The world is busy in preparing 1.5 billion learners for the new normal, i.e., remote learning. In India, we have around 350 million children, and with only 43.99% having access to the smart devices, one should feel privileged studying in a school where the teachers and the curriculum are in complete sync with the changing paradigm of the teaching-learning process. This unpredicted disruption has given food for thought to all the stakeholders & policymakers to revive, reimagine and reshape the schooling perspectives and practices. Few of the value-additions that we all must deliberate on before constituting the new policies and proposals are:
• Parents’ Readiness: The learning process has never been so challenging for any of the stakeholders. With the limit of one or two devices at home, parents must train their children in using the online time, research time and assignment completion time. While the financial aspects of education are one primary concern, the parents have to be sensitised about the current situation with frequent communication and one-to-one sessions. As an institution, one must hand-pick the negotiators, the problem solvers and go-getters within the institution to discuss, guide and nudge them to pay the fee. Bringing the parent representative on board for drafting the policies of school re-opening could work well if the management shares a good rapport with them.
The psychological perspective of students being in a non-learning environment for long must be conveyed to them. An easily accessible channel of communication to address the frequent concerns of parents in handling their children must be established. Do not overlook the social, emotional aspect of children. The best way is to listen to their concerns patiently and resolve.
• Teachers’ Readiness: The school must ensure that all teachers and other support staff are trained well to handle any hurdles that could hinder the learning process, be it remote or in-campus in future. The millions of webinars from the NGOs, foundations, industry experts or the policymakers still not guarantee the mindset change or adaptability to new normal. Teachers often use technology to perpetuate existing syllabus-centred pedagogy rather than using technology to shift themselves to learner-centred pedagogy. The most crucial point to be kept in mind is their hands-on training on Social Emotional Learning domain as these unprecedented circumstances have given us the learners who are more aware, tech-savvy and may or may not be sure of the benefits of remote learning.
• Learners’ Readiness: The most critical factor that plays a significant role in the success of any remote learning program is the readiness of the participants. Training students on being self-directed and responsible for their learning outcomes is what will make them future-ready. Few steps that tread them towards the better future are regular training sessions on essential components like net etiquettes, time management and developing excellent study skills. Conversation in a pedagogical language that encompasses their aspirations, concerns and subject-relevance is what will make them back to the school and adapt quickly to the new normal of teaching-learning system.
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