By Deepa Palat, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Vaduthala
‘When things do not go your way remember that every challenge, every adversity contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth’ – Roy.T.Bennett. It is with these words, in my opinion, that every teacher should start the new academic year in 2021.
As a teacher I really look forward to adaptive and new styles of teaching in my class in order to make my students self- directed and motivated. Online teaching and learning are the words that are predominantly used by educators now. New technologies and a global outlook in career and pedagogy is what learners expect from schools and teachers. As an educationist, I am excited to enter new fields of education that weren’t thought of a decade ago. Teachers are no longer people who stand in front of students on a pedestal, doling out information to a wide-eyed section of the community. There is a fast- paced shift from this to a facilitator who guides them to new regions of learning.
When we teachers enter our classroom we should expect our learners to be well equipped with information related to educational news through online educational magazines like Brainfeed. So, the challenge lies in updating ourselves on the latest methods of teaching and the educational tools that are available.
Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders. Education has undergone a sea change in a decade. Many children have tremendous exposure to app-based education. So it is a challenge for schools to cater to the students’ needs. These apps provide quality interactions, reduces rote learning, fosters systematic learning activities and bridges the communication gap between teachers and parents too.
Education has also become edutainment. These learn -while-having- fun strategies will enable teachers to teach in a fun-way and hold the interest of students. So teachers should think about activities of this nature even to teach complicated concepts. E-learning apps should be introduced to them to reinforce concepts.
Educational Technology which is simply a process of integrating technology into education to build better teaching/learning experiences that result in higher learning outcomes will be used in almost all schools in the coming year.
The need of the hour in the field of education is to transform the schools into a digital space to empower and support learners and teachers to embrace new forms of learning rather than focussing on educational technology and tools. Schools need to evolve their mindsets. An effective pedagogical leadership is required to make digital transformation last in schools. To facilitate this we need a significant amount of resources. We need to understand the positive effect of the digital space. Digital technologies should be applied to the solving of particular problems faced by students and teachers by creating activities related to various subjects.
When we talk about Research and Development in education we need to understand how well these knowledge processes are managed. Only then education and the training systems in schools can improve. Research may involve a variety of methods and various aspects of education including student- learning, teaching methods, teacher training, and classroom dynamics.
Another challenge is that exposure of children in the field of art and entertainment has become inevitable due to the usage of the internet. Art Integrated projects for students helps them to develop self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperative skills and self- motivation, all of which are necessary to be successful in life. It uses various art forms for experience- based learning. It evokes fun and laughter in classrooms. As per the cbse syllabus this kind of learning is a teaching-learning model which is based on learning ‘through the arts’ and ‘with the arts’ where art becomes the medium of teaching-learning, a key to understanding concepts within any subject of the curriculum. As teachers this is a good opportunity to make the students understand the importance of arts and imbibe the Indian ethos through integration of art and culture in the teaching and learning process at every level. Now the challenge here lies in connecting the subjects through the concerned teachers and to make the students do it themselves. When art integrated projects are done, flexibility in time and content should be clearly understood by teachers. Lack of teacher appreciation for the arts and lack of in depth knowledge are some of the challenges schools will face. Teachers and children should understand that problem solving skills, language skills, social skills and decision-making skills are developed through these projects. So, these projects should be done with total involvement on the part of students.
Another major challenge that schools and teachers will face in the coming years is meeting the emotional needs and mental and physical health of students. The digital space takes them to realms unkown till now and this takes a toll on them. Easy access to websites can lead to dangerous situations. Although this aspect of a student’s life had existed even in the past, schools should be more vigilant post lockdown period because the student we had in our schools before this period is different from the ones we will be having now. Their knowledge about the digital world has improved in leaps and bounds. So, the teacher should be updated about this and help them in every possible way to have a detached attachment to this.
The lockdown has resulted in short term and long term psychosocial and mental health implications for children and adolescents. The quality and magnitude of impact on children is determined by many factors like economic conditions, pre-existing mental health condition and being quarantined due to infection or fear of infection. There is a great need to ameliorate students’ access to mental health support. For this, direct or digital support from psychiatrists, psychologists, paediatricians and community volunteers is needed. Periodic assessment is also needed. Teachers who have direct connection with students should be oriented and case studies should be taken, thereby problems surfacing in this area in schools can be addressed quickly. Parents should be made to understand that a lot of patience and cooperation from them is needed for this.
So, in conclusion, I would say that in our role as nation builders ,being teachers, we must remember that as Thomas .S. Monson said ‘Our most significant opportunities will be found in times of greatest challenge.’