FROM CLASSROOM TEACHING TO DISTANCE LEARNING: THE EXPERIENCE OF PORTUGUESE MATHEMATICS TEACHERS
1 Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
2 Instituto de Educação – Universidade do Minho (PORTUGAL)
3 Externato de São José, Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our society and, of course, on our schools and on the teaching and learning process. The suspension of face-to-face classes all over the world, forced teachers to change their practices and to make a quick and abrupt transition to a distance learning model. Contrary to the changes that have marked schools throughout the ages, this change was not carefully planned, did not consist of a progressive process, was not accompanied by professional training and did not allow anyone to decide whether or not to agree with it. This was an abrupt change, which took place literally overnight and that no one could ignore.
Contrary to what is often thought, distance learning is something that dates back to the 19th century, when it was implemented based on postal services. Naturally, technology has given a new dynamism to this type of teaching and has provided new approaches. There are currently several forms of distance learning that differ in terms of technology and how it is used. In some teaching models, teachers and the institution have some control, while in others the control is assigned to the students who set the pace of study and learning. With the increasing access to technology and internet, teaching modalities such as e-learning or b-learning have become a reality.
The situation that we currently experience in our education systems is often pointed out as a transition to an e-learning modality. However, the literature points us to the particularities of this situation, suggesting that what we are going through cannot be conceptualized as a transition to an e-learning teaching modality. In fact, what we are experiencing is a transition to a remote emergency teaching modality. And while not on the scale we are now experiencing, this is an experience already documented in the literature (for example, following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, 2005).
This study is based on a questionnaire applied in Portugal to mathematics teachers from primary school to university level and seeks to answer the following research questions:
(1) What characterizes the professional practices of mathematics teachers in the transition from classroom teaching to distance learning?
(2) What differences is it possible to envisage in the professional practices of mathematics teachers following the transition to distance learning?
The main conclusions reached suggest a tendency to maintain previous professional practices by transferring them to the new mode of interaction with students, keeping their main characteristics as unchanged as possible. Thus, this study suggests a need for reflection on the inevitable implications of changing the form of interaction with students, as well as reflection on the associated opportunities and constraints.
Keywords: Distance learning, teacher practices, Mathematics.