Children with Disabilities and Distance Education: Experiences of Primary School Teachers and Parents: Covid-19 Lockdown

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Promoting Equity and Inclusion // This study highlights the experiences of parents of children with disabilities and primary school teachers who taught these children via Distance Education during the COVID-19 Lockdown. The teachers who participated in the study teach children ages 10-14 with varying disabilities. The teachers are from three districts located in Belize (Belize, Orange Walk, and Cayo). The 30 parents were chosen based on recommendations made by the teachers. A phenomenological approach was used as the research method because this approach allowed the researchers to make in-depth analyses and provide thematic descriptions. Research data was collected through semi-structured interviews and analyzed using the inductive method. The researchers asked vital questions and the results show that teachers experienced various issues while using Distance Education. Teachers noted that although they made all attempts to cater to the needs of the children and their families via modalities like Zoom, WhatsApp and Googlemeet, children struggled regardless of the platforms used. The results also show that children did complete assignments, did not log on at times, did not follow directions without the help of the teachers, and the content was too challenging. Teachers also noted that they were not given adequate time nor support from Government, their school management, or their immediate supervisors. The teachers also reported a financial, psychological, and emotionally challenging experience while teaching via Distance Education. The teachers also noted that the parents expected them to work when they were available rather than schedule times. Teachers also noted that parents were rude when they sought clarification and insulted them on the platforms and in writing. Teachers also noted that it was hard to cater to the various exceptionalities. On the other hand, parents reported that teachers' assignments were challenging and not innovative. The teachers offered little support during Distance Education to their children, who struggled to keep up. Parents also noted that teachers seemed ill-equipped to deliver their lessons via Distance Education; they did not give quick feedback, which delayed their children's learning. Parents also reported that the teachers were late and at times did not meet deadlines they had set. Lastly, parents noted that they prefer face-to-face because their children get better support in the classroom. // Paper ID 6009

Distance Education,Disabilities,Primary Education,Inclusion
Caribbean and Americas