Dr. Shikha Bhardwaj has over 16 years of experience in teaching, research, mentoring and training. She is an expert in designing strategies for inclusive education, liaison with the government department and holistic development of students. She has exposure in Family Business Management and various MDPs on PSU employees.
The global scenario has changed drastically, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even the strongest and boldest economies are showing signs of worry and apprehensions. Despite all the challenges around, few heroes are working throughout like Doctors, Nurses, Army, to name a few but most of us missed out mentioning Teachers.
It was an unwarned and unplanned change that brought a sudden shift from classroom teaching to online and remote learning. These heroes are at work, whether home or office continuously. All universities, schools, and colleges across the globe stood together and united on ‘Learning and Beyond’. The abrupt closure of schools and universities in almost 178 countries of the world, has raised an additional role and responsibility to educator to bridge digital divides with a sharp focus.
Recently World Bank discussed three phases of education policy during the present situation – coping, managing continuity, and improvement and acceleration. While most of us are now engaged virtually with students over Zoom, Google classrooms, Video conferencing, or Microsoft Teams, we are yet to discover a perfect solution. After spending hours of online or virtual mode, most of the teachers and students, miss face to face interaction. Technology can build the best of the machines and software to stay engaged, but human interactions establish lifelong connect.
Nearly two and a half months into new normal, fatigue and stress appear to be settling in. Over a couple of discussions among academic fraternity, around 61 per cent of teachers and educationists said that stress level has increased. The following are eight Buzz words from the findings of data collected from a survey completed online by 136 teachers and educationists on May 28-29, 2020.
While going ahead with sudden change, most of the teachers still feel that face to face student engagement was much better than an online meeting. Generally, classroom teaching, builds an ambience, peer factor, and Pygmalion effect, which is missing in online engagement. Approximately 72 per cent revealed safety concerns while working online. No wonder during Lockdown 1.0 itself, when most of us were using Zoom, news broke out stating Zoom as one of risky platforms.
Not all changes were adverse, even for teachers, there were few positive changes like increased effectiveness in communication. A thumb rule of ‘Communicate with care’ has changed the whole perspective of addressing student concerns and issues. An overall sense to help students to cope with COVID-19 was seen. Around 70 per cent of educators were quick to switch on the Online mode of learning. They learned new technology, tools, and updated as quickly as possible during a crisis because education is a priority.
Almost all educators felt a strong need to train themselves on technology. Approximately 88 per cent of faculty requires a technology-based teaching training where the new tools were introduced and practised. Work from home (WFH) as the new normal for the education industry, many of us still feel uncomfortable with time zone switch between home and office. Strategies to manage time, social networking, and stress management seems to be in great need.
I would say the journey has just begun to a more significant change. So, few buzz words/ keywords of the season are – Zoom in and out, Student Engagement, Technology-based teaching, Virtual teams, Online mode, Work from Home, Microsoft teams and Google Classroom. No matter what happens tomorrow, we surely cannot miss the efforts taken by teachers, educators, faculty, and academician to maintain a seamless transition of the traditional system to a modern system. The uncompromising attitude with utmost priority to continue education, a salute to our Heroes @Work, for the undying spirit and their contribution.