Jaume Guerra, director of the Degree in Physiotherapy at the Escola Universitària de la Salut i l’Esport, Terres de l’Ebre campus, can give a very precise assessment of how virtual teaching is working at the university centre after a month and a half of lockdown due to the State of Alarm declared following the outbreak of Covid-19. Graduated in Physiotherapy at EUSES, Jaume Guerra himself is a member of the Catalan-Balearic Society of Physiotherapy and of the Col-legi de Fisioterapeutes de Catalunya. He also has a Master’s in Return to play to Physical Activity and Sports Competition from the Fundació UDG. Jaume Guerra has experience as a physiotherapist in the CAR Blume, the Xarxa Sanitària de Santa Tecla and the Tecnon Medical Center.
How are the online classes working?
The classes are working correctly. In this new situation it is very important to accompany the students conveying to them tranquility and encouragement via direct communication. Either in classes or tutorials, we have had very positive feedback on this direct although virtual contact. At EUSES we are in a process of mutual growth, adapting in a very positive way to these new changes and taking advantage of new opportunities such as virtual teaching. What’s more we have had great participation by the students.
Has the fast learning curve been complicated for the teaching staff?
It is a different situation that had not been presented to us until now and it has meant that the entire faculty has learned to generate their own content in order to adapt the syllabus and once again provide positive incentives to their students. This process of reinventing oneself and knowing what ways to encourage learning in this difficult situation only confirms the commitment of the teaching staff, not only to their students, but also to the entire faculty. I have always said that attention is not asked for but earned, and the teachers are successfully achieving this through participation and the activity of the students adapting to this new reality. We must remember that a very high percentage of the faculty, apart from being teachers, are health professionals. People who are on the front line and, despite this, their commitment to follow up on the teaching in their classes and also to their tutorials, whether it’s resolving doubts in groups or individually, is to be comended. The objective is to guarantee a good learning process and I believe this is being achieved successfully by adapting to the needs of the students at all times.
What are the students’ feelings?
We are very happy with their involvement, willingness and participation. Just like the teachers, this is a challenge and they are adapting to this unexpected situation by demanding more of themselves and getting used to change very quickly with great success. It is important to know that within the Physiotherapy Degree there are a lot of practical elements and virtual classes and tutorials are playing a fundamental and beneficial role to learn and follow in a more autonomous way thanks to their involvement.
How has your day-to-day life changed as director of the Degree?
Apart from being the director, I am also one of the teachers in the degree and the situation is so new that it has required and requires ingenuity to address diversity, to encourage cooperation and to invent new strategies for learning and examination not previously experienced. If before all this process the involvement was already good, now it is even more so. The constant daily and weekly meetings with management, teachers, with the delegates of each class and even general meetings with all the students has only proved that I am living in a situation that constantly requires me to ask more of myself in a very positive way and I am learning from these new opportunities.
What advice would you currently give to the students of the degree?
That in the face of these unexpected situations they should try to make the most of the opportunities that may arise. This new system of learning and this situation has to become a challenge for them and they should be aware that this will make them come out of their comfort zone, growing even more as future physiotherapists.