Value creation through peer communities of learners in an Egyptian context during the COVID-19 pandemic

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International & Comparative Education Department

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Malak Zaalouk; Heba EL-Deghaidy; Lamiaa Eid; Lujain Ramadan

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

International review of education. Internationale Zeitschrift fur Erziehungswissenschaft. Revue internationale de pedagogie

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Like most education systems all over the world, Egypt's schools and universities turned to online teaching at the end of March 2020, after face-to-face classes had been brought to a halt by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. While few teachers were prepared for delivering their lessons online and for dealing with the stress and anxiety of the situation, this article showcases a group of teachers who had just acquired collaboration skills in (PCLs), which proved to be an immediate source of support in this time of crisis. The authors present the results of a rapid study they conducted in June 2020 on a sample of 49 teachers from 17 schools in Egypt who had participated in a school-university partnership for reform. This included a continuous professional development (CPD) project which ran from February 2017 to March 2020. Within the project, these teachers had already successfully created PCLs in 43 schools partnering with faculties of education (FOEs) in three large Egyptian universities. The reform partnership, an ERASMUS+ initiative funded by the European Union (EU), was the "School University Partnership for Peer Communities of Learners" (SUP4PCL). By March 2020, the participating teachers had already significantly changed their teaching styles, school culture, identities and attitude towards their profession, and they continued to communicate with their peers in the PCLs they had created during the project. Prompted by the emergency situation of the pandemic and inspired by the work of Etienne Wenger and others on , the authors' study investigates the sustainability, viability and effectiveness of the project PCLs, their relationship to lifelong learning and their value in offering psychosocial support. The article concludes with a consideration of the usefulness of PCLs for reforms to ensure quality learning in crisis situations and more generally.

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