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School survey: local parents would choose face to face teaching

A local school’s survey of parents has revealed most would choose face to face teaching over remote learning for their children.

Macarthur Anglican School at Cobbitty recently conducted a survey of parents to get feedback on its performance during the online learning period brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The school’s head of innovation and research centre, Rebecca Fitzpatrick, says they were prepared for a mix of both negative and positive feedback and were pleasantly surprised at what the parents told them. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic and the rapid onset of online learning challenged our school community last term like never before,’’ says Ms Fitzpatrick.

“We needed to transition, seemingly overnight, and mould learning to suit a changing educational environment in exceptional times.

“Elements of online learning were challenging for everyone, the teachers and staff, the students, and of course parents and carers. 

“Individual experience was influenced by a multitude of factors such as age, digital literacy and self-efficacy.

“Our teachers had the steepest professional learning curve they are ever likely to face, working collegially to share their existing skills in a teaching and learning community, while parents and families were juggling many challenges beyond their control.’’

Parents survey: Rebecca Fitzpatrick with students at Macarthur Anglican.

The K-12 parent online learning survey received 220 responses, which is a high response rate given the school has 840 students and many of them are siblings.

If given a choice, most parents would prefer that their children did not partake in online learning.

However online learning during Covid-19 also got a tick, according to the survey results.

 “Some of the challenges of online learning for teachers included extended planning hours, tracking student progress, email volumes, and measuring student engagement,’’ says Ms Fitzpatrick. 

“There were certainly some surprising benefits of online learning, including discovering how resilient many of our students are, and how there can be powerful shifts in the way we teach and students learn. 

“Something we all agree on is we would all like schools not to have to go to online learning again. However, as part of our Covid world, things can change quickly.’’

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