New Delhi: It’s been more than a year now that people, especially children have been confined within the walls of their home. This has had an impact on the educational infrastructure on micro and macro levels. The phenomenon of online classes has taken a toll on the lives of students, teachers and parents as well. The dynamics of education culture are changing because of lockdown and lack of in person learning sessions. To emphasise more on the same, CitySpidey spoke to Shalini Nambiar, an educational consultant and founder of SN Educational Consultants.
While talking about the challenges the parents face, especially of 4-6 year students, who need someone to stick by them throughout classes, and in nuclear families with a challenge of both parents working, Nambiar laid emphasis on the acceptance of how things are right now.
She said, “First, we need to understand that there is no escape from the situation we all are in right now. To make things smooth, there needs to be an understanding between parents and teachers rather than criticism for each other. Also, Indian parents tend to leave everything on teachers which shouldn’t be done. Parents’ involvement is very important for holistic development of students. It isn’t a time to blame each other but to come together so that the child learns.”
Nambiar further talked about how important it is to inculcate discipline in students and teach them the value of learning. Parents have a tendency to make children dependent on them rather than teaching them self-discipline while it should be the other way around.
The conversation further led to the importance of professional training of teachers. We all blame students for lacking attention and discipline while it must be a teacher’s job to make the class more engaging. According to Nambiar, the reason for the learning gap in students is because of lack of support from parents and lack of training in teaching online classes.
Professional development of teachers should be taken into consideration. She said, “I call this generation the ‘Netflix Generation’ and just how in Netflix we decide a movie by if it interests us or not, same is the case with online classes. The first two minutes of online class is very crucial to grab the attention of students and then to sustain it throughout. ”
When CitySpidey discussed how parents find it difficult to accept the results of their children, Nambiar said that the times have changed and marks don’t matter anymore. Being good in Maths doesn’t ensure a successful future, rather it is important to focus on the emotional quotient and collaborative skills of children. Parents need to know that skill development of children is as important as knowledge.
On the question about the Central government’s decision to not postpone board exams this year, Nambiar is of the view that exams should be conducted online. About the concerns of cheating in online exams, Nambiar said that it is an act of mistrust towards children if we presume that they will definitely cheat in exams. She goes on to say, “The main purpose of exams must be to hone the understanding of students rather than mere memorisation. Even I don’t remember what I wrote in board exams years back.”
As the schools now are demanding students to sit in uniform while in online classes, Nambiar is of the view that it might teach students about the importance and professionalism of classes even if they are online. It ensures a code of conduct and also, students might be missing the adrenaline rush they used to get while getting ready for school and this practice might bring that excitement back.
While being asked about what we can borrow from foreign education systems like Finland, Nambiar talks about how a happy well-trained staff can lead to happy students. Also, she talks about the importance of making kids rectify their mistakes and learn from them rather than screaming at them or getting angry. Taking feedback as a teacher from students can be a fruitful practice and will make students feel valued.
The conversation further laid emphasis on the importance of emotional bonding between teachers and students and pre planning of classes to create an engaging experience for students. The ultimate goal must be the overall holistic development of a child and for that, creating a positive environment around them in any sort of study environment is very crucial.