As the third wave of Coronavirus is creating another round of disruptions, students of classes 10 and 12 are facing a challenging time too given the hindrance in their learning process ahead of the upcoming term II CBSE exams. While collaborative learning is an important aspect of exam preparation for students of these grades, they have had the loneliest year of all.
The change in the format of the examination had already created a stressful situation for the students initially. Now, the sudden rise in Omicron cases has disrupted their learning process at a crucial juncture. The situation is worse for students from remote areas where power supply and network connectivity issues are also a challenge.
As a teacher of a school that caters to children from rural parts of India, over the last two years, we have devised some solutions and identified steps that have helped our students and can come in handy for others too:
Remain Connected: Staying constantly connected with our students is very important. We can take care of their emotional health which is the most crucial factor at the moment. If we are in constant touch, we develop and successfully apply the knowledge and the skills to understand and control emotions, show empathy, set positive and realistic goals, and make sound decisions. These skills may include self-control, self-awareness, relationship building and emotional management. A teacher also plays the role of a counsellor who understands the individual needs of the children and their cultural background during the teaching-learning process to help them understand their emotions, develop relationships and resolve conflicts.
Content: The content that we deliver in the online classes should be simplified and imparted through brief video lectures and readings. Online instruction is not conducive to covering large amounts of content, so we have to choose wisely, teaching the most important things at a slower pace with unambiguous and direct instructions. In other words, clear communication is one of the key factors for a healthy educational environment in the present scenario.
Collaborative learning: Teachers must use ‘group-based tasks’ and encourage ‘collaborative learning’ to develop students’ social-emotional skills in virtual classes. Even listening to students’ feelings and valuing their views and opinions may also be considered as incentives for learners’ progressive development.
Personal intervention: While it is difficult to cater to all students one-by-one on a phone but when a teacher is well connected with her students, making personal calls to solve the doubts of students who are struggling can be a generous and rewarding attempt. If teachers can voluntarily go that extra mile and intervene, they might facilitate a smooth pathway of learning. Subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Accountancy, according to me, need more such personal guidance and proper attention in the online platform for concept clarity.
Availability of learning material: Another mechanism is to deliver content asynchronously via video or other media. Students with different learning pace can learn at their own convenience with digital content. This way their learning won’t suffer because of connectivity issues, non-availability of mobiles during the daytime, unconducive learning environment and so on.
Counselling: In the present situation, class 12 students have to deal with the stress of preparing and doing well not only in their Board exams but also their college’s admission entrance exams. All this together can negatively affect the emotional and mental wellbeing of the student. Therefore, schools must ensure that they monitor the situation closely and counsel the students regularly.
— This article is authored by Ananya Rudra, English Department, Vidyagyan School, Bulandshahr