Fisher, Paige

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    Fostering K-12 student-teacher and collegial relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for teacher education
    (Canadian Association for Teacher Education, 2022) Riedel, Marian; Moll, Rachel; Taplay, Alison; Fisher, Paige
    This community-based participatory action research project was prompted by the rapid shift to emergency remote learning in March-June 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A team of researchers at a regional teaching-focused university in BC initiated the research based on their shared belief that new understandings about the relational character of teaching and learning would come from an examination of the lived experience of educators during this difficult time. The study involved six community partners who collaborated with the researchers to co-develop the research questions and co-design data collection tools. The study was intended to be mutually beneficial for the teacher education program and the school districts/schools involved. It engaged 413 participants (teachers, administrators, educational assistants [EAs], and non-enrolling teachers) who answered survey questions about relationships, communication, equity and inclusion, shifts in practice, and leadership. This chapter is focused on data specific to the role of relationships in education and how relationships were impacted during the pandemic. Three themes emerged from the data analysis relevant to online learning environments, yet applicable across all modalities: relationality as a core value of BC K-12 educators, affordances and challenges for relationships, and affordances and challenges for equity. Recommendations specific to teacher education aim to advise teacher education programs to expand their focus on relationship building; to re-envision the work of teaching as a collaborative and not a solitary act; and to advocate for the inclusion of online teaching and learning pedagogies into teacher education programs.
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    Teaching in the COVID-19 era: Understanding the opportunities and barriers for teacher agency
    (University of the Free State, 2021-03-12) Ehren, M.C.M.; Madrid, R.; Romiti, Sara; Armstrong, P.W.; Fisher, Paige; McWhorter, D.L.
    The school closures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic created a rapid shift to alternative modes of educational delivery, primarily online learning and teacher-supported home-schooling. This shift has revealed deep inequities in education systems worldwide, as many children lost access to teachers and schooling. An effective response to these changes has tested teachers’ personal capacities and individual and collective agency intensely. The research lab we report on within this paper aimed to develop a better understanding of teacher agency in meeting the challenges of the pandemic and the physical and relational enablers and constraints of their environment. Drawing on case study reports from six international contexts and a series of online discussions with research lab participants, this study explores teachers’ enactment of agency in the context of various circumstances and environments. The authors argue that it is imperative that education systems support the enhancement of teachers’ personal and collective agency in the face of continued disruption to schooling and ongoing challenges to educational equity.