Virtual School Meanderings

January 14, 2022

Nova Scotia Report – What We Heard: A summary of results from parent and student learning at home surveys

A colleague brought this report to my attention.

What We Heard: A summary of results from parent and student learning at home surveys (2020)

https://www.tcrce.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/What-We-Heard-A-summary-of-results-from-parent-and-student-learning-and-home.pdf

In June, Nova Scotia parents and students were asked to complete an online survey to share their experience with at-home learning during the pandemic. The survey asked a series of questions and respondents were also given the opportunity to provide written answers.

More than 20,000 parents of students in Pre-primary through to Grade 12 and over 8,300 students from Grades 7 to 12 completed the survey. Of the student respondents, 530 identified as Mi’kmaq/Indigenous and 433 identified as being of African descent, with 317 of those students identifying as African Nova Scotian.

Below is a summary of the initial findings from the survey that were used to help inform the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s re-opening plan for September. The department will continue to analyze the survey results and along with the regional centres for education and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial will use the findings as we work together to further plan for the coming school year.

When I started poking around on the Government of Nova Scotia’s website, I also came across Disrupting the Status Quo: Nova Scotians Demand a Better Future for Every Student (a Report of the Minister’s Panel on Education – November 2014), which included the following references that may be of interest to readers.

Minister’s Panel on Education Consultation Survey

Students have the right opportunities to learn with technologies (for example: access to computers and devices, integrated with learning, distance education courses, Virtual school). – Agree / Somewhat Agree / Somewhat Disagree / Disagree / Don’t Know

(p. 16)

Sample Quotes

PROVINCIAL POLICY AND FUNDING

The cuts being made. More and more teachers are being cut and being replaced with online courses, causing a decline in grades. It isn’t right. – Student

(p. 58)

Students need more options in high school, especially those not heading for University

Equity of access to programs and courses need to improve:

– Many respondents said that the right course options are available in high schools but access to them depends on where you live in the province. Small rural high schools are unable to hire enough staff to offer the full range of high school courses and while students now have access to more options through the Provincial Virtual School, not all students feel they learn well in online courses

(p. 195)

WHAT WAS SAID

SECTION 1: INCREASE COMMITMENT TO EQUITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

More diversity needs to be shown amongst teachers hired and school curriculum – also, the extent to which these issues are promoted/ addressed varies based on the teacher and school/community.

• Additional language courses should be available (could be online).

(p. 235)

SECTION 3: GENERAL COMMENTS

More resources are needed to build partnerships – comments relate mainly to teacher-parent relationships.

• More supports are needed to help parents understand reporting measures, how to access online resources, etc.

(p. 285)

WHAT WAS SAID

SECTION 1: FUNDING

System-level change is needed for how funding is distributed – organizational changes should be made to facilitate better funding allocations.

• Schools need greater flexibility (alternative programming, online opportunities).

(p. 303)

FINAL COMMENTS

SECTION 1: Climate

Bullying continues to be a problem that affects everyone.

• Seven in ten (71%) comments related to bullying came from parents or students.

• There are concerns that a culture of bullying and inaction exists in some school environments (school grounds, buses and by extension online). While most comments relate to bullying of students by other students there are perceptions that bullying or intimidating behavior occurs in parent‐teacher interactions and administration‐teacher interactions. How pervasive these other forms of bullying are is uncertain as the survey didn’t specifically address bullying as a primary topic area. What is clear is that those who took the time to mention bullying in all its forms feel passionately about the issue.

(p. 326)

Drop the 19th century teaching model. Teachers should facilitate learning.  Change classroom spaces into learning spaces with options for students to engage with content in meaningful ways. More problem based and experiential learning with a high degree of technology integration. More online and blended learning options and more self‐paced individualized learning.

(p. 334)

CURRICULUM

CONCERNS

Course Options (191)

SOLUTIONS

‐ There needs to be a wider range of courses offered to students, especially core courses like science, math, etc.

‐ There must be less of a reliance on online courses, especially for core courses like science, math, etc (these should be offered in school)

(p. 344)

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