As a seemingly endless lockdown phase gradually began to unlock, step by step, educational institutions and educators were quick in adapting to the new norms of online learning. In more ways than one, teachers upskilled themselves and transformed their teaching techniques and methodology to make it easier for students to conform to a whole new learning system.
At the outset, the pandemic situation demanded a great deal of adjustment and assimilation from the teaching and learning fraternity as the entire education system experienced a wave of change serving as strongest currents with technology and digital media.
For students, their parents and educators, online classes became the new normal. Turning to the digital model of operations end-to-end was not an easy task for anyone, but it is worth appreciating that teachers went the extra mile to ensure they impart knowledge in the most effective and engaging manner. They are constantly endeavouring to be creative to keep students motivated to learn.
- Technology is now a teacher’s best friend
Being tech savvy was never really a prerequisite for most teaching jobs but with the revolutionary online learning system in place, it has become extremely important. Those who were not well-versed with computers or digital media got into the learning mode to be able to teach effectively. Today teachers are absorbing technology in every way and it is important for them to treat technology as a partner in teaching rather than hindrance.
- Younger the students, greater the effort
To seek more attention of the kindergarten students, teachers have to be more innovative as kids of the age group. Kindergarten has always been a playschool with games, toys, etc. to help the kids learn the basics in a creative and engaging way. With remote learning coming into the picture, teachers had to create fun yet learning videos while taking sessions with the parents present. Virtual learning has also helped build a strong connection between the kids and the teacher as they play games, narrate stories, and engage with the teacher. It is a fun experience for both teachers and the children even though they are meeting virtually which was earlier limited only during school hours.
- Recycling content and redesigning lessons
With online classes, it is certainly difficult for teachers to gauge what and how much the students are learning. To make this less complicated, teachers are recycling content to suit the online model of teaching, designing exercises to ensure students are grasping the material well and defining tasks that reflect the level of the students’ comprehension. They develop interactive exercises to make the process interesting while also ascertaining that these exercises and programs are well aligned with the curriculum and learning objectives.
- Managing students and their parents
Students now attend classes from the confines of their homes and not having a cut off from the family atmosphere is not always the best bet for them. Helicopter parenting rose to new heights. For instance, parents pass comments or prompt answers when the teacher asks questions to their child. Teachers have had to manage students as well as parents who were not used to the entire online learning concept. More often than not, educators have to help parents to allow the child to learn independently and only offer assistance when required.
- Understanding and effectively dealing with students’ emotional disarray
Humans are social creatures by nature and the lack of social interaction has caused a lot of stress and anxiety among students. Not being able to meet friends, talk or play with them has caused havoc with every child’s emotional quotient and teachers have enabled themselves to effectively counsel students while also creating a fun virtual learning atmosphere. They have learnt various techniques to reconstruct the school and classroom environment students have always been accustomed to, in order to help them build the bonds and facilitate interaction with fellow students.
- Training, learning and development
Teachers are constantly required to learn new ways to teach so a successful teacher will be the one who invests in training and development for themselves. An incessant effort has been put into and must be continued to, for this transitional phase, because it is fruitful not just now but even later on for a post-pandemic scenario, to expand the teaching modality.
Substituting the age-old system of classroom learning with a tech reliant framework will be of greater advantage when teachers are well-equipped to use this framework to the maximum advantage of the learning fraternity. Though many teachers have become digital literates during the past year, they must be able to use their digital literacy creatively. Upskilling is a process.
The educational sphere is redefining itself and educators ought to upskill to allow a seamless transformation. The traditional teaching system is now being complemented by technology more than ever and classes over video calls are the new normal. It is but practical to move swiftly towards a digital education structure and consistently learn newer ways to teach. An effective and successful teacher, in the 21st century, is one who is holds the capacity to unlearn and relearn.
Article inputs by Mrs. Damayanti Bhattacharya | Principal of Jasudben ML School & Bloomingdales Pre- Primary
About the Author
Damayanti Bhattacharya is a veteran educator with an experience of over 30 years in the field. A qualified Master of English Literature from Calcutta University, Damayanti Bhattacharya also holds a B. Ed degree, is an AP certified teacher as well as an IGCSE certified teacher for Global Perspectives. She taught briefly in two schools in Gujarat where she lived for a few years, and after that she came to Mumbai to further pursue her goal of imparting holistic education in 1994. In Mumbai, her first stint was with JML School which lasted three years following which she joined The Cathedral & John Connon Middle School and was a part of the reputed institution for 22 years during which she essayed roles of English HOD and then Headmistress. She was also the first in India to introduce an innovation hub to promote practical learning experiences. She strongly believes that children are like clay and teachers are potters. The duty of the potter is to fashion the clay with love and care, to create a strong and most exquisite piece of art. She keeps herself abreast of the ‘National Education Policy’ and the ever-evolving sphere of education via workshops and leadership courses. Her vision is to ignite and nurture the spirit of inquiry in young leaders and she passionately follows the motto that knowledge is adorned by character.
Damayanti Bhattacharya has been bestowed with the Iconic Leadership Award by the Governor for imparting the most advanced knowledge and education to the children without departing from the core Indian values.