| Erfurt School of Education, SPF Bildung. Schule. Verhalten., Forschung

How are Thuringia's teachers doing during the school closures? - Study provides first results

The current corona crisis poses great challenges for teachers in Thuringia. Not only should adequate substitutes for teaching be realized. Teachers currently also have to find ways of fulfilling their educational mission - despite the distance. In many cases, this means digitization overnight. How well this succeeds and what support is needed is the "great unknown". Against this background, Dr. Benjamin Dreer from the Erfurt School of Education at the University of Erfurt and Professor Bärbel Kracke from the Chair of Educational Psychology at the Institute of Educational Sciences at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena conducted a state-wide online survey of around 1,200 teachers - spread across various types of schools and school board departments - at the beginning of April, thus identifying the challenges and support needs of Thuringian teachers in the current situation and for a new start at the schools. The first results are now available.

They show:

  • Thuringian teachers in distance learning mainly work with classic tools such as books and workbooks as well as with digital standard tools (e.g. PDF and e-mail, offers from textbook publishers), which they are already familiar with from the time before school closures.
  • A large proportion of the teachers interviewed in Thuringia see the main challenge of distance learning as the fact that particularly low-achieving pupils and pupils with special needs and with a non-German family language can currently be reached much more difficultly and that the differences in performance among pupils will increase during distance learning. Against this background, they would like to see opportunities to address the deficits that have arisen after the new start and are also of the opinion by a large majority that parents and coordination between the colleges are important for the success of distance learning.
  • A large proportion of the teachers interviewed are open-minded about the current situation and the associated challenges and are prepared to try out previously unknown digital tools and develop their own skills. However, there are also teachers who currently feel more challenged and burdened by time, especially if they do not have the necessary prerequisites for digital distance learning (skills, technology and software).
  • For the new start at schools, the focus is now on wishes for the further rapid and systematic expansion of digitisation at schools and for further training within schools. Direct questions regarding examinations and the awarding of grades would also need to be clarified. Teachers* would like concrete support in terms of hygienic workflows and the prevention of infections. It seems particularly important to design the new start in such a way that the colleagues can work through their experiences with regard to gains and losses during the distance phase.

Bärbel Kracke and Benjamin Dreer: "In our opinion, the high number of participants in our study shows a great need among teachers in Thuringia to comment on the current situation and to productively participate in the discourse".

Background of the study:
The initiative is linked to a project on digitisation in teacher education funded by the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society (TMWWDG) at both universities. Another partner on board is the Thuringian Trade Union for Education and Science, which supports the initiative with its expertise and network.

Further information / contact:
Dr. Benjamin Dreer
email: benjamin.dreer@uni-erfurt.de

Prof. Dr. Bärbel Kracke
email: baerbel.kracke@uni-jena.de