The outbreak of COVID-19 has not been kind to most of the sectors in India. The absence of a vaccine and hovering risks around associated with precautionary guidelines is continuously hurting these most operational sectors in India. One obviously being schools. Almost all students have been affected due to the delay in education that this pandemic has brought about.
It has put the entire education industry in a dilemma of whether or not schools should be opened or not. Although there are advisories recommended by the UNICEF to reduce the risk of contagion, when it comes to the lives of our little ones, there is no room for any amount of risks to be present.
Fortunately for us, this dilemma has enabled us all to depend on the emerging form of teaching and education – Online learning. This system is being evaluated and being practiced in several schools at the moment to understand the effectiveness of this system. However, there are several factors that need to be considered with such a system to ensure that children are learning efficiently.
Since teachers have limited access to the children during this situation, it becomes the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their children are better connected, equipped and mainly, learning like they usually would in a regular schooling environment.
Children must understand the situation
It is very important for us as teachers and parents to explain the current situation to our children. It is our responsibility to explain to them that the pandemic has presented an obstacle in learning, however schools and parents will be working harder to not let this pandemic affect their learning, and they should take studying seriously during this time.
More so, it is important that children understand that learning from home is not a substitution, vacation or ‘pause in schooling’. It is merely schooling from a different location. This is crucial since children need to understand the seriousness of learning from home and give it the same value that they would ordinarily give to schools.
A routine must be followed
Working parents who have been adapting to the ‘Work From Home’ will understand the difficulties of this set-up. The most pressing issues associated with this set-up are related to focus and physical posture related problems. Hence it is important for children to have a structure established as a routine that should be followed at any cost. Children will need a designated space that has replaced their normal school desk. The practice of writing and engaging with the teach must continue just as it would in a school.
Replace outdoor extracurricular activities
This pandemic has limited our movement and restricted us to be settled in compact spaces, which has also affected the extracurricular activities of children. During this time, teachers and parents must actively encourage children to use technology to constantly unwind from regular school learning and engage with informational content available over the internet. Source for good YouTube lessons on several things that children can do from home itself to increase their knowledge of the outside world. Also it would be a good practice to reduce the screen time and engage in other activities.
Parents will have to learn to be more tech-savvy
One of the major concerns of this set-up is the handling of technology by children. Children would have access to the open internet, which requires a thorough check by the parents. Use parental lock and block certain websites that may be harmful for children. For which, parents would also need to have adequate knowledge of the internet and use of technology, to also ensure that their children are actually attending these classes.
Teachers and Parents will have to work together
The success of this entire set-up is highly dependent upon the collaboration between teachers and parents. They need to work together to be involved in the teaching-learning process as parental guidance in this set-up is highly significant and essential for the development of the child.
Furthermore parents will need to take that extra step, just like how teachers are parents in schools, parents will have to be teachers at home. Parents must take the initiative of acquiring some counselling skills to be there for their children during this tough time. If both parents are working, then parents should assign a go-to parent for specific queries for efficient coordination. And finally, not to forget, this time is as difficult on children as it is on us today. Teachers and parents must have patience, compassion and be empathetic towards children during these difficult times.
By: Mrs. Geeta Sanil – The author is Vice-Principal of Jasudben ML School (JML) – a premier ICSE school in Khar, Mumbai