Teacher educators’ experiences of the shift to remote teaching and learning due to COVID-19

Sven H. Glietenberg, Nadine Petersen, Andy Carolin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The measures imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in early 2020 meant that many higher education institutions (HEIs) had to shift rapidly to remote teaching and learning (RTL). Given the unique demands of teacher education programmes, the question of the extent to which RTL and similar modes of teaching and learning are suited to the preparation of primary school teachers to teach in South African schools is an important one. Aim: The aim of the study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of teacher educators (TEs) towards this rapid shift to RTL. Setting: The study took place in one department in a faculty of education in an urban South African university. Methods: This study took the form of a qualitative case study. Data was gathered by means semistructured individual interviews and focus group discussions. Results: Firstly, it was found that mixed responses to the change to RTL at the outset gave way to a general consensus about the long-term value of blended learning. Secondly, it was found that the change to RTL had a positive effect on TEs’ teaching, given increased familiarity with, and integration of, technology, as well as the accompanying revisions to both pedagogy and curricula. Thirdly, the data showed that TEs perceived RTL as limiting because of two main factors, namely students’ lack of information and communication technology (ICT) resources and because, in their estimation, teacher education uniquely requires contact teaching. Finally, it was found that the change to RTL created additional psychological stressors for both students and staff. Conclusion: Based on this study’s findings, the authors advocate for more recognition and support for the emotional work performed by TEs during times of transition. They also argue that TEs should be given more responsibility in moulding blended teaching and learning practices according to their experiences of the successes and challenges of RTL.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera1189
JournalSouth African Journal of Childhood Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • ICT in education
  • South Africa
  • Teacher education
  • blended learning
  • education in the Global South
  • remote teaching and learning
  • work-integrated learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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