COVID19 pandemic has demonstrated that all teachers possess skills of the fourth industrial revolution – digital literacy, adaptability, lifelong learning and effective communication. Traditional classrooms seat at least forty uniform-clad students in rows on facing a blackboard. Classes change every forty minutes, and each class is teacher led with the support of textbooks and notebooks. Schooling now, during the Corona virus pandemic looks nothing like this.
For schools in India, where students and teachers were lucky enough to have access to data and connectivity, schooling transformed in a matter of weeks.
It started with the creation of digital classrooms where teachers and their students came together to communicate with each other. Teachers first taught themselves how to navigate, set up and run such classrooms and then immediately set out to teach students and their parents too. In the first few weeks, this involved reaching out to individual parents and students to understand their unique situations and clear doubts, to ensure that all students could be online and access digital classrooms.
Next, a bigger challenge – how were teachers going to create rich learning experiences for their students while they remained at home? Teachers started by creating asynchronous lessons for their students. These lessons ensured that students could learn at any suitable time and on any available device.
To make learning meaningful and deliver the right content given where learners had left off, teachers searched for the best and most relevant videos on the internet. When those were not the most appropriate, they curated and simplified them, to meet their students’ needs. Many went further and created their own, presentations to share information with students and embedded interactive elements like questions, worksheets and polls to ensure that learners stayed focused and engaged.
Interestingly and unlike before, online assessments and digital platforms are also helping teachers generate new data to understand student learning better. Their data is no longer limited to attendance records. Now, along with attendance, teachers can see what students have completed and what they have struggled with, often in real-time. By tracking such student data, teachers are able to identify student needs such as learning gaps, their interests and engagement and then tailor lessons to meet and resolve those needs and doubts.
Teachers’ unique roles extend beyond teaching academics, to checking on the physical and mental well-being of their students. In the wake of COVID19 teachers have extended themselves to learn, innovate and completely change their approach to teaching. Their determination, ability to adapt and rise to this challenge makes them great examples of success for students who are growing up in a world that is increasingly disrupted and dominated by technology.
Mr Rohan Parikh
The Green Acres Academy