The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Spring of 2020 forced a sudden and unexpected disruption of the usual modes of schooling around the world. In the United States, lack of federal, state and district leadership left most teachers to negotiate the chaotic early months of the pandemic on their own. This study examined to what extent some US teachers used this crisis as an opportunity to jettison traditional teaching methods in favor of more student-centered teaching methods (SCMs), and examined whether teacher self-efficacy (TSE) and facility with technology were related to that decision. Analysis of survey data from PK-12 teachers (n=178) found near-universal reduction in use of SCMs during the onset of COVID-19, especially among teachers who reported higher self-efficacy before the crisis. On average, greater self-confidence before COVID-19 was associated with a greater decrease in the use of SCMs during the crisis. While TSE during the crisis was positively correlated with use of student-centered methods, the direction of the influence between those two variables could not be determined. In our analysis, the data seem to better support the theory that use of SCMs builds a sense of efficacy, rather than the traditional understanding that it is high TSE that empowers a teacher to use innovative pedagogy. Technology versatility was correlated weakly with TSE during this period, but we found no evidence of any correlation between technology versatility and SCM usage. Further exploration through surveying a wider population and adding data sources beyond teacher self-reports is recommended.
David Nurenberg, Lesley University, United States
Liana Tuller, Northeastern University Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict, United States