Overcoming The Challenges Of Online Teaching
"In a world that eats, sleeps, and breathes tech, there’s still a certain degree of stigma that’s attached to online learning. People believe this form of learning is more ‘casual’ and not space where you can reap the limited benefits of the education system."
The pandemic threw life out of gear for everyone, including school children. Their happy world within the safe confines of their schools came to an abrupt halt with the announcement of a total lockdown in March 2020. After the initial jolt, schools brought in a new era of online teaching to tackle the situation, though the move came with its own issues.
Making a shift from traditional to online teaching was a challenge to the educators as the suddenness with which they were plunged into this new mode of teaching meant that they went into it with little preparation. Even so, the valiant teachers tackled the situation with unmatched dedication and dexterity.
Lack of appropriate materials and resources, technical problems, and lack of internet facilities and constant power cuts were some of the challenges that teachers faced during their virtual classes. Thus, they went ahead to invest in upgraded systems, high-speed internet, and power backup to ensure uninterrupted power during online classes. All this cost money but resolved the problem. Schools upgraded their own systems and permitted teachers to use their facilities as convenient.
Teachers who were unfamiliar with the use of technology had to struggle with tools such as videoconferencing, prepare presentations and learn to be tech-savvy together with their regular teaching job. It was a monumental haul up, but teachers pulled together as schools organized online courses to aid their staff in handling the situation.
It is not technology and training alone that posed a roadblock. Many teachers discovered that students don’t actively engage as much as they do in a real classroom. Students turn off mics and teachers are met with an uncomfortable lull in class when no one answers a question or responds. But for shyer kids, this environment is ideal. Online classes made those who are more withdrawn open and forthcoming with participation. Teachers make use of various tools like discussions, blogs, quizzes, presentations, activities, and projects to encourage active participation.
Furthermore, to curb issues related to minimal attention spans, teachers learned to plan frequent breaks which are used for interaction or fun activities like model making, debates, group discussions and role play. If students know when the breaks are scheduled, they are more likely to concentrate and remain focused until the next break.
Flexibility is one technique that many teachers employ to try and compensate for the monotony of an online class. Assigning less work and using objective assessments and fun quizzes, help in assessing student knowledge, guarantee some entertainment and diminish fatigue and monotony. These methods bring a comfort level into an online classroom.
Another technique that some teachers use is to randomly select groups of student moderators for different sessions. Their job is to initiate discussions and exchanges. This engages the whole class and puts the onus on the students to eradicate distraction and indiscipline.
Being friendly and communicative establishes understanding with the students. It makes a teacher more approachable. Setting aside time for pleasant chats and problem solving, calling on every student in the class from time to time and being flexible regarding the submission deadline and giving space for lapses helps to build a relationship of trust and camaraderie with students. Nothing works better for a child than personal attention from the teacher who then becomes a person rather than just a voice behind the screen.
In a world that eats, sleeps, and breathes tech, there’s still a certain degree of stigma that’s attached to online learning. People believe this form of learning is more ‘casual’ and not space where you can reap the limited benefits of the education system. While this is true in a sense, on the other hand, innovations in the teaching approach can make online classes memorable and rewarding for both the students and teachers and motivate students to be much more responsible and take ownership of their learning, which indeed is the aim of every teacher.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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