Five ways Aussie parents’ perceptions of schooling have changed since lockdown

A lot has happened since the cooped-up days of at-home learning. The kids are back at school, we’re mostly back at the office, and life is back to somewhat normal (plus or minus a rapid antigen test or two). But will parents ever look at learning the same way again?

aussie parents perceptions of schooling have changed
Cluey Learning Monday, 7 March 2022

Our latest research reveals that children weren’t the only ones learning from home. Thrown into the role of home-learning facilitator, parents were given the opportunity to view their child’s schooling in a way they never have before. Here’s what they discovered.


1. We appreciate teachers more.

We all learnt the hard way that it takes a lot of effort, patience, and creativity for learning to happen—traits that were in short supply during the long months of lockdown.

As Dr Selina Samuels, Cluey’s Chief Learning Officer, observes, “Not only did parents gain a far greater insight into how and what their children learn, they also got to play the teacher themselves. In doing so, they learnt that teaching is a science and an art. At Cluey, we have had many conversations with parents who really struggled to explain (and even to understand) the concepts that their children were learning!”

In fact, 76 percent of Aussie parents surveyed said they appreciate teachers more now than ever before. Gemma from Tasmania said, “It was so difficult to get my child to work at home. Teachers do a phenomenal job.  I think I give them more credit now.” Melody N from NSW agreed, saying, “I was always impressed by teachers, but am even more impressed with the great job they do.”

At the peak of the pandemic, more than 1.5 billion children across 190 countries were stuck at home. Teachers went to great lengths to help keep their students learning, and, if parents didn’t appreciate their efforts before, they certainly do now.


2. Not all teachers can teach all children.

While it’s true that parents certainly value teachers and the work they do more, 83% of parents surveyed also believe that some teachers are just not equipped to cater to children with specific learning needs.

They’re not wrong. According to the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) around three quarters of Australian teachers were trained to teach in mixed-ability settings, but less than half of them feel confident enough in their training to do so.  

But it’s not just the kids with special learning needs that may suffer. While watching some of her child’s online classes, Janine from Victoria discovered that her son—and other shy kids like him—don’t get the specific attention they need either. “I got to see for myself how much my son is struggling, and I also got to see one thing, which really concerned me. That is, I watched as the teachers consistently answered, spoke, asked questions, to the same group of kids every single lesson. Those kids that are shy, or not as confident, like my son, slipped under the radar!  These kids that get ALL the attention, don’t need it!  It’s the quiet ones that are in desperate need of help,” she said.


3. Some children need more help

One of the benefits of online learning was that parents were able to witness their child’s learning (or lack thereof) in action. For parents of kids who found online learning a challenge, many now feel concerned that their struggles mirror what is happening in the classroom.

Melissa G from Queensland is one such parent. “I perceived a lack of proper supervision and also lack of enough educators to fully engage the whole class and help the ones struggling to be able to be at the same speed as most of the class. My son didn’t seem to grasp the home learning and it made me think, what’s going on in the schools?” she said

A resounding 96% of parents surveyed believe that some children need more individual and personalised attention from their teachers to thrive at school.

Dr Samuels says, “A classroom of 25 students will contain some children who pick up new concepts quickly and those who need more time to understand, some who are shy, others who are confident and outgoing. And that’s before you factor in those who may have ADHD or dyslexia and require specific support. And yet the timetable specifies an hour for Maths, and hour for English, so that’s what you’ve got to work with. Teachers are also managing behaviour and a raft of administrative tasks; they don’t have time to adapt their teaching for each student. That’s why organisations like Cluey exist, to provide all students with a tailored learning experience that gives each one the attention and support they need.”


4. A lot of what kids learn at school is unnecessary

ACARA (The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority) consults with leading educators, experts and advisors to determine the content that Aussie kids need to learn at school. They write The Australian Curriculum based on this information and trial it with more than 2,500 teachers across Australia. It’s then approved by education ministers and rolled out across the country.

Despite this, after witnessing their child’s learning firsthand, nearly 70% of parents now believe that some of what our kids learn is non-essential. “You become more aware of the curriculum and realise we’re teaching kids about dinosaurs instead of life skills,” Michael D from Victoria said.

Dr Samuels notes, “One thing that our annual NAPLAN results tell us is that we cannot afford to compromise the teaching of the core numeracy and literacy skills.”

Some parents think that school could be more efficient. Isabella D from NSW said, “It seems that the work they do at school can be done in a matter of hours”, while Anita Z from NSW simply believes, “School is a waste of time”.


5. Technology can be used effectively for learning.

Even before the pandemic, education technology was on the rise, with the overall market projected to reach $350 billion by 2025. During the pandemic there’s no doubt technology became a lifeline for both kids and teachers. In fact, 91% of Aussie parents agree that technology can be used effectively for learning. 

Nowadays, most kids have access to the internet for schoolwork. Our research shows that a whopping 96% of children can log on from home, either with their own device, or on a shared family one. 

As Dr Samuels says, “At Cluey, our aim is to make access to online learning as easy and relevant to each student as possible. They can support their education without disrupting school or family life.”

With research suggesting that online learning increases retention of information and efficiency of learning, it’s looking likely that online learning will become an integral component of education for all students in the future.

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