By Sudha Goyal, Scottish High International School, Gurugram
The dawn of a new decade has been anything but ordinary. At the beginning of 2020, everything seemed to continue as it had been for many years. But come March and there was a change which took place unforeseen and unprecedented. Looking towards the end of the year, no one would have predicted significant changes in any major area.
The COVID-19 pandemic has played a disruptor to each discipline, industry, and sector. Many professions have had to completely change themselves to adapt to the changed circumstances.
Teachers have had to modify their pedagogy to better reach their students and efficiently imbue them with knowledge. While the mode of education has changed, the objectives and methods of testing have largely remained the same. The burden has fallen on schools and teachers on how to effectively teach students without the aid of the legacy techniques.
There has been a technological leap in a small period of time. Teaching has been pushed forward by many a decade. At Scottish High the Students and teachers are regularly connecting via video conferencing, and new age methods of teaching such as videos and interactive content are widely used. While this in itself adds another barrier to entry for the lesser privileged, it must be seen as a step toward progress. As can be observed the global environment is shifting towards digital so has Scottish High easily adapted and had transitioned to this platform easily. The students and tutors alike were extremely comfortable using it.
Online classes with extended hour which was only devoted for variety of activities like Art and Crafts, Sports and Club. This digital platform was used to keep the students involved for holistic development of the students. The students had innumerable opportunities to express themselves, through a ‘Dress Up Day’ in one’s favourite story character to celebrate Library Week, or as a leader of the country to mark Independence Day, to celebrating festivals like Diwali, Christmas and Halloween. There was different 3D decoration created snowflakes, trees in Art’s classes. Music and Drama classes taught the students variegated nuances of music and drama. Various competitions took place virtually like Debate, Quiz and virtual MUN was organised.
Teaching as a discipline has remained stagnant when compared to the progress made in other sciences. Post pandemic teaching will likely feature a healthy mix of traditional and modern methods of teaching, with the best attributes of each coming together to form a style that is the most efficient and beneficial to the students of the coming generations.
The environmental impact of the new style of teaching will also be massive. With a significant population of children and teachers not commuting daily to their schools, and education becoming remote, pollution and emissions will see a decline. Examinations will also evolve in time to be more friendly to remote and electronic forms of conduction.
As an institution, we undertook massive and sweeping changes to welcome our students and staff. To prioritize the safety and mental well-being of the Highlanders, we followed the protocols dictated by the government. After many months of uncertainty and fear, the world began to return to a semblance of normalcy, albeit very slowly and cautiously. We at Scottish High took the utmost care to adhere to all the rules and regulations set by the governments at all levels.
We have undertaken multiple steps to ensure minimal risk for all staff and students. Some things we have undertaken and ensure:
- Provided laser handheld thermometers to check temperatures of people entering the premises
- Thorough sanitization of hands and feet (via special foot mats) at the entry gate.
- The floors are disinfected using sodium hypochlorite 9% + KMNo4 + extra caustic and NH4
- Temperature checks are conducted for all people before entry
- Sanitizers in all classrooms, students are encouraged to frequently wash hands
- Educational posters about hand washing, sanitization and mask-wearing have been put up across the school
- Fresh air is continuously circulated via the ventilation system
- Lifts are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized every two hours; all surfaces are wiped down with alcohol swabs
All these measures which were undertaken by Scottish High has translated in the ease of requesting students to attend offline classes. Everything was followed in a phased manner in regularizing the academics at the School. There were no lacunae felt either by the Parent community or the Highlanders themselves.
We at Scottish High are not only well equipped but have successfully opened the School for Senior classes. All their safety concerns have been looked into and executed with panache and one can see the swelling number of students returning to the offline mode of teaching.
“INTERROGO, PERCIPIO, ADICIO” which, when translated from Latin to English, reads “Question, Understand, Apply”. With this as the motto, Scottish High endeavours in ‘Building Personalities, Not Just People’ by laying a strong foundation of Mind, Body, and Spirit, by way of seeking, analysing and practicing knowledge in all facets of life.
The future remains exciting for the coming generation of students and teachers.