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Reports Part of series: Education & Covid-19: BERA Small Grants Fund research reports

How has Covid-19 affected how teacher educators engage their students in learning?

This report presents a mixed-methods investigation of how Covid-19 affected the ways in which teacher educators in Wales engaged their students with learning, and how the switch to online delivery affected teacher educators’ wellbeing.

Its findings, which are intended to support the development of Wales’ new initial teacher education system, include the following:

  • a number of pedagogical dilemmas concerning how to build relationships with students and engage them in learning
  • teacher educators lacked time to prepare for online teaching and learning, particularly in terms of the different pedagogical techniques required and managing online learning environments
  • mixed impacts on wellbeing, with initial anxiety and isolation partially giving way to rising levels of positivity and confidence about technology use and the lack of face-to-face teaching
  • commitment to providing a quality service to students as a particular source of anxiety
  • positive attitudes towards blended learning overall.

Report summary

The use of technology and the availability of information has affected how people learn and interact. Virtual learning environments (VLEs) have been used for some time to support learners in higher education to acquire skills and knowledge. This study investigated whether the current strategies supported by VLEs are suitable for learning in an extended online HE environment such as those used during the pandemic. It aimed to understand the impact of the changes forced by Covid-19 on the perceptions of teacher educators based within the HE sector, specifically within the initial teacher education partnership in the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD). The study considered teacher educators’ perceptions about the enforced use of technology on their practice and wellbeing. Study findings are based on an analysis of semi-structured interviews using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis, and particpants’ results from the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS) (Tennant et al., 2007). These indicate a need for more effective management of online learning environments and greater expertise in digital pedagogy. They also show that the enforced change affected study participants both negatively and positively.


Profile picture of Jan Barnes
Jan Barnes, Dr

Senior Lecturer at University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Jan Barnes is a senior lecturer of cross-curriculum close-to-practice research and enquiry in the Institute of Education and Humanities at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD). Jan’s research interests include the use of cultural...

Profile picture of Charlotte Greenway
Charlotte Greenway

Senior Lecturer at University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Charlotte Greenway is a senior lecturer in the School of Psychology and Counselling at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Charlotte gained her PhD in psychology at the University of Glamorgan for her research into children’s...

Profile picture of Catherine Morgan
Catherine Morgan, Mrs

Senior Lecturer at University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Catherine Morgan is a senior lecturer in initial teacher education at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, leading on Welsh second language, bilingualism and Y Cwricwlwm Cymreig. She is an early-career researcher with interests in music...