Monday, September 27

West Bengal: Back to school, online, after summer vacation

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As schools reopen after the summer break, students will once again enter the online classroom. But the experience will be different from the first innings — less boring and more inclusive — promise authorities. Assessments of the previous online classes and feedback from parents have led schools to hold lengthy meetings with teachers to make them understand the new normal which will require a lot of application and breaking of moulds.

While some schools, like DPS Ruby Park, Adamas International School and Tribeni Tissues Vidyapeath, have resumed classes this week, others, like the La Martiniere schools and DPS Howrah, will start on Monday. Yet others, like Birla High School, Mukundapur, and Asian International School, will resume classes on June 15. But they have all prepared new guidelines for online classes that focus on holding a child’s attention by bringing in variety to the virtual classroom.

Teachers have been asked not to read out lengthy lectures or chapters from text books and expect students to learn by rote. Instead, they had been advised to practice lecturing on-camera, self study these lectures, edit them and re-record for practice. “The lessons are in the books, but it is in the storytelling mode that you need to summarize these concepts for kids. The vacation gave our teachers a chance to practice so that every class becomes interactive and offers each child an opportunity to practice,” said Supriyo Dhar, secretary of the La Martiniere schools.

Science teachers will now take help of kitchen experiments to educate the middle school. For instance, in DPS Howrah, students will be taught chemical reactions of acid, base and salts through simple experiments like turmeric mixed with soap turning red, explained principal Sunita Arora. Virtual laboratory sessions will be being brought in at Asian International School and teachers have been trained for this, explained principal Vijaylakshmi Kumar. “We can no longer stick to theory. We have to re-adjust,” she explained.

Classroom quizzes will be routine in the second virtual innings at DPS Ruby Park. Teachers have been asked to quiz kids at the end of teaching a concept. “Students of classes VIII to X will be asked to compare the economic slowdown caused by Covid-19 with that of the slump of 1929,” said vice principal Indrani Chattopadhyay.

While recording presence in class is easy in the virtual classroom, it does not serve the purpose of an assembly and many schools will introduce this now. “Prayers and assembly bring students and teachers together and set in the work mode, which is essential to instil discipline since we are attending online sessions from informal situations,” said principal Mitra Sinha Roy.

Most schools, like Birla High School, Mukundapur, and Heritage School, have set up routines for online classes to weave in co-curricular activities like yoga, music, dance and art in order to bring in longer online class hours — which parents have requested — and to break screen time to relieve the eyes.

 

Source: Times of India

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