Online education has never been so popular among working professionals and students as it is now. The credit for its popularity goes to its’ flexibility of place and time. Successful institutions are those which adapt to changing times, as well as to the expectations of students, parents and the society. From all trends, online education is here to stay, what then are the implications for education? What will be the device and mode preferences of learners and educators? Will the process of teaching-learning be enjoyable and fruitful? Would educators be able to cater to emotional needs of students?
Virtual versus Face to Face Teaching
Online courses call for a greater motivation and self-discipline than a classroom-based course. A classroom has one or more instructors and peers, who can hold a student accountable for their course-work. In contrast, online courses involve setting own goals, tracking progress and meeting deadlines.
A school provides structure and support for teaching. Traditional classroom education has the benefit of face-to-face interactions with learners and a proven environment for social development, developing empathy, cooperation, caring and sharing especially during early developmental years. Unlike a virtual class, it gives lot of space for spontaneity. However, as students move to higher grades, they seek more autonomy and freedom in learning which is catered by virtual setup. It proves to be really beneficial when combined with hands-on activities, exercises, online assessments and practical exploration.
On this Teacher’s Day, my heart goes out to the most important pillar of education: The Teacher. One cannot deny that teachers have enthusiastically adopted new teaching pedagogy. Their chalk and board lectures are now presentations, their class rooms are now online sessions, their ‘Keep quiet’ is now “Turn on mute mode”, their ‘Can you hear me?’ is “Am I audible to you?” They deserve a standing ovation for bringing about these changes so rapidly and adjusting to the new normal.
Challenges of Online Teaching
With education being affected worldwide by Covid, teachers are forced to teach from home. A survey among more than 100 teachers teaching in secondary section reveals that, for conducting a single online lecture, two to three hours of preparation is required. Teachers conduct lectures along with household duties call up students and counsel them. While teaching, they are under scrutiny and pressure of performance. They are always worried about the attendance of their class. They try to engage and activate student learning during online classes. Not all the teachers possess facilities for conducting online sessions like a laptop, headphones, proper bandwidth etc., they have left no stone unturned for imparting joyful sessions to the learners.
Teachers constantly struggle to meet the expectations of the school administrators, parents and the learners. It is challenging to make their sessions interesting and interactive. For this, they have learnt necessary technical skills like using computer, mobile phone applications, Google documents, forms, word, PowerPoint, etc. Teachers have proved that learning is not limited to any age and with the right attitude and determination one can learn and implement any skill. If we start thinking differently and be open to innovation in this new world, no matter what shifts come up we will win the game.
Health workers may be warriors during this pandemic, but teachers who are keeping the learning going and nurturing our future generation are no less. I salute them on this auspicious day.
Dr Geeta Bhambhani
K G Dholakiya School