Road map to effective learning and community building

Chandani Goyal

Covid-19 is still in the air and during this crucial time, schools have made a quick and remarkable entry into cyberspace. The entire teaching-learning process has seen a huge evolution, but approaches continue to be the same. A common mistake being made is believing that a teacher good in the traditional model of teaching, can easily embark on the new digital journey.

The digital world is an evolving enterprise and online learning and schooling are its latest products.Every day new platforms are being launched for transacting teaching-learning, but the teaching fraternity continues to be submerged in the older ways. The ‘new normal’ requires a new vision and new approaches to be unearthed.

While being digitally literate and competent is the heart of online teaching, what is more important is that teachers are able to plan their lessons keeping the physical distance between them and their students in mind and engage the cognitive and emotional abilities of their learnersas well. Having by now spent some time with this new form of teaching, it is time for educators to reflect and outline the challenges they have been facing and lay a road map to achieve their objectives effectively and efficiently.

Hurdles to cyber education

Road map to effective learning
It is time to delineate strategies that will assist the teachers through this new journey.

1. Assurance to insure

  • To begin with, schools should seek parental consent to register their child on varied school approved online platforms.
  • Do not miss out on informing about the frequent need to have them record audio and visual clips for assessments; alongside the assurance to use it for school-related projects only.
  • It would be highly recommended if schools could list out in advance the different platforms they will be exploring, so that parents can visit and learn about them.

2. Planning for the unknown

  • While planning a synchronous classroom, we also need to take into consideration the possibilities of student absenteeism owing to varied factors like shared device, poor connectivity and so on.
  • Thus, in such a scenario teachers should understand the need for asynchronous settings and record their live sessions.
  • These recordings can later be shared with the students along with the supporting files for the students to use as per the availability of time and device.
  • Platforms that allow live recording of meetings are Zoom, Google Hangout, Microsoft Teams and so on.

3. Community building

  • Building small group based tasks and assigning roles and criteria will not only widen the scope of interaction and communication, but also enhance creativity.
  • Creating groups based on the understanding of learners’ ability and friendship will help break the chilling isolation.
Tools to ensure communication, collaboration and community building

4. Partnering with parents

  • Involve parents not just for feedback, but weave assignments ensuring collaboration between parents and the child for a congenial and happy learning environment at home.
  • Layout guidelines for parents so that they don’t end up doing the assignment while intending to assist.
  • Partner with them to add more value to the new experience by enabling them to create a focused and self-directed study environment and the need to time the assignments/assessments.
  • Foster in parents the need to meditate/play/exercise together to ensure a calm and composed demeanor of the child.

Embracing the new challenge and planning effectively will not only enable our learners in smooth sailing, but also help fight through the feeling of being desolate and build a sense of community. Such tough times require a stronger you, thereby enhancing productivity and inculcating the zeal to be a change adaptor and change maker.

The author is an English language teacher with five years of experience. An explorer, thinker and a zealous learner at the core. A social enthusiast working towards implementing SDGs and seeking answers to global educational concerns. She can be reached at [email protected]. You can also read her tweets at @goyal_chandani

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