Educators in lockdown: six months further on

This week, we will feature a series of blogs from Professor Susan Smith, Associate Director, Centre for Learning and Teaching, at Leeds Beckett University. Susan first shared her findings and reflections on educating in a lockdown back in May; here, she reflects on how her learning journey has continued through the pandemic.

Head shot picture of Susan Smith

I explored the impact that sudden home working had on our small educational development team, in a blog in the early summer which is published here. It was a qualitative interview study comprising three phases of interviews initially in March, April with the final interviews planned for Autumn 2020. We explored how home working had impacted on our skills, health, team working and our perspectives of teaching and education.

I took those initial findings and have now explored them, six months later, in our October 2020 batch of interviews. I explore directly how have things changed, how we feel, what we have learnt and where it leaves us.

You might not (and probably should not) be able to generalise the findings of this small sample that you read about in these blog posts this week to your own team or your own university, but you may recognise some similarities. I hope so.

It appears a lot has happened to our small team of six women in the last six months.  We have changed and adapted and surprised ourselves with our resilience and flexibility. We are proud of how we have tried to support our staff colleagues.

We have found that online and blended learning have now bedded in and become the new normal (an overused phrase in my view), our team is expanding to merge and be more joined up with a bigger distance learning unit … but … we’re still working in the same kitchens, and home offices but clearly navigating the rules of this new game much more effectively.

In the early months and in the first blog post I illuminated four key findings and they still, on examining our interview recordings, hold true in part. I will discuss one of the findings every day this week and how we have all changed and moved with the flow of the situation.

I will end the week explaining our new concerns and a view on our new priorities.   

Professor Susan Smith, Associate Director, Centre for Learning & Teaching, Leeds Beckett University

10.11.20