Schools reduce size of virtual classes to drive lessons home

Many schools have reduced the size of online classes from 60 to less than 20 students per class.   | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

After experimenting with online classes for more than a year, private school managements are introducing changes in formats and teaching methods to improve learning outcomes. One of the measures that many schools have embraced this academic year is smaller virtual classrooms with fewer students.

This measure was adopted after teachers and principals received feedback from parents who said that their children were unable to grasp lessons in the 2020-21 academic year during online classes. Schools that were only sending pre-recorded lessons for lower classes last year are also now holding online classes for an hour or two and conducting interactive sessions with students in small batches.

The mother of a Class III student, who studies in a CBSE school in South Bengaluru, said that last year, there were as many as 40 students in her son’s virtual class. “But this academic year, students have been divided into two batches of 20 for online classes. Teachers are now able to monitor all the children and bring about some discipline. They also have the time to interact and provide individual attention to students,” she said.

Dakshayini Kanna, principal of Harvest International School, said that having smaller virtual classrooms has made learning more effective. The maximum number of students in an online class at her school is 15. “Teachers are anyway not allowed to conduct more than three hours of online classes a day. So they will split students in each section and conduct the same online class twice a day. We have found that smaller classrooms increase student engagement,” she said.

Lokesh Talikatte, State unit president of the Recognised Unaided Private Schools Association, Karnataka, said many schools had reduced the size of online classes from 60 to less than 20 students per class. To ensure that teachers are not overburdened, some schools have started hiring additional staff. “School managements are financially better off this academic year and are able to hire more teachers as a result. Last year, I had 24 teachers who had to juggle and conduct online classes for six schools run by me. This year, I have managed to recruit more teachers. I have 82 teachers for six schools,” he said.

Parents, too, feel their children are more engaged in a smaller class. Suma S., whose daughter studies in Class VI in a private school, said, “The teacher makes sure that at least six out of the 15 students in my daughter’s class engage in a conversation. Or, the students are asked to make a presentation on the topics covered. Students have also been instructed this year to keep their video on throughout the class. This ensures that they are not distracted and are paying attention.”

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 11:38:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/schools-reduce-size-of-virtual-classes-to-drive-lessons-home/article35659771.ece

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