Anuradha Krishnan, Principal, Primus Public School, Bangalore: Time to learn new things

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Anuradha Krishnan

We are all living in such a bizarre and unprecedented time. Almost the entire world is on lockdown, brought to a halt by the dreaded covid-19! We recognize that the only way to protect ourselves is to isolate ourselves and maintain hygiene.

However, we will overcome this and there is life to be savoured on the other side. Each of us have to use this pause in our lives to prepare ourselves for what the world may hold for us. This may be by learning a new skill or language, reading, specializing, getting fit, spending time with family, playing games and so much more.

All this is true for children too. However, children will go back to school and continue their studies after this. This means they must stay in touch with everything they have learnt so far so they are able to tackle the academic rigour that will be required of them in the next academic year. Most schools across the globe have embraced technology-based solutions to engage with children and keep them abreast of their prescribed lessons.

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Large corporations have come to the aid of parents and children by offering for free a lot of their content meant for children; whether it is e-books, games, educational software for Math, Science or languages, virtual views of museums and e-courses to teach them music or yoga. In addition, there are a lot of DIY options for kids. The internet is a treasure trove of ideas for parents and even show them how to get it done.

At our school also, we went digital. Luckily for us, the lockdown began only after the teaching for the year was done. The children had only the annual assessment remaining. Our Board Exams were done. As per government rule, all children are promoted by default until grade 8, so we called off the annual assessment and sent the children a series of worksheets on all subjects to maintain the academic continuity. They were also given lists of books to read for pleasure during vacations.

For senior grades, we conducted online classes with teachers and students interacting and sharing videos, presentations and assignments. They even had live interactive classes. This was very effective, and we were able to get a lot done. It was done from the comfort of home with a schedule that wasn’t too heavy. We also used flipped classes that helped children get more time with the teacher to clarify any ambiguity.

Nothing can replace the human relationships and interactions of a physical classroom session. In a country like ours, we also have to deal with the vagaries of electricity and connectivity. I strongly believe that learning is best achieved when a student is involved in open and happy interactions with the teacher which is much easier in a physical classroom. We should get back to that as soon as possible. Nevertheless, I am extremely grateful to technology for the opportunity to continue to connect with our students online!

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