INDIRE has published the first part of the report on the impact of the pandemic on teaching and organisational practices in Italian schools in 2020/21. The worced closures and a high number of students and teachers in quarantine.
The survey was conducted through an online questionnaire addressed to a selected sample of 2,546 permanent, non-support teachers. Of These, 1,994 are women and 552 are men; 26.8% are in primary schools, 20.3% in lower secondary schools and the remaining 52.9% in upper secondary schools. 38% are between the ages of 44 and 55. Geographically, 20.1% are from the north west, 26.7% from the north-east, 17.4% from the centre, 35.8% from the south and the islands.
Differently from the first lockdown, in Spring 2020, when the total closure of schools led to distance learning as the only way to interact between teachers and students, in the school year 2020/21 following the various waves of the pandemic and anti Covid-19 measures foreseen by Ministerial Decree, digital integrated teaching became a complement, not a substitute, of face-to-face lessons.
Among the dynamics observed by INDIRE, there were: the use of technologies (apps, software and digital environments); the spaces used (environments different from the conventional ones, corridors, gyms, parks or theatres); the contents and the curriculum; the organisation and the school leadership (responsibilities and management of the pandemic crisis); the collaboration with other schools and external territories on the territory; assessment (identification, feedback and sharing of the evaluation processes); and training (activities implemented and their utility for professional development).
The survey is not to be intended as exhaustive of the complexity experienced in the last year, but represents a first analysis which is going to have future developments from which reflections regarding didactic and organisational solutions to be adopted in the future could emerge.
During the school year 2020/21, there was an attempt to go back to the usual face-to-face lesson, after the harshest phase of the lockdown, in-person teaching was the most commonly adopted didactic method (72,1%). However, the extent of the “forced” change in the way of teaching emerges in the high number of teachers who had frequently to turn back to distance learning (68,6%); while almost half of them chose hybrid learning (48,2%) and an alternation of in-person and distance learning (45,2%).
As far as methods are concerned, referring to the guidelines for integrated digital learning of the Ministry of Education for the year 2020/21, during the pandemic, innovative and interactive methods have been largely used by teachers, such as Project-Based Learning, Flipped classroom, Debate, cooperative learning, short teaching time, which were among those recommended by the Ministry. However, some of these had been already adopted before the pandemic. Among the teaching tasks observed, the survey delved also into the dynamics relating to the use of the webcam during the different phases of the didactic activity and strategies to involve and motivate students during distance learning.
Regarding the frequency of use of educational resources, the use of supports and resources for teaching, albeit with some changes compared to before the pandemic, does not seem to have affected the primacy held by the textbook, which still appears to be among the resources most frequently used. In primary schools, 53.9% of teachers used the textbook “always” and 39.7% “often”; in lower secondary schools, the percentages are respectively 49.3% and 38.5%, while in upper secondary schools 46.8% (“always”) and 38.4% (“often”). The teaching resources used in primary schools by the majority of teachers include, in addition to the textbook, digital content or digital expansion of textbooks, scanned content from other textbooks, self-produced digital content for lessons, content from informal sources, content from educational insights offered by webinars or other training initiatives.