Let us all bid goodbye to the year 2021 and welcome the new year 2022.
A year that the world would have preferred that it had it never come. A year the memories of which most people would love to "Delete" from their lives.
With all the turmoil"s the year 2022 has ultimately passed. Most of us will agree this was one long year. Very few have fond memories.
There was not one segment that did not get adversely affected.
The elite and the commoner, everyone was equally affected due to the Covid Pandemic. Still, the year 2021, has been a year that taught a thousand lessons to mankind.
Education was one of the worst-hit and it saw the closure of two academic sessions, right from the preprimary to entire schooling, colleges, coaching institutes, etc.
The whole world saw a change in the mindset of every individual connected with education. Be it the promoters, the teachers, the parents, the students, etc. The Ministry of Education had to make out-of-the-box decisions, like reducing the course content, postponing and rescheduling the exams, re-organizing the syllabus, etc. And who could have thought, students would jump classes without appearing for exams?
It is said, "difficult times always bring along unexplored opportunities" The education segment was no exception.
The new norms of teaching - The concern of the parents and the students due to loss of learning time, we all saw the advent of a new mode of teaching i.e. through online or virtual classes.
The shift to Virtual from physical classes was easier said than done. Right from the inception of the thought itself, it had several demands to be fulfilled. All concerned now had to step into a new virtual world of technology. We will discuss below the demanding situation this online teaching and learning presented and how one and all involved emerged winners.
Demands of Online Teaching
a. From Teachers - We in India have dedicated teachers. Despite living with hi-tech gadgets of communication, 90% of the teachers in India are not comfortable with computers. Thus, they were all in a real fix. They had only two choices, either learn the use of the technology or be out of the teaching profession. Moreover, they were used only to teaching in a classroom full of students and talking to the camera was absolutely a new space that they had to adjust to. Preparing PPTs and flashcards for easy understanding of the kids was never easy. The teachers had to make sure that the students were learning effectively and also maintaining discipline in their virtual classroom. As the children particularly those in the Preprimary and Primary school have a very low attention span, keeping them glued to the video screen for 40 minutes demanded a different level of skill and teaching acumen. As if this was not enough, they were constantly under the scanner as the parents kept a constant watch for all 40 minutes of the session time, and many of them were overly critical. And believe me, all this was not easy. All the teachers deserve kudos for their effort. They not only overcome these challenges, but they also became experts in online teaching.
b. From The Promoters - They were forced to create an infrastructure to meet the requirements of delivering high quality and uninterrupted learning lessons to the students. Creating Material suitable for online teaching was another challenge that had to be overcome. Preparing Apps for effective communication with parents and students to facilitate sending relevant notifications, assigning homework or receiving completed tasks from the students was a challenge of another level. They also had to train their teachers for online teaching. And see what, most of the teaching organizations did successfully re-create the syllabus to meet the specifications of the online teaching process. Hats off to them for ensuring continuity in the academics of the children.
c. From Students - Our students like their teachers were only used to a physical class, but the virtual classes lacked that ambience, and we all know the presence of peers & the teacher creates an atmosphere for better learning. Moreover, very few parents could give access to a laptop to their kids. Over 90% of the students attended their classes on a Smartphone. The small screen interfered with the learning process. The kids of this generation being smart enough could easily manoeuvre the screen to their convenience. But most of them learned to study on and from whatever options they got. We all must appreciate our children for their efforts.
d. From Parents - Let us not forget the Parents. Many had to invest in Smartphone"s and deal with the locked-in kids and their tantrums. Maintain the right balance of screen time. The mommies had to now do a double shift. Do their household work and also sit with the kids during the online sessions of the school. Being very poor in understanding the technology they had a hard time handling the apps of the schools. Downloading the homework and uploading the completed work, making the kids appear for online exams, preparing their kids for virtual activities and many more things, were absolutely an alien world for the Indian mothers. But everyone is proud of these typical housewives and mothers who are now absolute experts at using these hi-tech apps.
After initial hiccups, virtual classes have finally got acceptance. Although no one would deny the importance of a physical classroom.
Several schools adapted very smartly to the change. Mastermind School in Bicholi, proved to be a pioneer. Even in the changed scenario, they provided the best quality education to their students. They trained their teachers to handle the technology well and re-created study material best suited to the virtual demands. Surprisingly they did not miss out on the celebrations of festivals and important days. They proved, they were way ahead of many schools that are still mulling over the situation and were at our loss as to how to come out of it.
So, to conclude although the years of the pandemic were tough it did take us into a new unexplored territory of virtual teaching and learning. Now we all know a student can reach out to the best teacher across the globe, with no geographic limitation. Education can now virtually reach the remotest corner of the world. In a way, we should be thankful for the adverse situation as it pushed us into exploring new possibilities in the education world.
With the situation improving hopefully the schools would be opening soon. The normal physical classes would begin again. All activities in the learning world would soon be back to normal.
Mastermind School wishes the year 2022 to be a great year of learning for students across the world.