The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the potential for remote learning mechanisms to support mental health, social and emotional learning, and academic learning for all students. The use of remote learning mechanisms to support student outcomes is particularly faced with disruptions caused by natural disasters, continued isolation of students and teachers by illness, and students with coexisting immune and health challenges. and remains a relevant and pressing topic. hindrance.
Deliberate implementation of remote mechanisms can complement in-person teaching and protect student achievements during breaks. Benefits include the flexibility to adjust your daily schedule, a learning environment with fewer distractions, and greater accessibility through technology.
Sadly, a review of Australian and international research published between March 2020 and April 2022 found that many students with It became clear that they did not receive a quality education.
Studies conducted by groups such as the Association for Children with a Disability and Amaze report inaccessible learning materials, curricula, teaching and lack of coordination of learning. Social and behavioral support and access to individual support workers (such as professional allied medical staff) or specialized equipment were significantly reduced or omitted from remote learning for these students.
Gaps in support for students with disabilities experienced during the distance learning period mirror gaps reported in pre-pandemic reviews of inclusive education practices in Australia. Schools therefore have work to do to ensure a solid foundation of accessibility and support structures for students with disabilities that can be maintained even in the event of a crisis.
However, research suggests that educational and social outcomes improve when students receive more broad support, particularly social support, from teachers and schools. This was especially noticeable when the support was stronger and came in multiple forms.
Online learning, which incorporates multiple modalities and a variety of interactive activities, including informal play and connection, appeared to be most effective in promoting successful social and educational interactions. Strategies include employing technology to record lessons for students to rewatch and virtual communication with students and parents as part of a blended approach to education.
A student-centered approach to the transition to distance learning and to in-person learning takes student preferences into account and tailors support requirements to minimize stress and disruption.
Staff training is essential to ensure an inclusive learning environment. School leaders play a key role in setting the tone and expectations, fostering effective professional development, and ensuring that teachers are well prepared and well supported.
A strong foundation of accessibility, complemented by rational adjustments to pedagogy, learning and assessment, is key to ensuring equal opportunities for students with disabilities to learn and grow.
Read the full report:
Medhurst, M., Conway, M., & Richardson, K. (2022). Distance Learning for Students with Disabilities: Game Changers or Moments? A Literature Perspective. Australian Education and Research Council. https://doi.org/10.37517/978-1-74286-683-3