UTSA distance learning survey reveals teachers’ distance learning concerns

Findings from Urban Education Institute first in a series of reports

SAN ANTONIO – With distance learning carrying over through at least for the start of the new school year, the University of Texas at San Antonio Urban Education Institute asked nearly 2,000 teachers, students and parents from nine local school districts about what they think about teaching and learning online.

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"This is the first of many reports to come to help school districts plan for the fall," said Mike Villarreal, the institute's director.

He said the first survey is about what teachers had to say.

"Nearly all teachers had to learn new skills and new techniques and new ways of translating what they did in the classroom online," Villarreal said.

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Although 95% of survey-takers reported having no experience teaching online, Villarreal said 91% gained new skills.

"Teachers are resilient and adaptive," he said. "But also, it was definitely a big challenge."

Other findings showed 65% of survey-takers reported "lessons that grabbed students' attention and moved them forward were significantly less frequent." Also, only 44% had discovered an "effective strategy for assessing students' performance."

Most concerning to teachers surveyed is "the difficulty of establishing and maintaining that social, emotional connection with students," Villarreal said.

Since school districts have been relying on distance learning for several months, teachers, students and parents shouldn’t expect more of the same, Villarreal said.

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“The way distance learning is going to be implemented the fall is going to look far different than it did in the spring,” he said.

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.