The Classroom vs. The Living Room: Navigating In-Person and Remote PGCE Pathways

By Tom Parry, Director of Operations, Instill Education

Picture two scenarios: a sunny South African morning with you walking into a lively classroom filled with eager students, ready to dive into the day’s lessons. Alternatively, you find yourself comfortably seated in your living room, sipping your morning coffee as you log into a virtual classroom from your laptop. Two different settings, but both leading to the same destination – a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Foundation Phase Teaching at Instill Education.

In the global educational conversation, the debate between in-person and remote learning rages on. A survey conducted by the University of the Potomac discovered that 70% of students believe online classes are superior to traditional classroom settings​​. However, while the remote learning revolution has gathered significant momentum since the pandemic, with 98% of universities moving some classes online​​, the challenge of delivering practical digital teacher education remains significant. We believe that both modalities offer pros and cons, and invite our prospective students to engage with us further to explore the best programme for you. 

As an in-person student at Instill Education, you will experience the unrivalled buzz of campus life, the richness of face-to-face interactions, and the spontaneous learning moments that spring from group discussions and projects. Immediate feedback is the primary advantage of in-person learning, allowing you to adjust, improve, and grow as an educator​​. Added to this are the networking opportunities and exposure to a broad network of organisations and ideas in our Student Life programme. The connections you make on campus, both with fellow students and through our engagements with partners, can serve as an invaluable springboard into the professional world. The hands-on experience, whether through real-time classroom observations or practice teaching, equips you with practical skills that are difficult to replicate in a digital setting.

Compare this to a digital, fully online degree. What you gain in flexibility, you lose in learning face-to-face from your peers.  The in-person support you receive from mentors and faculty members, the tactile learning experiences, and the sense of belonging that comes from being physically present in a community of learners is hard to replicate in an online environment. However, as our students will attest, we try our best to ensure teachers across the country get the support they need to learn, grow and gain the skills needed to thrive in the classroom. 

In a world of 21st Century Skills and the 4th Industrial Revolution, it would be remiss not to mention technology. Some might assume that eLearning is the only path to sharpening your tech skills. However, at Instill Education, our in-person program is also tech-enriched. Whether online or in-person, we are firm believers in integrating technology into our teaching methods, ensuring our students are well-versed in the latest educational tech tools.

Both remote and in-person learning present their own set of advantages. Online flexibility vs in-person support; proximity to our campus vs studying from home; a one-year vs two-year journey to becoming a teacher. There are many things to consider when selecting the modality of your PGCE programme. If finance is your biggest challenge, we have a range of options to support you including traditional student loans, income sharing agreements and bursaries. Reach out through any of our channels to find out how to finance your studies. 

In the end, the decision between in-person and remote learning hinges on your personal circumstances, goals, and of course location. Both paths offer their own unique adventures, challenges, and rewards. It’s about choosing the path that resonates with you the most and will best equip you for the wonderful world of teaching.

Whether you choose the classroom or the living room, Instill Education is here to guide and support you throughout your PGCE studies, and long-after throughout your career as a teacher. Once you are a part of the Instill family, we’ll do everything we can to create a support structure that suits your personal circumstances, and a community help you get to where you want to go.