PME 811 – How Has Teaching and Learning Changed Due to COVID-19 – Entry 1

Quotes about Strong survive (59 quotes)

September 29th

Be Prepared for Change

As of September, some teachers have been working full time in a classroom, some are working from home and still others are doing a mix of both. All of those scenarios come with positives and negatives. Even though some of us would prefer to teach or learn in person, it does not mean that this is possible right now. We need to adapt and become “responsive to change.” COVID-19 is here for the foreseeable future, and to protect one another we have to understand that some changes are necessary for the common good. My son’s school is doing a fantastic job of protecting staff and students within a hybrid model, but this week they are back to online learning due to a COVID case which has put too many staff in quarantine to offer in person learning. Staff and students have to adapt to an evolving situation and learn to be prepared for a variety of scenarios.

I was extremely disappointed when I found out all my classes would be online. I did not want to teach remotely. I like socializing with my colleagues and I like the down time with my students. I enjoy our greetings, our chit chat throughout our lessons, and that is something that is now missing. I am still struggling to create some atmosphere in my classes. I should mention that I teach English as an additional language and for anyone who has taught or learned a language, working remotely can present specific challenges in terms of sound quality and the possibility of missing sounds or words. Although this can happen in all online teaching, missing words or making mistakes needs be corrected promptly before errors are ingrained. With that being said, working online is certainly efficient and streamlined. There isn’t the downtime, so there is actually more time for learning, which is a positive.

Online learning is not new and there have certainly been a lot of studies dedicated to researching the efficacy of remote learning.

Neuhauser (2010): Online learning is as effective as face-to-face learning

Johnson, Aragon, & Shaik (2000): Online learning is as effective as face-to-face learning for graduate students

The majority of the studies have concluded that online learning is as effective as in person learning, but it can depend on what aspect you are looking at. For example, online learning is less expensive than in person learning, but there are upkeep costs to consider, which can add up in ways not always anticipated. (Strother (2002) 

Just because online learning is effective and usually less expensive, doesn’t mean it is ideal for everyone. Some students definitely do better with in person learning, as the physical act of walking into the school indicates it is time for work, where some people have a harder time switching to learning mode in their homes. There are always other distractions such as gaming, eating, texting and napping to name a few.

I have been seeking out articles to help me better engage with my students. Here is one such article from Edutopia: 5 Research-Backed Tips to Improve Your Online Teaching Presence

Thinking back to the Darwin quote, our reality has changed. My goal, like many other people is to rise to this challenge. We need to find new ways to connect, to communicate and build relationships and communities, despite our physical separation.


7 thoughts on “PME 811 – How Has Teaching and Learning Changed Due to COVID-19 – Entry 1”

    1. Hi Leah,

      This topic certainly is at the center of many discussions especially for those with school aged children. My oldest son started Kindergarten this September. This is a crucial year for children as they are learning the etiquette of school. I am quite adament about the importance of in-person learning for children of this age and arguably for all elementary years. At this age students need to manipulate objects, be surrounded by visuals, learn the conventions of socializing and behavioural expectations in a classroom. All this on top of learning languages (English and French in my son’s case), and as you mentioned, pronunciation as well as watching a person speak the language is all part of the process. As the COVID cases in Quebec spike, I am both very concerned and also worried that a prolonged break from in-person classes (although necessary to flatten the second curve) will slow the progress my son is already making. I just hope that somehow his school is spared, but I know this is unlikely.

      Finally, I think that online learning is more appealing to those students who are self-motivated and self-regulated. This comes with practice, guidance, and time.

      Regardless, Darwin’s quote does ring strongly; if online learning is the only option at the moment, then adapting is the way to go. For the young ones, we hope there is strong support at home during this time.

      A great post Leah! Thank you.

      Erika Stanischewski


      1. Hi Erika, thank you for your reply. You bring up some important points. Kindergarten is a crucial year to introduce students to schooling, which allows them work collaboratively and refine their abilities to think creatively and expands their understanding of the world. My son’s school has made early childhood education a priority and the students in kindergarten go to school in person five days a week along with the Grade 12 students. The other grades are on a hybrid schedule. This allows the youngest and the oldest students to have priority access to the campus. This makes a lot of sense, since those starting their educational journey need to have as many opportunities to develop social, emotional and motor skills, which they will build upon over a lifetime. Learning new languages by being exposed to songs, games and familiar routines is further proof of the value of in person learning. Having said that, reality kicks in and COVIV-19 may have other plans. You are so right about having strong parental support. Without strong parental support or students that are self-regulated or self-motivated (post kindergarten) some students will be left behind. Here’s hoping to a turn around in cases or a vaccine in the near future. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.


  1. Hi Leah,
    I appreciate your transparency as you bring further light to a well conversed about topic! I can see through your writing that you truly miss the face-to-face connections, and with that, the meaningful learning experiences. With that said, your mention of Darwin’s quote is genius; our planet is in another era in which species must adapt. And, adapt we have! I found it valuable how you cited evidence that online learning is effective, but to those who have the skills to make it effective. Self-regulation and time management skills are needed in order to make it work for sure. In addition, I reflected upon the additional link of tips for online learning, and particularly liked the first two relating to being more than just a face behind a screen. Students and teachers thrive from meaningful connections, and teachers must think innovatively on how to still create a nurturing, emotionally balanced, and diverse classroom environment. With that said, I am sure you are doing so and figuring more out along the way! Thanks for sharing Leah!


    1. Thanks for your comment, Karan! I appreciate your feedback. You are so right; students and teachers do thrive on meaningful connections. How can teachers create a rich, balanced on-line classroom environment, when they are used to feeding off the energy of in-person connections? This new reality presents challenges to change and grow as educators. I think if we look at our situation as an opportunity as opposed to focusing on the negatives, we can adapt and provide our students with the nurturing classroom environment they deserve. Thanks again for your response.


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