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Research project to give voice to remote education tutors

One of Australia’s most unrecognised workforce and arguably undervalued groups of people will be the focus of a new project being led by University of Southern Queensland education researchers Dr Karen Peel, Dr Brad McLennan, and Professor Patrick Danaher.

The team will next week (week of Nov 16) travel to Central Queensland to meet with remote education tutors – parent tutors, home tutors and govies – to launch a nationwide survey that plans to capture the experiences and perceptions of those who share, with the distance education teacher, the responsibility for the schooling of children learning in a remote setting. 

“Because of our geographical situation in Australia we are in a unique circumstance when it comes to the provision of distance education schooling,” Dr Peel said.

“Despite this however, there is an incredibly limited amount of research literature that covers the topic or has explored what it means to be a remote education tutor.

“All children in Australian schools of distance education are required to have adult supervision during their school day, and as many parents found out during COVID-19 lockdowns, even when supplied with resources from your child’s school, supporting the learning of those resources can be an incredibly tough job.”

Dr Peel said the main purpose of the research is to raise the profile and identity of remote education tutors, by acknowledging who represents the sector and how the role impacts on personal lifestyles and professional work.

“We really want to get a solid grasp on the issues that confront remote families and educators and then work on exploring how to better support the people in those roles. Eventually we plan to look at developing a credentialing system for remote education tutors to really validate the role they play in ensuring quality education regardless of location,” Dr Peel said.

“Our USQ research team is complemented with the inclusion of Lizzie Burnett, who is a remote education tutor, based in central Queensland. As such, Lizzie has an intrinsic understanding and lived experience in this space, which is a great addition to our overall research platform.”

The national survey can be accessed here and will be officially launched at the two mini-school events organised by the Capricornia School of Distance Education, one in Emerald on Monday November 16 and one in Rockhampton on Wednesday November 18.

Media are welcome to attend with prior arrangement with the USQ Media Team.

Mini school is held once a term through schools of distance education networks, where remote education tutors and remote students come together connect and discuss the curriculum.

Child and adult sitting at a desk
Credit (USQ Photography)