Our educational research and training are more relevant than ever: We are in this together!
Dealing with unpredictability and managing unprecedented situations could be key descriptors of any job profile in education. Teachers and school leaders are very familiar with the volatility of classroom environments, the limits of planning and the skill of turning challenges to learning opportunities.
However, it also true that educators’ job satisfaction relates closely to the constant interaction with young people and the opportunity to be part of teams: those within the school and those in the periphery of the school such as the interdisciplinary teams that offer professional guidance, expert advice or the opportunity for guided professional reflection.
One of the most important challenge brought to education by the lockdown relates exactly to the physical absence of these teams and the restrictions in teachers’ and school managers’ ability to seek expert support in their everyday practice. Online schooling has turned our offices, homes and desks in small islands of physical isolation.
Here in the School of Education, Leeds Beckett University, we believe that this is just another learning opportunity. In fact, reflecting on our extensive experience in online teaching and on our thriving educational research, we are convinced that this is opportunity which could potentially extend our understanding about formal education and about professional roles in it. Moreover, we are confident that our experience and expertise can support teachers and school managers in making the most from the current situation and we are privileged in being in position to put our skills and knowledge to their disposal.
With the launch of an Educational Helpline we are making the expertise of our large team of academics, researchers and teacher trainers directly available to all education professionals who are seeking professional, research-informed and practice-rooted advice or looking for an opportunity to have informal, professional conversations on issues related to the new educational needs of their schools.
This is not an offer of external support to schools; It is only an adaptation of our practice as members of the educational community and our contribution to this community’s new learning opportunity!
Michalis's research and teaching experience cover the areas of citizenship and intercultural education, inclusive education and special educational needs. The aspect of schooling that Michalis is particularly interested in is the interaction between students and teachers and its role in young people's self-concept and socialisation.