Volume 10 Issue 3 (2021)

Examining first-grade teachers’ experiences and approaches regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teaching and learning

pp. 13-38  |  Published Online: July 2021  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2021.103.2

Elif Mercan Uzun, Eda Butun Kar, Yusuf Ozdemir

Abstract

Background/purpose – Elementary school first-grade is very important, particularly in Turkey where preschool education is not compulsory. For students who have not received preschool education or those with low levels of preparedness, starting elementary school can be very challenging process. These difficulties have increased with the implementation of emergency distance education due to the pandemic. This study aims to determine the difficulties that first-grade elementary school teachers have faced during the pandemic.

Materials/methods – Phenomenological study, as one of the qualitative research methods, was applied in the current study. A semi-structured interview form was prepared as a data collection tool, and then interviews were conducted with 15 first-grade elementary school teachers.

Results – The study analyzed problems experienced during the emergency distance education program under the categories of focusing, learning losses, homework, textbooks, curriculum, equipment problems, screen time, hardware deficiencies, Internet access, connectivity problems, absenteeism, communication problems, home conditions, expectations from the state, inadequate family support, and security problems. It also examined problems experienced during the face-to-face training process under the categories of facemasks, social distancing, hygiene, adaptation problems, socialization, and parents.

Conclusion – The most significant problem that the participant teachers experienced during the emergency distance education was reported to be the learning losses of students. The other problems were determined to be the long periods of time students spent in front of a screen, educational materials not having been prepared for distance education, and not providing teachers with fundamental necessities for lessons such as Internet connectivity. In face-to-face education, the anxiety caused by fear of contracting the virus, and the difficulties of students to adapt to face-to-face education was seen to negatively affect the teachers.

Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, pandemic, elementary school first-grade, distance education, face-to-face education.

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