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 (Associate Professor Louise Phillips (James Cook University), Dr Chris Campbell (Griffith University), Associate Professor Susan Davis (Central Queensland University), Dr Melissa Cain (Australian Catholic University), Dr Kate Coleman (University of Melbourne), Dr Geraldine Burke (Monash University), Associate Professor Jenny Ritchie (Victoria University, Wellington), Professor Cynthia Brock (University of Wyoming), and Dr Esther Joosa (Independent Researcher, Singapore) 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.