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Teachers’ Learning Experiences: Transforming Their Professional Activity During COVID-19 Pandemic

Līva Goba-Medne, Zanda Rubene
University of Latvia, Latvia

Abstract. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought teachers professional and personal challenges, creating particularly stressful crisis-like conditions for their learning and development. The aim of this qualitative study is to conceptualise teachers’ learning experiences that have accompanied the transformations of their professional activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Narrative interviews of teachers were conducted in Latvia in the spring/summer of 2022. They were coded and analysed according to thematic analysis method. This article entails the results of the first stage of the study.

The study found that teachers’ learning experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic are characterised by the paradigm of transformative learning as overcoming. Thematic structure of the learning experiences was developed and comprises 4 themes (dealing with limitations, seeking support from community, learning on the go, drawing conclusions) as well as 13 subthemes, which describe teachers’ experiences in rich detail, revealing their complexity and variability.

The article offers conclusions on the conceptualisations of teachers’ experiences, discusses support and conditions needed to benefit from the experience and points to the significant role of context, relationships, and dedication for teachers to have beneficial learning experiences accompanying the transformations of their professional activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, learning experiences, teachers’ professional activity, thematic analysis, transformative learning

About the authors

Līva Goba-Medne, Mg. Paed., doctoral candidate, graduate of the doctoral study programme Pedagogy at the University of Latvia. Research interests: teacher professional development from the perspective of transformative learning and activity theory, learning theories, philosophy of education.

Zanda Rubene, Dr. Paed., professor in the philosophy of education at the University of Latvia, vice dean of the Faculty of Pedagogy, Psychology and Art, and head of the Education Sciences doctoral study program. She is the expert in Education Sciences at the Council of Sciences of the Republic of Latvia. Research interests: philosophy of education, digital childhood, transversal competences, and critical thinking. 

To Be or Not to Be a Great Educator, 2022. Proceedings of ATEE Annual Conference
Riga: University of Latvia Press, 2023. 985 p.
EdL. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-36-019-0