Fostering K-12 student-teacher and collegial relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for teacher education

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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.
This book chapter was originally published as: Riedel, M., Moll, R, Taplay, A., & Fisher, P. (2022). Fostering K-12 student-teacher and collegial relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for teacher education. In M. Jacobesen & C. Smith (Eds.). Online learning and teaching from Kindergarten to graduate school (pp. 57-86). Canadian Association for Teacher Education.
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