Published: February 2021 
Authored by: Lisa-Maria Muller & Gemma Goldenberg

Education in times of crisis: Effective approaches to distance learning

This report, Education in times of crisis: Effective approaches to distance learning, provides teachers and policymakers with an accessible resource on how to best support students through distance learning, with a particular focus on students where this may be most challenging – including students with SEND and younger students – assembling the latest pedagogical research and analyses from the current crisis from around the world.

Key findings for effective strategies when working with students with SEND during distance learning include:

– Pedagogical strategies that have been found to be effective with all students during distance learning are also likely to benefit students with SEND. These include effective feedback, metacognitive strategies and collaborative learning
– Likewise, strategies that support students with SEND during distance learning and that make content and pedagogical approaches more accessible are likely to support all students
– The importance of considering students’ needs first, their diagnoses second. While students may have the same diagnoses, their individual needs may differ and need to be considered when planning distance learning
– Focusing on making learning and pedagogy, not just a particular resource or digital platform accessible – although this is crucial too
– Creating a supportive learning environment with familiar teachers and spending time on re-establishing routines for those students who have been particularly negatively affected by a disruption to their routines

To further support teachers, this landmark report also outlines key recommendations teachers can implement as they look to the future to support all students, including:

– Making use of technology to provide a combination of automated, peer and teacher feedback to support student learning
– Providing opportunities for collaborative learning online that take students’ development stage into account
– Teaching students metacognitive strategies to support independent learning online
– Considering the level of parental involvement that is needed for different distance learning activities
– Planning time away from screens into the distance learning school day

“At the Chartered College of Teaching, we aim to support teachers in making research informed decisions about distance learning and how best to support their students during this challenging time. This report brings together a wide range of research evidence on distance learning strategies, supporting students with SEND and maintaining motivation and wellbeing.”

Gemma Goldenberg

Dr Lisa-Maria Müller



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