Schools have resumed for classes IX to XII, and for the junior sections — a welcome break from the monotony of online sessions.
To add the human touch to online lessons, St Augustine’s Day School, Barrackpore, has come up with an initiative called Bridging Online Offline Study Time (BOOST) classes that ensure teacher-student bonding up close and personal. Besides lessons, these classes also ensure some live interaction among classmates.
Class VIII student Rishi Agarwal would sit in front of the computer by 10.30am every day since the pandemic. But recently, his school introduced the new learning system, where teachers dropped in at a student’s home to teach a cluster live.
One student opens up his house for a few of his classmates and a schoolteacher drops in to give one-on-one lessons — that’s how the BOOST system has been gaining momentum since August.
It covers students right from Lower Kindergarten to Class VIII. Parents, too, are excited about this venture and allowing the school to conduct such classes at their residence.
“I cannot communicate well during online classes, but this lesson was so much better,” said Rishi, after attending an interactive session on history, geography and English grammar and literature in his house.
Even teachers feel that BOOST classes are helping middle school students work on their social skills that have fallen short since staying at home for over a year.
“In the virtual classes, some students feel so shy that they refrain from putting forth their doubts, let alone discuss their viewpoints. These kids open up during such live classes,” said Hindi teacher Sukanya Dutta.
The classes usually last for around an hour. The teachers are accompanied by specially-trained service staff members, who would sanitise the host’s house before and after the class is conducted. The teachers, staff members and parents have to be vaccinated to be part of such a bubble.
Masks are used and social distancing, maintained. “A school is not just about teaching certain subjects; social and language skills are equally inculcated in a child when they come to school. Although schools have opened for classes IX to XII, BOOST classes were designed for the junior sections up till students of Class VIII which will continue. We hope BOOST provides holistic education to the kids,” said St Augustine Education Society president Janet Gasper Chowdhury.
The teachers of the pre-primary section also carry Montessori teaching aids during each session. Principal Jhuma Biswas said teachers and students were bonding better as a result of the classes.
“The classes ensure better interaction among teachers, students and parents. It helps students get rid of the feeling of isolation that may have developed among the children due to this pandemic,” she said.