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Lessons of the COVID-19 schools lockdown for teacher education

The TEPE annual conference 2021 showed that long-term lessons can and must be drawn from the emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis for the development of the social and moral framework of teacher education programmes in Europe.

Careful reflection on experiences during the school lockdown can strengthen awareness regarding the delicate position of education in society and the tension between the public value of education and dominant political and economic perspectives on education. It can also strengthen awareness that an increased focus on technology in education can not only create opportunities and but also obstacles for different groups of learners. This is especially related to the fact that the purpose of education is not only restricted to the acquisition of knowledge and skills (learning to know and learning to be), but also needs to include learning to be and learning to live together.

The school lockdown also showed the importance of the agency of (student) teachers to adapt to changing circumstances and to be able to design blended learning environments that support these learning aims by combining the strength of both off-line and on-line opportunities.

These lessons need to be reflected within teacher education programmes to support (student) teachers in their crucial role in providing optimal learning opportunities for all.

As a result of the TEPE conference 2021, these lessons have been translated to a set of recommendations for teacher educators and teacher education institutions, to teachers and schools, to education decision makers, to teacher education researchers and to teacher education policy makers. These recommendations – together with a short summary of the outcomes of the TEPE conference 2021 – can be found at the website of the Teacher Education Policy in Europe Network.