COVID-19 and its impact on education

For the first time since this phenomenon began, 300 teachers from all over the world meet to analyze the effects that this pandemic is having on children and young people.

The appointment of this World Cyber ​​Meeting of teachers organized by Scholas was at 3:00 p.m. from Rome, but an hour earlier all the eager teachers started connecting. From Iraq, Dr. Omer Ninja from Kirkuk University appeared on camera and greeted Father Father Martinien Bosokpale from the Catholic University of the Congo.

300 teachers from 21 countries on the five continents participated in this Cyber-meeting. For more than 3 hours they discussed the current reality of education in the field of COVID-19 and what they envision for the coming times. All agreed on the need for teachers to meet in this type of dialogue space to accompany each other and exchange experiences to face this crisis together. The most frequently heard words were creativity, flexibility, responsibility, time, empathy, solidarity, collaborative learning, hope and opportunity.

The teachers valued the Youth Cyber ​​Meetings that Scholas promotes and considered this work extremely useful. They also asked to take it into account in educational centers and universities.

Carlo De Nitti, is a teacher at a school in Bari that a few months ago participated in a Scholas experience that he considered “wonderful” and “prophetic”. He added: «Scholas at this very special moment can teach how to maintain the culture of encounter and dialogue.»

Jairo Restrepo, from Cali, Colombia, expressed: «All this has allowed us to discover creativity on the part of teachers and students … It has been a very exhausting experience, but at the same time very edifying.»

In the same way, he raised his concern about the tension experienced by the teacher at the present time, as part of a family and in turn teaching. “The part that worries me is the family environment of my fellow teachers, because they have wives, they have children. I am concerned about students, who in a country like ours do not have all the means for them to be able to respond academically […]. We have to see how we can work together in this storm teachers, managers, students; and not let fear destroy the possibility of learning ”.

While Barbara from Naples explained that teachers need help from their students in the virtual environment because they know much more and this in turn makes the students feel useful. In this sense, he appreciates that the pandemic has brought them together.

Along these lines, Ítalo Fiorin, from Rome, added that before they ignored each other and that the important thing is to overcome this pandemic, but also to change normality in a more empathetic, more creative way, with young people on the same level. than teachers.

Marcela Andrea Galarza is a teacher in a garden in Resistencia, Chaco, Argentina, and explained that families are also part of education and that both school and family should be looking towards the education they want for the child. “It is difficult to stay still when the signs are the ones that are coming and going, putting the body, and suddenly now we have to be detained to be able to explain to the parents […]. It is a bit strange, it is challenging […] We are in an initial period [of the school year], we are getting to know each other with students and families from the virtual point of view ”.

Norberto Almara, from Córdoba, Argentina, explained that both parents, teachers and students experience an overload of tasks that they cannot or cannot solve; and that it poses the challenge of the differences in symbolic capital that families have […]. He added: «From the proposals […] there are homogenized didactic sequences and when we lose the presence of the relationship the inequalities are accentuated».

In relation to this, the French teacher Francois Vallaeys, commented, “We clearly see that the ivory tower of education is over: it always seeks to isolate itself from the world and the world came crashing down on it because inequality erupts. Students who do not have a computer, students who do not have a decent home to work, isolate themselves, students who do not have connectivity. They break the faults of the teachers, the teacher finally does not know and has to say it. It breaks the house, because the school is always separated from the house, here we all see everyone’s house «.

He also added: “The internet also breaks, because the internet is over 20 years old, but [we had not learned] that the world had changed and that all teaching methodologies were absolutely available. That on the one hand generates panic, on the other hand it is great because we can take advantage of knocking down the false walls of the ivory tower that we had not knocked down ”.

José María del Corral, world director of Scholas, addressed the teachers: “It is not the virus that broke the educational system, it was already broken and we continued to entertain ourselves. At Scholas’ first meeting in 2013 with Pope Francis we called on the gentlemen of Google, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook and Globant, and they did not understand why they were sitting there. Before we would have called architects to think about the classroom, but this classroom needed them. And Scholas.Social began to be built little by little. A classroom without walls, a classroom without passports, a global classroom. ”

Finally, he encouraged them to rethink a meeting space: “Let’s be teachers and not teachers. We have a unique space in the history of humanity, we are doctors: of emotions, of mental and spiritual health. I think this is here to stay. Our students are crying out for something else. ”

The impact studies carried out by the Evaluation area of ​​the Organization after the World Cybercentre of teachers were endorsed by 16 Universities from different parts of the world and revealed that: at the end of the Meeting the intensity of joy in the group had increased by 21, 77%, while pride in colleagues increased by 15.83%. Similarly, the prosociality of the group registered an increase of 16.5%. The intensity of the anxiety in the group decreased by 24% at the end of the Meeting.

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