KATHMANDU: The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries and all continents.
Closures of schools and other learning spaces have impacted 94% of the world’s student population, up to 99% in low and lower-middle income countries. (UN: policy brief: Education during covid-19 and beyond; Aug 2020). There is a common saying “Where there's a will, there's a way”.
Time has made us to stand on the digital environment which is really new for everyone. In the beginning we faced criticism like how could anyone study online? Most people in our society still don’t know there are many open universities in the world; that offering thousands of courses online. They have been teaching online for many years now.
We can't spell CHANGE without CHALLANGE, yes, we have to take challenge to bring change. This is an opportunity for everyone to bring paradigm shift in education from traditional mode to online one. But we have a challenge to balance traditional approache to education with emerging technology.
In the present situation, the only one way to make effective online class is to ensure close harmony among parents, teachers and students. Online education is a collaborative venture where parents, teacher and students share equal responsibility. I think teaching and learning process will be more effective if teacher can instill and develop honesty on students and inspire them to believe themselves. Parental involvement and engagement in teaching learning matters now more than ever.
Nowadays, all three main pillars of teaching learning process i.e. parents, teachers and students are together. Last week, I was involved in Virtual PTM (Parents teacher meet) where more than 200 parents showed their encouraging participation. Main concern of the program was to make online classes more effective. Here, I have tried to share the role of everyone to make online classes more fruitful.
Teacher’s Role: There is a belief that the teacher’s role is not as important in online teaching as in face-to-face traditional teaching. But the truth is that teacher has the key role to make online class effective. The main challenge for teacher is to bring knowledge, technology, and students together.
Teachers are working and struggling harder ever. I think teacher must be a co-learner in online class because S/he need to train herself/himself first before taking any online classes. Preparation of class martial, syllabus, lesson plan, and assignment,homework,project, selection of teaching learning methodology, evaluation and use of different online teaching learning tool are the basic responsibilities of teacher.
Beside these responsibilities, teachers must understand student psychology and encourage them to actively participate in online class. Teacher must interact with each and every student whether they are engaged in class or not. Teacher need to make good effort to communicate specific encouraging messages to individual learners specially those who are less active in online classes.
Continuous feedbacks from students and parents' and self-evaluation can help to teacher stay smart and updated. Teaching various life skills to students makes them to engage and they can help their parents in household work too.
Teacher can conduct various fun games and activities to teach the students sense of responsibility and ownership. To make classes, more interesting teacher as well as students must show the face i.e. video camera must be turned on. Lecture must be less than 20 minutes. Reasoning questions helps students for get involved and engage themselves actively in various activities and interact during group discussion.
Teacher must record the lecture, provide specific instruction to students and provide them to easy access for Class note and reading materials. Along with these academic responsibilities’ teacher is also equally responsible and can play key role to motivate students and counsel them to make them bold hearted and strong enough to cope of with the existing adverse situation and letting them know educated preventions measures.
Students Role: Students need to take an active approach to learning if they are to be successful online learners (Palloff & Pratt, 1998). Students have the most important duty to make online class more effective and successful. Student must be self-directed learner, self-motivated and reflective in online classes.
Students need to have motivation and commitment to learn. During the PTM, we got to know that some of students are doing better in online class than face-to face learning. Reason is no distraction, enough resources for learning, enough time for study etc. Students must follow the instruction given by teacher, must be punctual regarding following time table. Students need to submit assignment timely and regularly.
If students missed the class by various reason, they need to watch recording, need to find class notes and reading materials.
Student must be eager to acquire more knowledge they always need to keep, their text and exercise book, pen, pencil, calculator and all geometrical sets ready and handy. Some students have habit to keep screen shot of class note instead of writing them in note book. This habit is inappropriate because it may increase students work load.
Students must remain update in order to study and take their own notes too. Moreover, those students who hesitate to ask question to teacher about lesson, they can use personal chat box. They can type their problems and interact comfortably with teacher.
Parents Role: Researches about parental involvement in online learning show that both they are significant contributor for their child’s academic progress since they coordinate their effort to improve student engagement and learning. This is the time for parents to play an important role of teachers during online classes.
Parents can observe and guide the students as well as they can motivate them for online learning. Parental involvement in online classes is not just guidance and teaching them, but also to create positive and safe learning environment. Parents must maintain a peaceful and quiet learning area at home when online class is going on. They also need to check their children’s devices whether working properly or not.
Parental engagement in online classes help monitor their children’s activities. Parents can help their children to complete their assignments. Parents should encourage their children to get engaged in class interaction.
Moreover, parents should be responsible for managing good network system, computers or other relevant devices. During the class hours some students may spent their time playing online games, browsing social sites. This can be controlled by parents. They can help by praising their children’s successes, even when it’s just a small progress.
Parents may provide only one device for study during online class hours to their children. Parental intersection with teacher also helps to improve students’ academic level and interest. In this way, parents play a crucial role during online classes.
Lastly, online schooling is more effective than face-to-face learning if everyone fulfills their duty sincerely. Online schooling is really new for everyone. Students may be better off learning in online classes if the exclusive environment is provided.
(The author is a mathematics teacher at LRI School in Kathmandu.)