On the 11th March 2020, the World Health Organisation characterised the COVID-19 virus spread as a pandemic, and to reduce the spread of the virus many national governments issued directives enforcing university, college, school and early childhood settings closures, or restricting grouping and social distancing practices whilst they remain open.
Teachers across all sectors have needed to significantly reconfigure their teaching and practices at very short notice. Teaching and learning are now largely contained to the domain of people’s homes, so families have needed to become much more involved in facilitating education programs especially for early childhood and primary aged children. Teachers are also key communicators about how the virus spreads and how to keep safe and supported. These changes in education are global, urgent and look to alter education practices from this point onwards. It is a time of rapid innovation, novel partnerships, and enhanced questions of access.
We are a group of education researchers in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the USA who see that these changing practices need to be documented and analysed urgently to produce resources to support teaching and learning when home bound and within other social distancing measures. We see that teachers are at the frontline in ensuring learning continues during COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and seek to:
- listen to teacher voices and stories about their work and their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic (through an online survey), and
- bring teachers voices into the collation of strategies to inform education responses.
Hi I’m Louise Phillips, Associate Professor in Education at James Cook University, Singapore, with thirty years experience in early childhood education. My motivations for this study include:
- To provide a platform to hear how early childhood teachers are communicating with children about how to be informed and socially responsible citizens in this pandemic and how to facilitate distance learning with young children and families.
- To collate research informed evidence on teaching and learning practices during a pandemic to influence future education policy, procedures and initiatives.
Kia ora tātou, ngā mihi mahana ki a tātou katoa. Warm greetings to you all. My name is Jenny Ritchie, and I work at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, lecturing and researching in early childhood care and education and sustainability. I am hoping that through this project we can share the innovative ways in which teachers from each of the four participating countries are creating a sense of community and supporting their students (and families) via online platforms.
Hi, I am Susan Davis, Greetings from Kabi Kabi country in South East Queensland where I am based working for Central Queensland University. I have a background in drama and arts education and interest in the ways to support embodied and creative learning through mediated means. I am also interested in the ways that creativity can be sparked by tensions and contradictions. From what I have already seen teachers have been responding to the current crisis with incredible courage and creativity, rapidly adapting and transforming their practice to engage and support their students. While many will be desperate to return to their classrooms and embodied, co-present practice, it will be important to document what changes have been brought about that might impact upon teacher practice in ongoing ways.
Hi, I am Geraldine Burke, an artist, researcher, teacher-educator lecturing into visual and creative arts education at Monash University. Based in Melbourne, Australia, I acknowledge the peoples of the Kulin Nations as the Traditional Owners of this land. I also wish to recognize the hard work and flexibility of teachers as they adjust to COVID-19 contexts. As such, I am keen to explore how teachers are adapting or changing their approaches to teaching and learning during the various phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. I wish to explore the challenges and opportunities that teachers face in teaching the arts during these changing contexts. Knowing how teachers have thought about innovative, creative, inclusive and sustainable practices during this time in our shared history is vital to our understanding of teaching and learning.
Hello, my name is Kate Coleman. I live and work in Kulin Nation in Victoria, Australia where I am a senior lecturer in art and design education at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Univeristy of Melbourne. I have been so thrilled to see teachers innovate, create and explore new ways of teaching and learning at home, online, remotely and for some via brown bags filled with art materials. I am looking forward to seeing and leanirng more about the ways edcuators have been making, doing and being differently through this research.
Hello, my name is Melissa Cain. I currently work at the Brisbane campus of Australian Catholic University teaching courses on Inclusive Education and Creative Arts Education. I have been an Art teacher for 22 years and have been teaching preservice teachers in higher education for 8. I have a professional and personal interest in the impacts on learning for students with a disability. Such students often use adaptive technologies and have extra assistance in the classroom. Not everything is accessible using a computer (such as tactile graphics) and as such, I am interested to learn more about how teachers are differentiating their content and teaching strategies to a provide an equitable experience for all students.
Hi, my name is Cynthia Brock, I’m a professor at the University of Wyoming where I hold the Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair in Literacy Education. My scholarly research agenda centers on the study of opportunities for learning literacy. I explore the literacy learning opportunities of elementary children from diverse cultural, linguistic and economic backgrounds; I also explore ways to work with pre- and in-service teachers and administrators to foster the literacy learning opportunities of all children—especially children from non-dominant backgrounds. I have conducted qualitative research in cross-cultural contexts including the United States, Australia, England, Fiji, Thailand, Laos, Spain, Chile and Costa Rica.
Hi, I’m Esther Joosa, an independent researcher based in Singapore. I have experience with qualitative data, innovation in research and interpretation of trends. Currently, I am also the PI leading an in-situ research on unstructured play with children with varying disabilities. I have in-depth understanding of the field of special education in Singapore, and the marginalised position of these students, especially those lacking communicative means and home support. I am particularly interested in the effect on teachers and the effect on home learning for students within special needs schools in Singapore and their constraints. To not further marginalize these populations I believe urgent insights are needed of what could be possible.
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