Teachers working at private schools in the province regret that online classes will continue for hundreds of students when the context of the pandemic doesn’t justify it. They call on the management of the institutions not to resort to this “as long as the teaching and working conditions are not in place”.
“Online teaching leads to a lack of motivation and a desire to learn and exert yourself,” Marie-Josée Dallaire, vice president of the Federation of Private Education Staff (FPEP-CSQ), said during a press conference Wednesday morning, insisting that the school year began.
While tuition is mandatory, the Department of Education is allowing the establishment of pilot projects that will allow online tuition in private and public schools across the province, under certain circumstances. This includes cases of bullying at school, severe anxiety, behavioral or learning disorders, distance from major centers, or participation in physical education or arts courses that require absenteeism.
This initiative, which runs from September 2021 to June 2024, is part of the Digital Plan, which aims to “encourage the use of Distance Learning (FAD) in primary and secondary education. As of September 7, 66 projects had been approved, including 49 on the public network and 17 in private institutions, the Ministry of Education said Have to. Around 3,500 students are affected by this, and further projects will be added over the course of the year.
Since its inception, “pupils who have to take the bus to a sports competition get on the bus or elsewhere to follow what’s happening at school,” explains Marie-Josée Dallaire. “The context isn’t optimal for building a strong pedagogical relationship,” she says.
A study on the impact of virtual teaching, conducted this year by UQAM researchers on behalf of the FPEP-CSQ, notes a loss of motivation among students, a decrease in socialization and a regression in the pedagogical relationship between students and teachers, raising great concern for the union .
In addition, there is an additional workload for the teachers. “If you teach your class in presence and with students who are at a distance at the same time, you have to be placed in the class in a certain way. It limits opportunities and makes work more difficult,” says the federation’s president, Stéphane Lapointe.
“It’s impossible to form a relationship, head of class,” adds Marie-Josée Dallaire. They also need to understand that scripting is not done in the same way for face-to-face classes compared to distance learning.”
Not the same vision
At the Académie Ste-Thérèse, where there is a Sport Elite program and a pilot that allows students to visit the school remotely if they are in training camp for more than five days or at a competition, for example in the Abroad, management has a different reading of the situation.
“We offer the teacher the opportunity to enable the student to follow the lesson live in class, if the context allows it,” emphasizes General Director Martin Landry, who speaks of a flexible formula that is negotiated piece by piece with the teachers . If laboratory or team work is less suitable, teaching mathematical terms is more appropriate, he says.
Previously, student athletes with a work schedule “had left with big, big backpacks,” adds Isabelle Bruneau, director of educational services. “They came back with homework that they had to do for two or three weeks to salvage material. Children paid a little more for. With the pilot, it was a hybrid trade-off and the students have to go to recovery less,” she says.
According to the two directors, the UQAM study is about online teaching over a longer period of time, while the pilot project is about “short sequences” with students with an “elite profile”. “Instead of chasing after the teachers when they get out of school and go into recovery, I think it should be more motivating to follow their lessons live and not fall too far behind the others,” emphasizes Martin Landry.
For its part, the Federation of Private Educational Institutions (FEEP) agrees “there is nothing better than having students in the classroom”. “On the other hand, for a student who can’t be at school, it’s better to offer virtual classes than nothing,” said President David Bowles.
He believes that the ministry should even be “more open” to this formula. “We can’t wait to see the results of the pilot projects so that they become more general, as is the case in the other provinces, for very specific cases such as hospitalized students and outdoor tournaments,” he points out.
to have tutoring
In addition to online teaching, the FPEP-CSQ also addresses the issue of catching up on students who have suffered from the consequences of the pandemic and human resources work, which has been described as the “workload explosion”.
“We find that the shortcomings remain when returning to face-to-face teaching, so it is important that we create learning conditions and that the workload is realistic so that our professionals can do their job well,” stresses Stéphane Lapointe. We had a lot of pressure for pedagogical innovation from our management, which caused a significant work overload.”
In particular, helping students in difficulty means providing students with more appropriate and personalized support, but the union believes this is an “unrealistic” orientation in classrooms with 35 students or more.
On the FEEP side, we are aware of the delay that needs to be made up for some students. “Over 20% of our students have intervention plans for difficulties. The pandemic was particularly difficult for these students,” says David Bowles. There was a more accentuated lag than before. We pay special attention to them.” He points out that the impact was much less for students in enriched programs.
“Students’ anxiety has increased significantly,” he adds. This is a high priority for several schools in our network. We have resources available.”