Research and innovation: the multifaceted educational upheavals of COVID-19

COVID-19 has shattered many certainties, including that of an education system evolving according to a model established more than 200 years ago. “We were disturbed on a large scale […] A virus is bigger than a reform, “said Ann-Louise Davidson, professor in the Department of Education at Concordia University. The upheavals were multifaceted, she believes: in roles, in relation to content and in relation to space.

“We know an educational format and we think it’s“ the ”format. But we forget that it is a format among many others, “recalls at the outset this expert in pedagogy.

And with the cluster bomb that exploded in the spring, the recall was brutal to say the least.

Faced with the emergency, Ann-Louise Davidson suggested that her master’s students change their end-of-term work completely. “I asked them to work with me to help the teachers [de Concordia] to transition to online education. “

We see the teaching profession as a vocation, a dedication, without really understanding what they do

The desperate needs were right there before their eyes. “At the Center for Teaching and Learning [de Concordia], there were 4 employees. And they were to help 2,000 teachers offer online courses! “

An initiative that gave tangible results immediately, but also in the long term. “They were all hired afterwards [19 étudiants] to educational designer positions to do just-in-time training (just-in-time) [intégrée rapidement] “Explains their professor, who is delighted.

Relation to time and roles

According to Ann-Louise Davidson, many of the challenges that accompanied COVID this spring have transcended levels of education – from elementary to university.

“When you teach, you fill in time to make sure the student understands,” she says. “We are constrained, but it is not true that we always need to complete 45 minutes or 75 minutes of lessons [pour intégrer une matière]. The one who also taught elementary and secondary school in Ontario believes that the pandemic has opened a breach to soften the relationship with time in the education community.

“Are we able to rethink the time allocated to teaching by asking ourselves if the pupil really needs to be at school for seven hours every day? “, She says.

In data | Our interactive content on COVID-19

The professor believes that the role of teachers should also be refocused. “We see the teaching profession as a vocation, a dedication, without really understanding what they are doing. And they do too much administration, when they should spend more time thinking about their pedagogy and spending time with young people. “

At the same time, the learning relationship must be deeply reinvented, believes Ann-Louise Davidson. “Those who were teaching directive, transmitting knowledge quickly saw [avec l’enseignement à distance pendant la COVID-19] that students were disengaged, regardless of level. “

A paradigm shift is necessary, she says. “Often in education, we suffer from storytelling. Since I understand, I will tell the student what I have understood. It is however necessary to reverse this way of thinking about pedagogy, she believes. “Rather, think about how the student will understand [et trouver là où il va bloquer], rather than wondering how, I will explain. “

The lines of inquiry are therefore there, and the sites are numerous. The education system is a huge ocean liner that is difficult to move, we keep saying. “But I hope that we will be able to develop a strategic intelligence in education that will go beyond the pressures exerted by the unions and the laws that impose this or that.” It takes real reflection led by pedagogues. “

This content is produced in collaboration with Concordia University.

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