Once the academics were taken care of, it was time to focus on the most integral part of a boarder’s life: co-curricular activities and pastoral care. says Sanjay Khati, Director of Cultural Activities, Mayo College, Ajmer in a conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
Covid-19 was an unexpected calamity which not only emerged as a life-threatening pandemic but also disrupted the well-planned schedule of many. The only effective way to steer through this crisis was to have an immediate action plan to mitigate the needs of the changing times and to have a business continuity plan to foster better crisis management
Mayo College, Ajmer anticipated the gravity of this situation too early and therefore, most of the boys were sent back home well-intime, way before the deadline. Next step was to quickly train the staff on Microsoft Teams and to equip them to handle forthcoming online classes rapidly and efficiently. The existing model of Module-based teaching definitely came handy and we commenced with our online classes as early as 30 March 2020.
This was indeed a new platform and tool of learning for students, teachers, and parents too. We all were working in a dynamic environment with changes and challenges coming our way on a daily basis. Keeping this in mind; Class Teachers were deployed as a focal point of contact for the parents and respective students. This move really helped in gathering timely and accurate feedback from the immediate stakeholders and in-turn helped us to work on the grey areas quickly. Class Teachers created WhatsApp groups and even conducted Online PTMs. Google forms were also sent to each parent to receive candid feedback. One IT Person was deputed for each online class to cater to the IT issues. These steps ensured smooth sailing in terms of online classes.
Another significant step was to assist the new members of the Mayo fraternity who were scheduled to join us in the month of April. It was equally important to apprise them about the ethos, culture, and heritage of this 163 years old organization. Therefore, an online orientation was organized for the new students and their parents. This step really proved fruitful in terms of hand holding the new boys.
Once the academics were taken care of, it was time to focus on the most integral part of a boarder’s life: co-curricular activities and pastoral care.
Various online competitions encompassing domains like Photography, Painting, MUN, etc. were planned and organized. Online Tutorial groups were created to encourage informal interaction between the boys and the House tutor and to take care of the EQ of the former during these trying times. Boys were also encouraged to join various webinars.
Post the completion of the online classes, Periodic Assessment was also conducted. Parents, being the major stakeholders, supported the process wholeheartedly and students appeared for the assessments under their supervision. Teachers were guided to frame the question paper in such a way that it tested the deep understanding and high order thinking skills of the examinee rather than focussing on rote learning. A proper plan was also made to deliver one-on-one feedback of the Periodic assessment to each student.
Mayo has already come a long way in terms of bridging the gap between the students and the teachers during these tough times and has planned numerous activities for near future. Fitness sessions, Hobby classes, Club and Society activities will be organized along with remedial classes. Boys will be participating in online Inter-School competitions for PPT and Multimedia, Quiz, Debates etc. Plan to organize Online Debating, Public Speaking and Dramatics workshop is already in place. Most importantly, the faculty is not only participating in various online trainings and webinars but they are encouraged to conduct webinars on their own too. They are using various online platforms like MS Teams, Zoom, Cisco Webex etc. to conduct their sessions on most context-sensitive issues of the present time.
Overall, it has been an enriching and novel experience for everyone associated with this process: Parents, Teachers and Students. The idea of adaptability to changes while keeping a positive thought process has been pretty instrumental in driving the institution and its entities. Mayo is known for taking unprecedented steps and wishes to carry on with this legacy.