David Marshall is in his fifth year of being an assistant professor of educational research in the College of Education at Auburn University.
When the pandemic began, Marshall was quick to question what kind of an impact COVID-19 would have on teachers. Two years later, Marshall is a contributor to the recently released book, "COVID-19 and the Classroom: How Schools Navigated the Great Disruption."
Marshall noted a key relevance to the book stems back to when he was working on his Ph.D. at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. He worked with a program called the Richmond Teacher Residency, where he assisted in preparing teachers for working in the city of Richmond by giving them the tools to succeed, subsequently keeping them in the classroom longer.
Marshall remembers the speculation right before spring break of 2020 of schools possibly closing. When the day came that schools closed in-person instruction in Virginia, many teachers took to Facebook to voice their concerns on what to do next.
“That was the moment where it kind of hit me, that someone needs to capture what this time is like, and maybe it’s me,” Marshall said.
Between his role in the program, currently being an assistant professor, formerly being a middle and high school social studies teacher, and having friends who are teachers, Marshall had a vested interest in this topic.
In March and April of 2020, Marshall began his research by surveying K-12 education teachers about their experience transitioning to all remote instruction.
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“That was certainly the greatest experiment in virtual teaching and learning that has ever taken place,” Marshall said. “We were asking teachers to do something for which they were not prepared, and we were asking students to learn in ways that they weren’t accustomed to learning either.”
After the first study was conducted, Marshall did two more rounds of surveys with teachers. His research also included interviewing charter school leaders from all over the country, analyzing the pivot a teacher preparation program in Arkansas took toward remote instruction and reviewing each state's school reopening plans from the summer of 2020.
By the end of 2020, Marshall felt he had enough information to write his own book. However, after conducting all of this research and speaking with some of his mentors, he realized there was more to the story than what he originally discovered.
“I started realizing there were all these other people that I knew that were filling in some of the blanks with the work I did, and the work that they were doing would really compliment this,” Marshall said. “So, instead of just having a book that was just about my work, it ended up getting expanded to be much bigger, and I think much better because we brought in some of the great work that other folks around the country were doing.”
"COVID-19 and the Classroom: How Schools Navigated the Great Disruption" consists of an introduction and fourteen chapters. Marshall wrote the introduction and co-authored five of the chapters.
The goal of the book, Marshall said, is two-fold. The first goal is to share social science research around the impact of COVID-19 on K-12 schools. The second goal for Marshall was the intention for the book to be a history book that would capture what this moment of time was like for schools.
The book was released on Feb. 15 after a month's delay due to another COVID outbreak.
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