Educational advisers have become "digital guides" during the pandemic

"The accompaniment, support and training related to digital clearly emerge as mandates that have been added to those already existing", we read in the report entitled The function of counselor or educational advisor in Quebec.

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A team from the University of Sherbrooke conducted a study with 155 Quebec pedagogical advisers (PAs) during the fall of 2020. The results, published in May 2021, bear witness to the way in which their role has changed as a result. pandemic, mainly related to digital.

"The accompaniment, support and training related to digital clearly emerge as mandates that have been added to those already existing", we read in the report entitled The function of educational adviser in Quebec. Professors Nancy Granger and Suzanne Guillemette, from the Department of Education and Training Management at the University of Sherbrooke, are co-authoring this report with research assistant Bianca B.-Lamoureux. 

In fact, although the mandate of the PCs already consisted of training, advising and supporting school personnel, many of them had more disciplinary (French, mathematics, etc.) or thematic responsibilities (special education, etc.) that did not did not necessarily relate to the use of digital technology in education.

In the event of a pandemic, training in the use of digital platforms, the implementation of the transition to online education, the establishment and monitoring of distance education activities, the creation of capsules on digital tools, the production of guides and team training are at the heart of their daily lives. In this context, several PNs stated that they simply did not feel comfortable performing the tasks requested.

“I am asked to support teachers in using technological platforms that I do not know enough about. "

Some therefore had to “develop new digital resources and skills over a short period of time to better intervene and support distance education”. In this sense, several respondents underlined that “the support of the CPs themselves within the CSS was provided by the RÉCIT CPs, which already had greater expertise in the use of digital technology”.

Lack of cohesion

Faced with the urgency of deploying digital resources in schools, many CPs have had to “put aspects of their task aside. In doing so, this change of mission caused dissatisfaction and generated stress ”.

They mainly deplore a lack of cohesion and complementarity as regards the roles and functions of each actor within educational institutions, which could have made their work unproductive on occasion. "They come under unfortunate situations linked to the lack of communication between the educational services and the directors, such as training in which no teacher participates because they have failed to notify them", reads the report.

In addition, the lack of computer equipment to support teachers or their colleagues in the development of digital skills has been a challenge for them.

Nonetheless, they recognize that the use of digital technology and collaboration with colleagues have become “leitmotivs that allow people to get out of isolation, to better position themselves in relation to any situation and to find the best ways to respond to them despite the sense of urgency ”.

Other tasks

The research also showed that "the hiring of teachers who are not legally qualified required that the PCs get involved in the support and accompaniment in order to welcome them and make them functional in a teaching context". In addition, some CPs supported other newly appointed CP colleagues in order to facilitate their professional integration. These tasks were initially not their responsibility.

The role of educational advisor

According to repository of competent action in educational counseling, the role of the educational advisor consists of:

1- Advise school staff on educational, pedagogical or didactic practices in the context of problem solving, coaching or advisory role.

2- Train teaching staff and other school staff with regard to educational, pedagogical or didactic objects by explaining in class or by supporting staff within the organization (CSS or school).

3- Support school staff in a context of collaboration or mobilization to better support the improvement of educational, pedagogical or didactic practices.

4- Innovate in education, pedagogy and didactics in the context of research or development.

To these so-called emblematic situations are grafted the three transversal professional requirements which are: ethical action, communication and situational intelligence in order to meet the needs of the community.

To view the full report:
Granger, N., Guillemette, S. and B-Lamoureux, B. (2021). The function of educational adviser in Quebec. Research report. University of Sherbrooke, Canada.

Two days of training on the integration of digital in school counseling are presented by the University of Sherbrooke on September 9 and 10, 2021. For information.

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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