Qué Dicen Lasos Niñas/os? (What Do Children Say?): Children’s Perspectives on Pandemic-related Remote Learning & Going Back To School


Inmaculada García-Sánchez and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana




310-773-6070 (Inma) 310-483-5473 (Marjorie)




Associate Professor (Inma) and Professor (Marjorie)



Elena Pérez, Co-Investigator


This qualitative research study examines how children been thinking/feeling about school and learning during the pandemic, and how they experience the transition from remote- to in-person classroom learning. Through an analysis of video and/or audio-taped discussions about pandemic learning, and by gathering children's writing and drawings, we will explore children’s perspectives and feelings about the pandemic, learning remotely from home, and going back to school. Discussions that take place on Zoom will be audiotaped (no video). In class learning will be videotaped by the teacher.


This will be strictly a classroom research project that capitalizes on activities and discussions that the classroom teacher (Dra. Pérez, who is co-investigator on the project) is already doing and having with her students about these topics. No additional activities will be done for the research. The teacher will share the weekly plan/schedule with the two co PIs. At least one of the two co-PIs will be present engaging in virtual participant observation and taking field notes while these activities are taking place according to the regular weekly schedule that the class would normally follow. The main methods of data collection will be:

(1) Participant Observation (via Zoom) and Video/Audio recording of naturally occurring classroom activities and discussions related to these topics.
(2) Collection of children’s classroom work related to these topics, namely art, drawings, and short pieces of writing.


The debate about whether to re-open schools and when to do so has intensified in the last few weeks. Child development experts and pediatricians often cite psycho-social developmental reasons, including the need to provide children with a structure that would provide a sense of “normalcy,” as one of the most pressing reasons for having children return to classrooms as soon as possible, especially for younger children. And over the next few months we will see more and more children returning to classrooms all over the US. Yet, as teachers prepare to welcome children back to school, one important perspective is missing: that of the children themselves. We know very little of how children have been making sense of the pandemic and the disruptions to their friendships and to their social and educational lives, since most of the research done on how families are coping with pandemic-related disruptions have been conducted from the perspectives of adults. We want to understand how children have experienced learning at home during the pandemic (both the remote learning organized by school and other), how they feel about the return to school, and how they experience the transition.


This study is urgent and timely as it aims to capture children’s perspectives as they are starting to think about going back to school after many months of learning remotely at home, as well as capturing the transition period itself and how children are processing it.

Findings will help teachers and schools better prepare to meet children’s emotional, psychosocial, and learning needs once school reopen after more than a year of remote teaching and learning. Findings will also complement and enrich findings of a previous study conducted by one of the PIs on adults’ perspectives on these topics.


We will disseminate the findings in multiple ways, including:
(1) in presentations to the school
(2) public blogs, akin to those the PI has written on a related study of how families in the U.S. are experiencing the pandemic:
(3) in academic presentations and papers




Students in Ms. Pérez' class will be invited to participate.


This will be strictly a classroom research project that capitalizes on activities and discussions that teachers are already doing and having with their students about these topics. The teachers will not be asked to do any special/additional activities for the sake of the project. Data will be collected via

(1) Participant Observation and Video/Audio recordings of naturally occurring classroom activities and discussions related to these topics. During Zoom classes, the teacher will record discussion on audiotape (no video). For in-person learning, the teacher will videotape classroom discussions. Discussions and activities will focus on children's feelings about remote learning during the pandemic, the return to classrooms, wearing of masks, social distancing, and the pandemic in general. We will also ask about what children learned during their time at home under the pandemic.

(2) Collection of children’s classroom work related to these topics, namely art, drawings, and short pieces of writing about the topics listed in (1). The teacher will gather these.

We request permission to gather data as soon as possible. We also request permission to use the teacher-researcher's existing in-classroom documentation as data.


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As ethnographers, we use naturalistic, open-ended methods to understand the perspectives of our participants on the topics of interest. We will work closely with Dra. Pérez to support her ongoing classroom work and will bring our observation and discourse analytic skills to examining naturally-occurring interactions and students' representations in art and writing.


We have submitted to UCLA's IRB. Once approved, we will follow established protocol to secure parental permission for this project.


We do not anticipate any risks to this project, beyond possible discomfort some children may feel when talking about the pandemic. Children will be assured they can choose not to talk (or write/draw) about anything, and the teacher (and researchers) will be alert to children's feelings (which likely stem from their experiences in the pandemic, not from talking about it per se).


We will work with Dra. Pérez (co-investigator in the study) to debrief with the families.


Participants will choose their own pseudonyms, and all identifying information will be removed from children's writing and drawings. In any presentations of video data to public audiences we will use video filters to obscure faces. All data will be secured on password-protected computers and/or in a locked office on campus. We have specified these assurances in our IRB protocol.



We are working closely with Dra. Pérez on this project; she is Co-Investigator. Dra. Pérez is the only Lab School personnel involved in this project. (We are open to participation by other classes, however, should teachers express interest.)


As above.


As above.


language and literacy, art












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