New challenges are emerging as thousands of students adapt to new ways of learning.

Research Reveal, Victoria University’s podcast, hosted by Dr Marc C-Scott is back today, and features VU’s Dr Fiona MacDonald on a subject the entire country, if not the world, is focusing on — COVID-19.

In this fifth episode, entitled, COVID-19 – widening the gap through the disruption to young people’s learning, Fiona explores how the global pandemic has challenged us to develop a far greater understanding of the role schools play in the lives of younger Australians and their families.

With remote learning now impacting many thousands more students, inequality of resourcing has emerged. “This is a really interesting time for primary schools, and there’s been a lot in the media about the digital divide and access to technology. But the other challenge is the idea of nurture and care, and what do they do next to engage students in the absence of face-to-face environments,” says Fiona.

A Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities (ISILC), Fiona’s research sits within the Sociology of Education discipline and her interests include inclusive education, middle childhood, social justice, and disengagement.

Fiona’s experience researching mainstream and alternative schools, and her focus on the juncture of education and wellbeing for children and young people, makes her uniquely suited to share these insights. “Sometimes we forget, but just like adults, children and young people do want to feel cared for, they do want to feel welcomed.”

Listen to episode 5 of Research Reveal.

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