Following the COVID-19 pandemic, distance learning should never be a priority, as it has far-reaching consequences for children and teachers.
This is the conclusion of a study by the Federation of Private Education Employees (FPEP) affiliated to the Quebec Central Trade Union Confederation (CSQ).
In a report published on Sunday, the union mentions the consequences of online teaching on students and teaching staff. Among them, we note the poorer retention of learning by students, the disruption of the relationship between teachers and their students, as well as the workload of teachers.
“This practice must remain truly exceptional for us,” Marie-Josée Dallaire, vice president of FPEP-CSQ, told a virtual press conference on health measures on Sunday.
Unlike some scientific studies that suggest that the use of technological tools has a positive effect on motivation, FPEP-CSQ teachers show the opposite effect on their students, who have become “spectators of their learning”. In addition, students who have less control over these technologies would be at a disadvantage compared to their classmates.
According to FPEP-CSQ President Stéphane Lapointe, online courses have also hit teachers’ mental health hard. “Constant exposure to the screen, constant connection to technology platforms with everyday digital tools, timeless work to maintain continuity of education and constant adaptation to ministerial regulations lead to a state of permanent mental overload of teachers,” he said.
Myes Dallaire condemned the desire of some institutions to seek to standardize distance learning, a practice that she said could have consequences for staff and students.
“A snowstorm or a competition that comes at the same time as the school day is not an exceptional circumstance that justifies disrupting teachers’ planning and pedagogy,” she explained.
The FPEP-CSQ therefore calls on the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, to set clear guidelines for distance learning from the next school year and “not to succumb to many pretexts” that could justify its use.
Like their counterparts in the public sector, the FPEP-CSQ criticized the CAQ government for the lack of stability of ministerial guidelines in education, which “very exhausted” their members.
The FPEP study was conducted with 17 affiliated unions in interviews with teaching and support staff members.