Ah! Within a blink of an eye, schools were shut down!
So what! our superheroes took the charge to bring school home. Yes, They did! They toiled day and night to explore the best online platforms to help them plan, create content, and deliver it to their students.
ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY PUSHED THEMSELVES INTO A NEW TECH SAVVY DOMAIN.
Undoubtedly, the Covid-19 pandemic has deeply influenced our way of working, thinking, and most importantly the way of teaching and learning!
Gradually, many countries of the world have shifted from Remote learning to Blended mode. Some countries, like India, are still moving with 100% online mode of teaching and learning. In both cases, educators are facing deep challenges on how to adapt their teaching to get the best student outcome!
HENCEFORTH, THE WORLD OF EDUCATION HAS TURNED OUT TO BE THE MOST CHAOTIC INDUSTRY!
Despite of the HERCULEAN EFFORTS from teachers, students are somehow losing their interest and faith in the education system. Most importantly, Students are losing an emotional connection with their peers and teachers. Administrators, teachers, and parents are pondering along the same lines and questioning each other, “How to bring back student’s emotions and develop a passion for studies”?
Yes! I am an educator and a parent. I can experience the following impact of LOCKDOWN and COVID-19 on the attitudes of students and teachers.
WE ARE USING INTERACTIVE BOARDS IN A NON-INTERACTIVE CLASS ENVIRONMENT!
Educators are overstressed with blended teaching. Sadly, we have shifted back to the traditional lecturing method keeping students in SOCIALLY DISTANCED ROWS. We are using INTERACTIVE TECH BOARDS, BUT WHERE IS THE STUDENT’S INTERACTION? Are they still the center of the teaching-learning process? Students are sitting far from each other leaving NO SCOPE FOR ANY GROUP WORK! Teachers feel helpless as students are losing interest due to a lack of communication and peer participation! We educators have gained pedagogical experience in using diverse and flexible teaching methods, but are we able to implement those strategies effectively in the COVID TEACHING TIMES? ARE WE STILL KEEPING UP WITH OUR CLASSROOM DYNAMICS? If not, aren’t we pushing our children backward in terms of the development of life long concepts?
DECLINE IN THE CURIOSITY AND INQUIRY APPROACH!
Kids are ‘inquirers’ by nature and they learn better when we provide opportunities to stimulate their curiosity. As of 21st century educators, we also believe in developing scientific inquiry skills among students by performing hands-on laboratory investigations. However, with the onset of COVID, practical lessons have been minimized at all the education levels. How are we going to keep up the spirit of curiosity alive without giving them the experience of actual labs, chemicals, and equipment? ARE VIRTUAL LABS, SIMULATIONS AND ANIMATIONS ENOUGH TO DEVELOP THE INVESTIGATIVE SKILLS LIKE THE REAL LABS?
I was shocked to hear from my daughter who is a first-year medical student that she couldn’t do well in the online practical exam as they were not trained enough to perform virtual detection of samples. So, I do wonder, “How are medical college students going to grasp concepts this year without being able to work on live specimens?”
‘ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY’
Students at home are required to attend 7-8 hours of online lessons and then the daily assignment continues. They stay glued to their electronic devices which is going to affect their eyesight, body posture, and weight in due course. Consequently, less physical activity and movement adversely affect kids’ health. Closure of community and school play areas and sports facilities have added fuel to the fire. In the past kids were spending their leisure time in the common play areas developing social skills along with fitness and stamina. Whereas nowadays, after the long screen time with studies, they have no choice then entertaining themselves using tech gadgets. IF THIS CONTINUES FOR LONG, OVERALL HEALTH WILL BE DEEPLY AFFECTED DUE TO THE LOCKDOWN GENERATED LIFESTYLE! Paradoxically, children might not be directly infected by COVID but they will be infested by a long-term physical fragility!
SOCIALLY DISTANCED WAY OF STUDENT LIFE IS THE NEW NORMAL!
Remote learning approaches can be very solitary and monotonous when you’re just asking students to sit and quietly watch videos, read documents online, or click-through presentations—that’s very dull. This approach will push the low achievers more backward in terms of conceptual understanding.
Even at school, children are been instructed to stay socially away from their friends. They are losing the warmth of human touch which is much needed when they feel isolated and depressed. In the past few months, we have seen a change in their general attitude in the classroom. MANY A TIMES, I HAD A FEELING OF BEING THAT OLD SCHOOL TEACHER WHO KEEPS BLABBERING WITHOUT STUDENTS PARTICIPATION! Due to the ‘no movement’ policy for students, many strategies are not being utilized such as role-play, peer teaching, and all kinds of collaborative activities. Aren’t we breeding a generation of passive learners who have locked their smiles and expressions behind their masks?
THE WORST HIT SECTION!
The disruptions in teaching affect people across communities, but their impact is more severe for disadvantaged children and their families due to interrupted learning and lack of nutrition.
The closure of schools has serious implications on the daily nutrition of students as the mid-day meal schemes has temporarily been shut.
As many students have limited or no internet access and many parents may not be able to afford tech devices to their kids, online teaching-learning may create a big digital gap among students. According to reports, the lockdown has hit the poor students very hard in countries like, India and Africa as most of them are unable to explore online learning. Consequently, in these developing countries, millions of children shall be pushed to CHILD LABOUR as reported by UNICEF. This means that in the coming years, many parents might compel their kids to drop out to help support the family financially. Isn’t it scary for the communities to even imagine that their unprivileged sections shall be pushed backward both socially and economically?
(Finally! I found the right opportunity to talk about the teaching fraternity)
With lockdown all over the globe, schools got closed unexpectedly. Hence, teachers were expected to become ED-TECH EXPERTS in no time! They were asked to explore and expertise the domains never seen before. They had to accept the challenge which kept them engaged all this time working from home with online classes. Now, with the new blended way, their work has doubled as they need to tailor their lessons to the needs of both the groups-students on campus and students at home. In this case, salary cuts have been a big slap on their faces! They need to find alternative sources of income such as online tutoring or any other business in their free time. IN SUCH A SCENARIO, WILL THEY BE ABLE TO WORK WITH SAME PASSION LIKE BEFORE? Will they be able to fulfill the expectations of this noble profession and make connections with their students like before?
I keep searching answers to these questions! What is your opinion about it?
How will the education sector deal to overcome these challenges?
How will children be able to interact emotionally and learn with passion?
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