Schools adapt approach to make virtual classes effective for students

Goal is to improve learning outcomes while helping students combat boredom

May 22, 2021 08:20 pm | Updated 08:20 pm IST - BENGALURU

Last year, private schools were caught off guard by the COVID-19 pandemic and were forced to make a quick switch to online classes to minimise disruptions in the academic schedule.

Over the course of the year, teachers have learned as much as students about the pros and cons of virtual classrooms. As they brace themselves for multiple waves of COVID-19, many private schools have already started changing the way online classes are conducted. Their goal is to improve learning outcomes while helping students combat boredom and fatigue.

Dakshayini Kanna, principal of Harvest International School, said they had decided to increase student participation by giving them more time to talk.

“We want students to talk for 50% of the time in class and are making the format more interactive. Students will be asked to study concepts and come and present what they have learned,” she said.

The school also plans to conduct multiple assessments this academic year, which includes vivas, presentations, and demonstrations.

Other schools, too, in anticipation of a third wave, have decided to conduct more frequent assessments for the 2021–22 academic year.

Ramitha Ramachandran, principal of School of India, said her school had introduced weekly tests for one subject every Saturday.

“This way, we can evaluate and assess students early in the academic year. Later, if they are unable to participate in the assessments due to unforeseen circumstances, we have an existing track record of their academics,” she said.

The school has also introduced a version of bridge classes where doubts are cleared after a class is over.

“Earlier, students would walk into the staff room to get their doubts clarified. Our bridge classes are meant to exactly serve this function,” Ms. Ramachandran added.

They also have devised a ‘bubble period’ where the class teacher logs in to have a casual conversation with students, one that does not cover a part of the syllabus or lesson plan.

Nooraine Fazal, founder-director of Inventure Academy, said they had asked their teachers to come up with creative ideas as a team on how technology tools could be used to achieve better teaching outcomes.

“We have asked students to optimise the number of tools that are available,” she said.

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