Looking Ahead - Planning for Post COVID-19 Learning and Teaching -Ms Sushma Raturi, Secretary, STTAR
The COVID -19 pandemic has brought great disruption across the world including in the education sector. At the onset of the lockdown, the teaching community was rudely shaken by this sudden shift in curriculum transaction. While there were doubtlessly some hiccups at the beginning, but initial apprehensions and hesitation to adapt to the electronic mode rapidly made way for innovative methods and experiences in delivering their lessons.
Amidst many other changes – some good, while others not so good – the current situation has brought about a great transformation in teaching and learning processes.
It has been quite some time since educational institutions have remained closed, and with uncertainty looming in the horizon, leading educationists the world over are still in a state of quandary. No one can predict with certainty what the future of educational landscape post this pandemic will look like, nor can its negative impacts be reasonably quantified. However, the view that garners consensus is that education will be propelled by technology and blended learning will become a reality across all educational sectors. In other words, new technology-driven changes in teaching and learning are inevitable in the coming years.
With schools following certain protocols after reopening, as will be mandated by the government, the education ecosystem in schools will undergo a change too. In order to maintain social distancing, classes will have to be sparser and will probably run in shifts. Schools would then be compelled to adopt a” hybrid” approach to teaching in and outside the classroom.
Although the present situation has provided opportunities for digital transformation, the prevalence of factors such as fear and anxiety cannot be ignored. Given that the situation is likely to persist in the short-to-medium term, schools and educationists need to be mindful about the mental health issues affecting the students and staff. Another grim picture that has come to light is the digital inequality in education. Students from the poor strata of society have no or little access to online education platforms, nor do children with special needs who have been severely affected by non-inclusion in the electronic learning processes deepening the digital divide. These issues cannot be ignored and must be dealt with great care and focused planning in order to ensure that the marginalized youth are not deprived of their right to education.
Interestingly, there has been a huge makeover in the profiles of students and teachers as the education world continues to grapple with the new normal. Students are now becoming needs-based learners since they are overwhelmed by a large volume of information made available by the digital media. Teachers, from being knowledge providers, are now transitioning into facilitators and counsellors. As the role of the teacher is changing, so are their skill sets. For this reason, teacher preparedness needs to be an area of focus since they would require to be well-equipped in competencies to deal with the rapid shifts in the education world.
Online training sessions for teachers for building new skill-sets is the need of the hour. Certain training programs like ICT in education, personal effectiveness, NLP for teaching, Socio-Emotional learning etc need to be made compulsory for teacher training during these times to strengthen the human relationships between teachers and students. To tap the much-needed effective domain of the students, teachers need to offer them powerful learning experiences so as to groom them into conscious and competent individuals who will blossom both scholastically and emotionally.
(Observing the paradigm shift in education, STTAR a premier teacher training institute in Ghaziabad has begun offering short online courses to teachers to enable them to acquire new skills and competencies based on extensive research to adapt to the new normal)