“No personnel categories working in private education establishments spared any effort to accompany and support students in their learning, during the pandemic and when returning to the classroom. The number of tasks and workload largely exceeded the regular working schedule, which generated significant tension and fatigue. It’s time to come back to a more normal and acceptable situation,” claims the President of the Fédération du personnel de l’enseignement privé (FPEP-CSQ), Stéphane Lapointe.

Back to basics

To achieve this, establishments must refocus on their primary mission: students’ success. Despite all the efforts made during the two-year health crisis by the teaching, support and professional staff, notably with the implementation of online education, the exceptional circumstances in which teaching continued were not always ideal.

“The crisis forced all of us to adapt and experiment with new pedagogical approaches. Experience showed us, however, the limits and weaknesses of these approaches,” says FPEP-CSQ vice-president Marie-Josée Dallaire.

Stéphane Lapointe adds that many students now show pedagogical deficits. “We want the management of establishments to take the necessary actions to better accompany students in dealing with those difficulties they continue to experience,” he adds.

Four actions to make a difference

The FPEP-CSQ asks private schools to put in place concrete measures that would allow students to develop their full potential, by focusing on support and success. Four simple actions could make a real difference, as much for these establishments’ students as for their personnel.

1. End abusive differentiated instruction

“We have nothing against some form of differentiation, but we are against exaggeration. We must remember that a private school teacher isn’t a private teacher, says Stéphane Lapointe. We can’t demand individualized teaching for 35 to 40 students in a class, it’s unrealistic. This burns out personnel and makes them less able to really help students.”

2. Stop forcing online education deployment

Online learning makes for a poorer pedagogical relationship, according to a study by the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), at the behest of the FPEP-CSQ. This type of teaching leads to negative consequences on the relationship between the teacher and their students, in the cognitive, affective and social aspects.

The study reveals that this type of teaching notably creates in students a loss of motivation and of the appreciation of effort. As for teachers, they need to adjust their teaching strategies, while personalized interventions are more limited.

Yet, pilot projects in the form of hybrid teaching (teaching simultaneously offered in-person and online) are in progress. “It’s the worst option, an unacceptable pedagogical compromise,” claims Marie-Josée Dallaire.

3. Stop overloading the schedule with non-pedagogical tasks

Time is already limited for education personnel wanting to concentrate on what they do best: help students. “We must give them time so they can fully focus on their profession and stop filling pedagogical days with useless meetings, training that aren’t adapted to the needs,” explains the Vice-President.

4. Trust the personnel

With a strong school team, the learning environment is enhanced and disparities between students are limited. According to Marie-Josée Dallaire, catching up on the gaps caused by the pandemic is a beginning project.

“Let the experts decide the pedagogical strategies that are most adequate to bring students on the path to success,” she concludes.

Distance learning: well-documented effects

The FPEP-CSQ is taking an interest in the impacts of this type of teaching and conducted studies on the matter, including one in collaboration with UQAM.

The report L’écran nous déconnecte [Screens disconnect us], whose results were published in May 2021, presents 10 revealing observations on the consequences of distance learning on students and education personnel.

The results of a recent study on the different forms of online teaching and the reasons explaining the decline in pedagogical quality will be known soon. The document Radiographie de l’enseignement en ligne [Online teaching X-ray] however, presents the highlights.

To learn more, visit the website fpep.lacsq.org.