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Cambridge Assessment International Education conducted a survey among Spanish teachers to assess the impact of the pandemic on education.
Four out of five Spanish teachers (77%) believe that, in the coming school years, their professional practice will focus heavily on devoting special attention to the emotional wellbeing of their students. The findings come from a new survey conducted by Cambridge International, the world's largest provider of international education programmes and qualifications for 5-19 year olds. The survey captured the views of Spanish teachers on the challenges they faced during the pandemic and what the future might look like for education post-pandemic.
Teachers also gave their views on the educational trends they expect to see over the next few years, mainly driven by the need to deal with a changing, redefined educational environment. The results suggest the main challenges will be based on the creation and use of digital material (51%), having new educational tools and resources (54%) and, above all, providing ongoing emotional support to their students (48%).
For around half of the teachers surveyed (51%), the affective and emotional aspects of learning, which relate to how we control and express emotions, have been most affected by the pandemic so far. They consider that dealing with emotions such as frustration, confusion, sadness and uncertainty has been the most difficult obstacle for their students during this period. On the other hand, half of the teachers found that students' development in core subjects, such as mathematics, Spanish or science, was less affected.
Teachers have strengthened their relationships with their students: closeness and trust with their students has improved in this time and compared to previous years, according to a third of teachers, who now have a greater concern for other aspects of their students' lives beyond their school performance. Ultra-personalised assessment such as 1:1 tutoring, finds its place in post-pandemic classrooms, and will increase over the next few years, according to 44% of respondents.
Nick Mazur, Senior Manager of Cambridge International in Europe, said: " Data shows that, in order to teach and learn, there has to be a connection between student and teacher. Cambridge International has provided teachers with a wide range of tools to support them through this challenging time – podcasts, blogs, webinars, videos – all of which were designed to offer guidance on how to motivate students, encourage learning and concentration, and learn how to approach each student's difficulties."
During the past year Spanish teachers have developed student-centred approaches to teaching and learning, in order to enhance the wellbeing of their students whilst they were learning online from home. They organised many different activities that ensured greater attention to each student. Individual tutorials were the most popular new activity, with 58% of teachers saying they ran these, followed by all-class meetings (52%) and theme-based activities, with games or more fun topics (45%).
More than half (51%) of the teachers surveyed said their workloads had increased as a result of the difficulties encountered both personally and professionally. Emotional stress due to uncertainty and the fear of the Covid-19 virus were the most important issues for them during lockdown and after returning to school.
Teachers have a greater need for connection with their community: for 4 out of 5 teachers (82%) peer-to-peer collaboration was one of the good experiences they would like to maintain for the upcoming school year and they hope it will be intensified in the future. Moreover, for a third of teachers (32%) their school has played an important role in giving them the recognition they deserve for their efforts to educate during the pandemic.
Working routines have changed for teachers: Using new technology for continuing teaching and learning outside the classroom has been one of their greatest challenges. Learning how to use new platforms for teaching or how to use tools and visual material to engage students has become essential in their work.
Sometimes, this new digital landscape has been a struggle for teachers, especially at the beginning of the pandemic: 47% of respondents felt that teaching online and catching up with new technologies was a major obstacle to their professional performance. Creating and managing digital material (51%) and training for online learning (60%) will be key in post-pandemic education, according to Spanish teachers.
Some of the challenges that teachers consider that schools need to address are specifically related to the learning process of distance learners: getting them to stay focused in online classes (58.2%), helping them to understand and use digital tools (55.4%) and how to assess their performance online (53.6%) were some of the ‘homework’ that teachers put to the education system for the years to come.
Having stable internet access, a good computer and an adequate place to attend online classes are essential in students’ new ‘digital schoolbag’. However, over half of the teachers (51.4%) perceive these issues as a challenge that will become increasingly important for each student’s educational home environment – and teachers see this as a priority if they are to give students equal and inclusive access to education. 51% of teachers consider that the pandemic has considerably worsened the levels of inclusiveness in the classroom.