A new Erasmus Plus project, I TeachWell (2021-1-FR01-KA220-SCH-000032680), started in December 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic twisted and accelerated the digital transformation process that schools were already called to embrace before its outbreak. Its speed of transformation however left no time and limited possibility for a meaningful preparation or adequate risk assessment.
School education can be arguably described as one of the sectors that is struggling the most, with increasing levels of technostress and high risks of burnout among teachers observed worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic served as an amplifier to this negative tendency and emphasised the need of identifying concrete measures to secure the combination of teachers’ wellbeing and the effective online teaching.
The urgency to find effective solutions to alleviate teachers’ technostress and the conviction that knowledge exchange at EU level on such a complex phenomenon is strongly needed, led to ITteachWell: a transnational initiative, investigating teachers’ specific needs and struggles connected to technostress in Italy, Bulgaria, Spain and Latvia (countries with high and similar rate of teachers’ technostress reported already before the pandemic), and aiming at developing truly supportive tools designed with and for the teachers, created to be easily transferred in other European contexts.
Teachers are now faced with the need to make a fast and continuous transition from traditional to online teaching without prior preparation, but addressing the relation between teaching style and ICT use is not straightforward and needs a holistic approach aiming at adapting the teachers’ mindset to allow both more effective teaching and personal wellbeing. On the one hand, teachers need to radically change their way of teaching and find new ways to engage with their students, to keep their attention and to understand their needs. On the other hand, teachers’ self-perception, role and confidence are threatened, due to the new environment and the lost personal connection with their students.
ITeachWell will address these challenges by defining the main differences between traditional and online teaching from a pedagogical and psychological perspective and, based on it, providing an intuitive online solution for teachers. It will consist of psychological support on how to cope with technostress and pedagogical guidance on how to adjust the teaching style from standard environment to online. Additionally, as peer aid has proven its effectiveness, it will be facilitated, allowing focused support or sharing experience and best practices. ITeachWell is a very timely and relevant project in light of the Digital Education Action Plan, especially components of digital readiness, and in light of the urgent objective to empower teachers while defining, building and improving digital competencies in education.
Silvia Faggioli email@example.com (European Projects ADi)