Remote learning in a changed world: Preservice teachers’ conceptualisation of remote learning

Year: 2021

Author: Ngcobo, Annatoria Zanele, Jhagroo, Jyoti, Rabaza, Msebenzi, Enu, Justice

Type of paper: Symposium

The outbreak of the COVID – 19 pandemic has witnessed educational disruption on such a large scale, (Mchunu, Ngcobo and Bhengu, 2021). Within a short space of time universities were compelled to transition to remote teaching and learning. The swift shift from the face to face or normal classroom interaction to online interaction emerged with new opportunities as well as challenges. However, to embrace the new norm of teaching and learning there should be a transition of the mindset from all stakeholders, therefore four researchers from four teacher training institutions, that is the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, the University of Free State in South Africa, Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand and Komeda College of Education in Ghana set to understand the intricacies of transitioning to online teaching and learning from the perspectives of  pre-service mathematics teachers. Within the frame of the bigger study which investigated mathematics teacher educators and pre-service mathematics teachers conceptualization and uptake of remote teaching and learning, this paper focuses on pre-service mathematics conceptualisation of remote learning and teaching. As purported in literature, Online learning can involve both synchronous and asynchronous modes of communication and interaction between teachers and students, and amongst students (Kirkwood & Price, 2012). Both modes make use of virtual tools therefore one’s conceptualisation of what it all entails is a critical factor in the decision making. Data for this study was generated from pre-service mathematics teachers enrolled for the Bachelor of Education using a survey questionnaire. A total of 95 pre-service mathematics teachers gave consent to participate in the study. The questionnaires were administered using google forms and analysed using the SPSS software. The preliminary findings revealed that pre-service mathematics teachers consider remote teaching to be impersonal, complicated, demanding and an alternate mode of face to face learning. While 55, 4 % have the understanding that remote learning is another form of learning, 45.6 % are of the view that remote learning disrupts their learning. These findings have huge implications for teaching and learning because if pre-service mathematics teachers consider remote learning to be disrupting their learning process such mindset will affect the institutions throughput. Based on the findings it is recommended that teacher training institutions explore possible ways to ensure that pre-service mathematics teachers adapt to accomodate the new norm of teaching and learning.