Teachers who work in private schools in the province regret the fact that online teaching continues for hundreds of students when the pandemic context does not justify it. They ask the management of the facilities not to resort to it “unless there are conditions for teaching and working conditions”.
“Online teaching leads to a loss of motivation and appetite for learning and effort,” said Marie-Josée Dallaire, vice-president of the Federation of Private Education Employees (FPEP-CSQ) at a press conference on Wednesday morning. supplies from the beginning of the school year.
While classroom attendance is mandatory, the Department of Education is allowing the creation of pilot projects that allow online instruction in private and public schools across the province under certain circumstances. This applies to cases of bullying at school, severe anxiety, behavioral or learning disabilities, distance from major centers or participation in sports or art study programs requiring absence.
This initiative from September 2021 to June 2024 is part of a digital plan that aims to “support the deployment of distance education (FAD) in primary and secondary education. As of September 7, 66 projects have been approved, of which 49 are in the public network and 17 are in private facilities, the Ministry of Education informed Have to. It affects approximately 3,500 students, and more projects will be added during the year.
Since its implementation, “students who have to travel by bus to go to a sports competition join the bus or elsewhere to follow what is being done at school,” explains Marie-Josée Dallaire. “The context is not optimal for establishing a strong pedagogical relationship,” he thinks.
A study conducted this year by UQAM researchers at the request of FPEP-CSQ on the effects of virtual teaching noted a loss of motivation among students, a decline in socialization and a regression in the pedagogical relationship between students and teachers, which is of great interest to the union.
Added to this is an additional workload for teachers. “When you’re teaching your class face-to-face and students who are remote at the same time, you have to be included in the classroom in a certain way. It limits the possibilities and complicates the work,” says the president of the federation, Stéphane Lapointe.
“It is impossible to establish a relationship, class management,” adds Marie-Josée Dallaire. You also need to understand that scripting face-to-face versus distance learning is not done the same way”.
Not the same vision
At the Académie Ste-Thérèse, where there is a sports-elite program and a pilot project allowing students to complete the school remotely when they are in a training camp or competition for more than five days, for example outside the country, the management has a different reading of the situation.
“We offer the possibility for the teacher to allow the student to watch the teaching live in the classroom when the context allows”, emphasizes the general director Martin Landry, who talks about the flexible formula agreed on piece by piece. with teachers. If lab or teamwork is less appropriate, teaching math concepts is more, he says.
Previously, student-athletes with work plans “walked away with big, big backpacks,” adds Isabelle Bruneau, director of educational services. “They came back with homework to do for two or three weeks to get the material. Children paid a little more. With the pilot, it was a hybrid compromise, and students have less need to go to recovery,” he says.
According to the two directors, the UQAM study involves online teaching over a long period, while the pilot involves “short sequences” with students with an “elite profile”. “Instead of chasing after teachers when they come back from school and go to recovery, I rather believe that it should be a motivation for them to watch the lessons live and not be too far behind the others,” underlines Martin Landry.
The Federation of Private Educational Institutions (FEEP) agrees that “there is nothing better than having students in the classroom”. “On the other hand, offering a virtual education to a student who can’t be in school is better than nothing,” says President David Bowles.
He believes that for this formula there should even be “greater openness” of the ministry. “We can’t wait to see the results of the pilot projects to be generalized, as it is in other provinces, for very specific cases such as hospitalized students and outdoor tournaments”, he emphasizes.
To have remedial education
In addition to online classes, FPEP-CSQ is also dealing with the issue of catching up with students affected by the pandemic and what is being described as a “workload explosion” for staff.
“We have noticed that the shortcomings persist even when we return to face-to-face contact, so it is important that we create the conditions for learning and that the workload is realistic so that our experts can do their job well,” emphasizes Stéphane Lapointe. We had a lot of pressure from our management for pedagogical innovation, it caused a significant workload”.
Helping struggling students mainly involves providing more appropriate and individualized support for students, but the union believes this is an “unrealistic” focus in classes of 35 or more students.
On the FEEP side, we are well aware of the delay that needs to be made up for some students. “Over 20% of our students have intervention plans for difficulties. For these students in particular, the pandemic has been very difficult,” says David Bowles. There was a more significant delay than we’ve seen before. We pay special attention to them.” He points out that the impact was much smaller for students in enriched programs.
“There was a significant increase in students’ anxiety levels,” he adds. This is a high priority for several schools in our network. We have resources ready.”