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‘Capacity building in educators for online teaching’

By Sharmila Raheja,

As education appears to stay online for the foreseeable future, teachers need better strategies to engage.

Teachers can diversify their online teaching strategies, writes Principal Sharmila Raheja.

As we step in the second year of online teaching, it is time for the educators to reflect on the academic year gone by. The academic fraternity responded to the sudden closure of schools with ingenuity and alacrity. While many were familiar with video and PowerPoint lessons , technology in teaching was used to some extent by all and everyone realized that it wasn’t enough.

Schools began to explore ways to connect and soon Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams were optimized by educators.

I have for myself seen children sitting with mobiles in remote rural villages, videos of teachers travelling for miles in search of connection have gone viral and we know that hybrid classes will be there in future as we experiment with opening of schools.

Online classes 2021

Schools and teachers are trying to duplicate the learning experience at school by trying to have similar hours, activities and some even insist on a dress code, little realizing that the school teaching learning process itself needed to change.

To keep students engaged remotely is a challenge for which teachers have not been equipped.

Schools to support
Now that all stakeholders are conversant with the online classes to the extent that the national and state boards were ready for a public exam, it is imperative for teachers to aim at learning outcomes instead of chapters and allow students to construct their learning.

The alternative academic calender is an excellent base which can be a foundation of relating learning to life and can be adapted to local needs and situations.

Strategies to engage

  • Teachers can diversify their online teaching strategies to include a mix of text, sound and imagery.
  • Deliver video lectures which are content heavy before class and find time to so that there is practice in the presence of teacher.
  • Set activities with gamified online learning apps/tools designed to keep learning engaging no matter where it’s taking place. Many also come with automated reporting and tailored learning journeys for each student.
  • Assign groups or individuals to post blogs on different aspects of the topic. It’s a good strategy for exploring a subject.
  • Teachers to take feedback in ways to improve students engagement and involvement and thereby taking training in needed areas
  • Teachers of different schools to collaborate to share their best practices during these online mode of learning

Drastic changes often overwhelm, schools must step in to support their teachers.

A framework of progressive teaching and reduction of the syllabus may be necessary so that the concepts are strengthened. A relook at assessment will also benefit both the teacher and the students.

Begin training now
Teachers can self assess and choose online programs, the Diksha platform, Swayam MOOCS are relevant for classroom skills as well as for regularly refreshing and upgrading knowledge of content.

The CBSE holds regular training for teachers at nominal cost and resource persons are teachers who are rich in experience. A stride in this direction will be a leap into the future of learning.

Sharmila Raheja is the principal, Uttam School for Girls, Ghaziabad. All views expressed are personal.

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