Teaching Practice Online: Challenges in Japan, India and Kenya Under Pandemic

Author: Per-Olof Hansson, Linköping University, Sweden
Email: per-olof.hansson@liu.se
Published: April 2, 2021

Citation: Hansson, P.-O. (2021). Teaching Practice Online: Challenges in Japan, India and Kenya Under Pandemic, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.9.2.05


The coronavirus pandemic affected the whole world in 2020, with high pressure on the health sector, many deaths, reduced business activity, rising unemployment rates, travel restrictions and social distancing. These developments have had severe consequences for all areas of every society around the globe. This also includes education. In many countries, primary and secondary pupils and university students alike were sent home as schools and universities closed abruptly as part of efforts to control the spread of the virus. As teaching moved online, learners and teachers were unprepared for the new situation, which posed a unique set of challenges. In this context, trainee teachers at a Swedish university were encouraged to support online teaching at schools in Japan, India and Kenya. The purpose of the digital internship was threefold: to continue the trainees’ teaching placements in the absence of opportunities for in-class teaching; to provide an opportunity for trainee teachers to develop their own competence in online teaching; and to assist the foreign schools in the challenging task of delivering online classes. This article aims to investigate the challenges faced by pupils in Japanese, Indian and Kenyan schools and by 27 Swedish trainee teachers during this project. Data collection consisted of interviews, an online questionnaire, lesson observations, assessment forms, and reports given by trainees. The main challenges identified through our findings included internet access in host countries, the use of a teacher-centred approach to learning, and difficulty for trainees to relate to the pupils’ life conditions. However, we conclude that the trainee teachers increased their global awareness through a climate-friendly alternative to the traditional teaching placement abroad.


COVID-19, challenges, lockdown, online teaching, trainee teachers