The Impact of Covid-19: Reflections and aspects of the school experience

Education was affected by the pandemic and people working across nations in schools were heavily impacted by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic across many international contexts. During the first responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools were confronted with many pressures and challenges of how to deliver their curricula and administer assessments in a remote, virtual and hybrid world. We worked with school leaders, coordinators and curriculum teams across some Cambridge International (9) schools in the Asian (South and Far East), European, North American and Sub-Saharan national contexts to explore what they perceived as effective teaching and learning during the Covid-19 pandemic period. We used a mixed methods approach (surveys and semi-structured interviews) to capture the participants’ reflections on what they perceived to be successful remote teaching and learning models, and how educational institutions could respond effectively to the impact of Covid-19 or future disruptions to learning in terms of data monitoring and evidence based practices. The participants were asked about teaching and learning approaches, challenges and how these were overcome, tracking, reporting and assessing students and reflections on what will stay in a post-pandemic world. Our findings suggest that a resilient education system that can cope with future disruption, requires a greater emphasis on student agency and independence, the use of blended learning in preference to hybrid learning, assessment becoming an extension of learning, and increased levels of parental engagement and partnership with schools. Despite all the challenges that schools faced, teachers were shown to be adaptable, flexible, innovative and resilient. It is very important that teachers feel supported as they adjust their practices. Research has an important role in illuminating the challenges that teachers face so that they can be supported by school leaders, policy makers and others.

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