Contexts of Extraordinary Parental Involvement in Children’s Education During the First Wave of COVID-19: A Case Study of a Public Elementary School in Poland

Keywords: distance education, parental experiences, COVID-19 pandemic, correspondence learning, communication, pedagogical concepts of learning


Objectives of the research: The purpose of the study was to learn about parents’ experiences of participating in their children’s remote education during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The question posed in this article is about the circumstances under which parents took over tasks previously perceived as a teacher’s job.

Research methods: The participatory, qualitative case study utilized data from the open-ended questions of an electronic survey to which 104 parents (from a public elementary school in a metropolitan area) responded, as well as data from the school’s electronic register. The qualitative analysis employed strategies of constructivist grounded theory.

Brief description of the context of the problem: While national and international studies have shown that parents played a critical role in the challenging and stressful home-based education of their children during the COVID-19 pandemic, no research has explained how parents became this vital link of education. The aim of this article is to fill this gap.

Research findings: The study revealed two interrelated contextual factors that led to parents’ activation in their children’s “schooling from home”: 1) technical/administrative, related to having inadequate tools for distance education and 2) pedagogical/didactic, related to the prevailing concepts of teaching and learning being anchored in the behavioral-transmission paradigm.

Conclusions and/or recommendations: The results apply primarily to the school under study and represent an intrinsic case study. However, it is reasonable to assume that the events, phenomena, and processes identified in the study may serve to explain phenomena in other schools that have organized distance education similarly. The cautious recommendation, aiming to safeguard family resources (thereby protecting equal opportunities for all children to learn) in times of crisis, is to transform the pedagogical underpinnings that shape today’s educational practices from behaviorist to constructivist. However, this requires further research.


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How to Cite
Wiatr, M. (2023). Contexts of Extraordinary Parental Involvement in Children’s Education During the First Wave of COVID-19: A Case Study of a Public Elementary School in Poland. Multidisciplinary Journal of School Education, 12(2 (24), 57-78.