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OPPORTUNITIES OF ORGANIZING AND IMPLEMENTING DISTANCE LEARNING: THE CONTEXT OF LITHUANIAN PRE-SCHOOL TEACHERS' OPINIONS

I. Bilbokaitė-Skiauterienė, R. Bilbokaitė

Vilnius University Siauliai Academy (LITHUANIA)
COVID-19 is a new challenge for all people around the world. The Council of the European Union (2020) points out that it has influenced all fields of life, changed the education and teaching systems by changing the way we learn, teach, communicate, and collaborate. Various educational institutions are moving to distance learning, that is becoming more and more relevant. Requirements for teachers are increasing. Their ability to adapt to distance learning depends on the ability to cope with new situations, solve problems and manage learning process. The article discusses the problems encountered in teaching graphic subjects online and the tools and techniques that can be used. The aim of this article is to review pre-school teachers’ opinions on the opportunities of distance learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. The article describes the situation in Lithuanian pre-schools using distance learning during the lockdown.

The article presents a qualitative analysis of the reflections of pedagogues, employing the method of content analysis which enabled objective and systematic investigation of the features of the text, generalisation of information, and formation of appropriate conclusions. 69 reflections of X Lithuanian kindergartens were analysed from January to March 2021. The content of the reflections was transcribed in separate protocols. The analysis has been conducted by consistently analysing the content of a text, dividing the content under investigation into analytical units.

The results of the research revealed that pre-school teachers singled out the possibilities of activity planning during the quarantine distance learning process as the most significant advantage, when working in a home environment, the latter could accurately and flexibly plan activities according to the needs of the children and themselves, prepare a convenient agenda, be free and not bound in respect of time. Pedagogues used various IT tools and platforms in the distance learning process, discovered new opportunities for using IT in the educational process and improved IT competence. Work remotely promoted teachers’ personal development, curiosity, created greater opportunities for professional development while it was possible to participate in seminars online, thus improve their competencies as teachers. Pedagogues adapted to the changed working conditions, when the transmission of the curriculum changed after the elimination of childcare - the students were more motivated by new interesting, practical activities modified to be carried out in nature. Encouragement of communication and cooperation between institutions, teachers, parents and children, focusing more on building relationships, closer ties, ensuring attention to each participant in the interaction, was highlighted. There was a positive assessment of the successful distance learning process by pedagogues and parents. Pedagogues see the benefits of distance learning when working in silence, with less stress and eliminated administrative control. There are also financial benefits without incurring travel and training costs. Distance learning provides opportunities to pay more attention to each child, which allows them to increase their progress and reveal areas of interest. All possibilities of distance education created preconditions for ensuring quality education.