Primary and Upper-Secondary School Teachers and School Counselors in the Initial Period of Distance Learning Due to the COVID-19 Epidemic Živa Krajnc, Adelisa Huskić, Zala Kokol, Tina Kos and Katja Košir
Summary: Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, in March 2020 Slovenian elementary and upper-secondary schools have started to carry out distance learning. School professionals were forced to significantly adapt their teaching and other professional work. An online questionnaire was designed to assess educators‘ perspectives on distance learning. 1081 teachers and school counselors from elementary and upper-secondary schools participated in the study. The primary purpose of the study was to investigate educators‘ perceived competence for the ICT use, their attitudes toward distance learning, their reports on the work progress, perceived advantages, disadvantages and obstacles, perceived support at work, and self-reported work stress. Additionally, we aimed to examine the relationships between these constructs as well as potential differences between participants with regard to working in elementary vs. upper-secondary school, their previous training in ICT use, and having preschool or younger elementary school children at home. The results indicated that participants employed in the upper-secondary school reported higher competence for ICT use for instructional purposes, reported more positive attitudes toward distance learning, and lower level of stress compared to those employed in elementary schools. In addition, they perceived communication with students in distance learning as well as students‘ responses as more positive. Participants that were previously included in the project(s) that enhanced ICT use in education perceived themselves as more competent for the use of ICT to enhance distance learning, reported more positive attitudes toward distance learning, and reported lower levels of stress. Educators that reported taking care of their preschool or younger school children during distance teaching reported a higher level of stress.