Virtual Learning Process During COVID-19
Teachers have bravely risen to the challenges thrown by the sudden tectonic shift from physical to virtual classes due to COVID-19. All teachers, including the technologically challenged, are traversing the world of home-based online teaching – the new normal.
Just like their students, the teachers have tried, and are still trying, to give their best to the strangely changed circumstances. They have had to make do with shared devices and erratic internet services; learnt to use new teaching tools and apps with privacy issues that have exposed them to multiple embarrassing moments. They have set aside their trepidations to formulate new and interesting teaching ideas; undergone counselling, when needed; yet they are battling on. They are not COVID warriors or front liners. However, as always, they are behind us, supporting us and ensuring continuous learning for our children.
9 challenges of online teaching:
- Devising new ways to make lessons interesting as it is more challenging to hold attention onscreen with several household distractions around a student, especially a primary school student. So,
- The topics and teaching methods need to be impactful
- Stories relating to the day’s lesson need to be told; PPTs on various topics – these are needed more in case of languages that do not have adequate material on Youtube or Google
- Making children pen their own interpretations of a chapter and sharing it with the class
- Making the students dramatize stories
- Setting easy and practical experiments using everyday materials available at home
- Setting free hand physical exercises along with studies, to keep the mind and body healthy
- Being more innovative and creative, as the teachers’ faithful teaching aids – the ‘chalk and blackboard’ are absent
- In case of classrooms with numerous students, it is not always possible to ask everyone to answer. Yet, the teachers now know more about each child as to –
- How they behave at home
- How much effort they are putting in to attend classes
- Their creativity and adaptability
- Their eagerness to do something new each day to share with their teachers and friends
- It is difficult to check students’ written work properly on a daily basis from the screen. Too much of screen time takes a toll on the eyes and back
- Uploading assignments (documents, audio and video files) by both teachers and students can be a tedious job, especially since not all areas have good internet accessibility. Also, not all students have devices or access to the internet, so not everyone is being able to attend classes. Virtual classrooms need consistent moderate to hi-speed internet connection
- For those who are not used to typing and working on computers for long hours, typing can be time-consuming
- Teachers and students miss the personal connection of physical classes. An online class is devoid of a teacher’s reassuring pat to encourage a student to complete a task or the entertaining cheekiness of some students
- Co-curricular activities, physical games and the various assemblies and programmes have stopped. The school compounds are silent. No matter how many videos are made to showcase the students’ talents, the adrenaline rush of going on stage is missing
- Though parental support is helping most students to continue online learning, interfering and competitive parents are hampering proper assessment
Despite the multiple hardships and depressing times, it is interesting to note the laudable efforts of teachers to welcome the students with a smiling face every morning. Work from home has made their mornings more relaxing, as the rush to reach workplaces is absent. The workload has not lessened but everyone is being able to spend some ‘quantity time’ with family. Previously, there was only ‘quality time’.