Preparing tomorrow’s teachers for educating post-COVID
With vaccines in full flow and schools now reopening, researchers at Bangor University have been investigating the effects of COVID-19 school closures on learners, teachers and families.
The research seeks to explore the COVID-related challenges learners and schools have experienced and how to best prepare tomorrow’s teachers to overcome these challenges. The work includes several studies conducted in collaboration with other institutions offering Initial Teacher Education (ITE) across Wales. The work is funded by the Welsh Government and Bangor are involved in four of these studies.
The first study explores the impact of school closures on the health and well-being of learners and teachers, identifying safeguarding issues and the increasing importance of outdoor learning.
The second study examines the impact on learners in Welsh-medium education due to concerns about learners having less exposure to Welsh, particularly children who live in non-Welsh speaking homes.
Researchers involved in the third study focus on the impact of restrictions on learners across a range of schools, especially those considered disadvantaged.
The fourth study investigates the importance of parental engagement in education and how the wholesale move of learning into the home has impacted families, teachers and learners.
All four studies will help inform the training of tomorrow’s teachers to ensure that they are prepared to meet these challenges with effective approaches and strategies.
As part of this work, researchers are talking to parents, teachers, learners and ITE students and providers to hear about their experiences, as well as important stakeholders such as Estyn. Projects began in October 2020 and are due to finish in May 2021 when the results will be presented to the government.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “I’m so proud of how our universities in Wales have contributed to supporting the effort of fighting the coronavirus during this past year. This latest research will help to show how our young people and education system have been affected during the pandemic, and how we as a government can learn and adapt in the future.”
Dr Margiad Williams, the interim Director of Research at Bangor University’s School of Education and Human Development, said: “COVID-19 has led to huge disruptions in schooling and family life so it’s vital that we try to understand these changes and their impacts. These studies are allowing us to investigate the challenges and identify good practices to help ensure that the future teaching workforce are prepared. We are delighted to be collaborating with colleagues across Wales on these important projects”.
Bangor University’s School for Education and Human Development offer a range of ITE courses for aspiring teachers who want to work in primary and secondary education, as well as continued professional development for qualified teachers through the CaBan partnership. For more details see https://caban.ac.uk/index.php.en