Tamil Nadu

With suspension of in-person classes, teachers think of ways to keep senior students engaged

The State government’s announcement to suspend classes on campus for senior school students till January 31 in view of the COVID-19 spread, has prompted teachers to examine ways to ensure the feasibility of virtual assessments and that students keep learning over the next fortnight.

From January 19, revision exams were scheduled to start for Classes X and XII from State Board schools. It has now been postponed. After schools reopened in September 2021, these were the first major rounds of examination for students, since half yearly and quarterly exams were cancelled by the School Education Department.

“This closure of schools will definitely affect government school students. Only now they were regularly coming to school and preparing for the upcoming revision exams. We had faced difficulties even during the first and second lockdown to conduct online classes, and will struggle to keep the momentum going,” said K.P.O. Suresh, a science teacher at a government school.

He and many other teachers have proposed a shift system for classes, so that a few students can be allowed on campus. “Schools too can examine having micro-classes, where only a limited number of students come to the campus and attend classes just for half a day. The learning continuity for students has already been impacted by the pandemic and another prolonged closure of schools might affect students, taking the public exam this year,” said Patric Raymond, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Graduate Teachers Federation.

Pointing to schemes like Illam Thedi Kalvi, which works with small groups of students, he further said that a long-term solution, where teachers can engage with a limited number of students needs to be put in place.

Private schools which had online classes and virtual assessments till last year before schools reopened, have reverted to the same for classes 1 to 9 after in-person classes for those students, were suspended sometime ago. “For Classes X and XII, we are planning on going ahead with a school-level revision exam, since students have already been preparing for the same. It will be conducted virtually and will be good practice for them,” said B. Purushothaman, principal, Everwin Group of Schools. He said while the safety of students is their priority, the government could consider allowing classes in small batches for senior students.

R. Visalakshi, president of Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association, said most schools were planning on conducting assessments virtually over the next few weeks as well. “We will wait and watch as to what the pandemic situation is like after two weeks, and decide how to go about classes depending on what the government announces,” she said.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 4:38:28 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/with-suspension-of-in-person-classes-teachers-think-of-ways-to-keep-senior-students-engaged/article38284530.ece