The lessons learnt from emergency remote teaching to strengthen a pre-service teacher education course on lesson design

Dean van der Merwe, Rene Levigne-Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on the lessons learnt from the COVID-19-induced emergency remote (online) teaching and learning of a one-year teacher education course. The final-year course, within a four-year Bachelor of Education programme, aimed at developing pre-service teachers’ knowledge of the nature and process of learning and how to guide and support learning in diverse school contexts. The course was planned before the COVID-19 pandemic, and teaching and learning would have taken place on campus, with limited online activities. The ensuing lockdown in South Africa resulted in university teaching and learning moving abruptly online. We investigated lessons learnt from the transition to emergency remote (online) teaching. Data were generated by conducting semi-structured interviews with 20 student teachers about their experiences of the course. The data were analysed using the constant comparative method. Analysing the data highlighted the benefits of remote (online) teaching that should be considered when using a blended approach to harness online teaching affordances. As we advance, we will implement a fully blended approach, harnessing the affordances of both online and contact-based teaching and learning. Practitioner Notes 1. Students in higher education benefit from explicit communication and continuous support from lecturers. 2. Small-group practice and reflection sessions are beneficial to students’ learning (online or during contact sessions). 3. Students in higher education benefit when course content is structured in a consistent, routinized and accessible way. 4. Teacher education students should be prepared to adapt to teaching in different contexts (contact, blended or remote). 5. Higher education courses should combine the best affordance of online and contact teaching.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalJournal of University Teaching and Learning Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • constant comparative method of data analysis
  • COVID-19
  • Emergency remote teaching
  • pre-service teacher education
  • semi-structured interviews

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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