por apoyos en el hogar, un lugar adecuado para estudiar, el acceso a la conectividad y recursos digitales, la libertad de dedicar tiempo al estudio, el apoyo de padres instruidos... Las ya grandes brechas de oportunidades para aprender que existen entre estudiantes cuando las escuelas sesionan presencialmente, aumentaron. Como resultado de las deficientes oportunidades para continuar aprendiendo de forma remota, muchos estudiantes no lograron aprender, se desvincularon del aprendizaje y otros dejaron de asistir a las actividades que se habían planificado por completo (Reimers, 2021b;Reimers et al., 2021). ...
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El articulo discute el impacto educativo de la COVID-19 en América Latina, situando dicho estudio en el contexto de las políticas educativas avanzadas durante las últimas décadas, y de sus efectos en el aumento de las oportunidades educativas. En el texto se argumenta, que con la pandemia se inicia la quinta ola de transformación de los sistemas educativos de América Latina, incrementando las brechas de oportunidad educativa entre los alumnos de distinta clase social y nacionalidad, y aumentando con ello también la necesidad de una mayor relevancia de los sistemas educativos para atender a los desafíos sociales, políticos y económicos de la región, que a su vez ha complicado la pandemia. A partir de la revisión de estudios sobre el tema, se examina también el impacto educativo de la pandemia; bien, vía sus efectos sanitarios y económicos, con el resultado de un aumento en las condiciones de pobreza; y, bien vía suspensión presencial de clases y de la creación de modalidades de aprendizaje remoto, con el resultado de una eficacia variable y, en particular, de limitada eficacia para mantener las oportunidades de aprendizaje de los estudiantes con menores ingresos.
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Este libro presenta el trabajo llevado a cabo por estudiantes de la Escuela de Posgrado en Educación de la Universidad de Harvard, quienes examinaron cómo mejorar los sistemas educativos en diversas jurisdicciones en el mundo considerando como marco analítico el reciente informe de la unesco Reimaginar juntos nuestros futuros. Un nuevo contrato social para la educación (Comisión Internacional sobre los Futuros de la Educación 2021). Entre septiembre y diciembre de 2021, equipos de estudiantes del curso “Análisis en Política de Educación e Investigación en Perspectiva Comparativa” se asociaron con autoridades educativas, distritos escolares y otros sistemas a gran escala, a nivel nacional, estatal y municipal en Colombia (Bogotá), Ecuador, Israel, Kenia, México (Guanajuato, Jalisco y Nuevo León), Mongolia, Nepal, Palestina, Sierra Leona, Sudáfrica, Estados Unidos (Central Falls) y Uruguay para identificar los retos que enfrenta la educación en esos sistemas y los esfuerzos que se realizan para afrontarlos, así como para sugerir vías de mejoramiento con base en ideas presentadas en el informe de la UNESCO.
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El trabajo 1 que ofrecemos pretende problematizar la nueva educación surgida a raíz de la crisis sanitaria. La metodología se centra en el aprovechamiento de las fuentes de información disponibles en los archivos documentales de los organismos públicos (informes y estadísticas) y de la documentación bibliográfica (académica). Los resultados del análisis nos conducen a un triángulo de interpretación: la perspectiva socioeducativa de la crisis, la implicación y respuesta diferencial en relación con la educación pública/privada y la nueva interpretación de la participación social en la educación. Finalmente, se aborda el impacto de la pandemia en la educación y se realiza una llamada de atención al uso y/o abuso de la educación online.
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The rapid disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in multiple sectors and areas of daily life provide a unique opportunity to study the university’s capacity to respond to changes in the external environment, to be a learning organization , in service of addressing significant social challenges. In this book we study universities’ responses to one such challenge: the disruption to educational opportunities caused by the interruption of schooling brought about by the pandemic. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, universities innovated on several fronts. Unsurprisingly, some of those innovations focused on internal actions implemented to mitigate the impact of the pandemic by transitioning to online teaching delivery or extension of semester break, etc. (Crawford J et al. J Appl Learning Teaching 3.1:1–20, 2020; Leon-Garcia F, Cherbowski-Lask A, Leadership responses to COVID 19: a global survey of college and university leadership. International Association of Universities – Santander Universities. IAUP. https://www.iaup.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IAUP-Santander_Survey_to_COVID-19_Report2020.pdf , 2020). Beyond the solutions to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on their communities of students, faculty, or staff, universities also innovated to mitigate such impact on the larger community. While the contributions of universities to alleviate the pandemic’s impact have been most visible in public health (Daniels, R. J. 2020. Universities’ Vital Role in the Pandemic Response. Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine. https://magazine.jhsph.edu/2020/universities-vital-role-pandemic-response ), they have extended to other areas of relief and support as well. Almost half of universities participating in a global survey conducted by the International Association of Universities indicated that due to the pandemic, their community engagement had increased (Marinoni G et al. The impact of Covid-19 on higher education around the world. IAU global survey report. International Association of Universities, Paris. https://www.iau-aiu.net/IMG/pdf/iau_covid19_and_he_survey_report_final_may_2020.pdf , 2020). This book is a study of one such response of universities to the pandemic which has not yet received sufficient attention: their support of schools at the pre-collegiate level through a variety of innovative approaches to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on opportunity to learn. In this chapter, we argue that studying such innovations provides insight into the responsiveness of universities to complex societal needs and into their capacity to operate as learning organizations open to their external environment. We introduce the study, explain its value in understanding the role and nature of higher education’s outreach, social impact, and capacity to deal with complex challenges, and summarize the chapters of the book and the results of a survey which was administered to over one-hundred universities to study the nature of their collaborations with schools during the first 9 months of the pandemic, between March and December of 2020.
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In Kenya, a broad education reform was implemented after recognizing that the current system was not aligned with the country’s vision of producing globally competitive learners with competencies for the twenty-first century. The implementation process began with a pilot in 2017 and is planned to continue through 2028. In addition to the introduction of a competency-based curriculum, key components of the reform are a commitment to achieving a 100% transition from primary to secondary school by eliminating exam-based barriers to transition and a provision of a wide range of pathways for students to follow. Under the vision of “Nurturing Every Learner’s Potential”, the reform is grounded in the idea that learning should be active and individualized rather than teacher-centric and that schools – including secondary schools – are a place for developing a wide range of competencies and behaviors in addition to the traditional academic skills. In doing so, the government of Kenya seeks to reframe deeply-held cultural perspectives on education’s purpose and content. Such cultural shifts will require significant outreach and training efforts to achieve the buy-in from both families and teachers, and at this stage, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will succeed.
Book
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This open access book offers a comparative study of eight ambitious national reforms that sought to create opportunities for students to gain the necessary breath of skills to thrive in a rapidly changing world. It examines how national governments transform education systems to provide students opportunities to develop such skills. It analyses comprehensive education reforms in Brazil, Finland, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Portugal and Russia and yields original and important insights on the process of educational change. The analysis of these 21st century skills reforms shows that reformers followed approaches which are based on the five perspectives: cultural, psychological, professional, institutional and political. Most reforms relied on institutional and political perspectives. They highlight the systemic nature of the process of educational change, and the need for alignment and coherence among the various elements of the system in order. They underscore the importance of addressing the interests of various stakeholders of the education system in obtaining the necessary impetus to initiate and sustain change. In contrast, as the book shows, the use of a cultural and psychological frame proved rarer, missing important opportunities to draw on systematic analysis of emerging demands for schools and on cognitive science to inform the changes in the organization of instruction. Drawing on a rich array of sources and evidence the book provides a careful account of how education reform works in practice.
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This open access book addresses how to help students find purpose in a rapidly changing world. In a probing and visionary analysis of the field of global education Fernando Reimers explains how to lead the transformation of schools and school systems in order to more effectively prepare students to address today’s’ most urgent challenges and to invent a better future. Offering a comprehensive and multidimensional framework for designing and implementing a global education program that combines cultural, psychological, professional, institutional and political perspectives the book integrates an extensive body of empirical literature on the practice of global education. It discusses several global citizenship curricula that have been adopted by schools and school networks, and ties them into an approach to lead school change into the uncharted territory of the future. Given its scope, the book will help teachers, school and district leaders tackle the change management needed in order to introduce global education, and more generally increase the relevancy of education. In addition, the book offers a “bridge” for more productive collaboration and communication between those who lead the process of educational change, and those who study and theorize this important work. At a time when the urgency of our shared global challenges calls for more understanding and collaboration and when the rapid transformation of societies requires that we help students develop a clear sense of relevancy and purpose, this book offers a way to pursue deep and sustainable change in instruction and school culture, so that students learn that nothing human is foreign and that they can find meaning in lives aligned with audacious purposes to make the world better.
Article
Despite the significance of teacher–student relationships during the early years of school, questions remain about its long-term importance and whether the timing and variability of relationship quality matter. To address these gaps, data from the NICHD SECCYD were used to determine whether teacher-student relationships between kindergarten and sixth grade were associated with the achievement, social-behavior, and educational beliefs and aspirations of 1364 ninth graders (52% male, 80% White). Multivariate regression analyses revealed that when teachers reported closer relationships with students, in turn, students demonstrated modestly stronger outcomes across all domains. In contrast, more conflictual relationships were largely associated with underachievement and variability in relationship quality was not consistently associated with adolescent outcomes. Finally, although the benefits of teacher-student closeness were largely cumulative, teacher-student conflict in the later years was more strongly associated with student outcomes than earlier conflict. Collectively, results affirm the importance of teacher-student relationships for students' long-term development.
Research
As the United States considers reopening schools after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers and administrators need to consider how to reopen in a way that keeps students and staff safe. This brief provides insight into health and safety guidelines and social distancing strategies used in other countries that have successfully reopened their schools in the context of COVID-19. Examples are intended to support school policymakers and administrators in the United States as they plan for reopening.
Presentation
International Web Conference on Impact of COVID-19 on Education System 2020 BAMU
Chapter
Mexico’s 2012–2018 federal administration launched an extensive educational reform whose main goal was to transform its large and complex education system, so as to prepare students to successfully face twenty first century challenges. The assumption being that, by providing them with the tools they need to succeed in this rapidly changing world, Mexico will in turn become prosperous, fair and free. It entailed rethinking the conceptualization and structure of the system, and involved profound transformations in its organizational, budgetary, technical, pedagogical and administrative spheres, with quality and equity as guiding principles. Two disruptive innovations –which steered the process– stand out: teachers’ appraisals and the new national curriculum. About this curriculum, three, of several salient features, discussed in this chapter, are: its learning outcomes’ structure, which effectively articulate twelve of the fifteen grades of compulsory education; the introduction, from PreK to12th grade, of socioemotional learning; and curricular autonomy as a means to achieving pedagogical innovations in schools. Unfortunately, this reform defied deeply rooted uses and habits of various stakeholders and treaded on many political interests, which resulted in a convoluted process that has threatened its consolidation. The new president campaigned against the reform. It is still uncertain what policies would continue.