One year of Remote Teaching: Looking Back
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the schools were closed last year. Teachers, however, tried different ways to reach students. This was a shift no one anticipated and I was curious about all these efforts. As I observed, in Maharashtra, the different ways used by teachers included but not limited to the following
1. Virtual classes (ZOOM, Google Meet etc)
2. Uploading teaching videos to YouTube
3. Tests using Google forms/ Kahoot/Testmoz etc
4. Daily Educational smart PDFs
5. Teaching a small group
6. Providing homework sheets
7. One-to-one/conference calls
8. WhatsApp messages
9. TV/Radio programs
10. Support from volunteer/parents
The purpose of this article is neither to evaluate nor to make any comment about these efforts. In this article, I am sharing learning and challenges with the reference of my personal experiences. I am also trying to jot down what I will do differently this year.
I] More focus on Assessment: Generally, in normal times, whenever someone asks me about any of my students, I have a clear picture of his strengths and weaknesses in my mind. Last year was an exception to this. Though I tried online tests, asked them to solve worksheets and post photos on WhatsApp, I was not completely sure about the achievements of each and every student. This year, I am planning to give more focus on assessing the competencies in small group teaching, in one-to-one interaction and via phone calls.
II] Regulating the forwards: I would get useful material in my professional network and I would forward it to the WhatsApp group of my class. At times, it was getting a bit more than necessary and because of this, I could not keep track of all the material and my student’s responses. This year I am planning to regulate my inputs, forwards and give more focus on effective follow-up and feedback of the material I have provided.
III] Establishing harmony in the learning experiences: Another drawback of forwarding material was all the inputs, our interaction in the virtual/offline class and material were not really connected. In other words, I tried to teach the same thing using a YouTube video, by face-to-face interaction and by PDF at different times and all these experiences were not connected to each other. This year I’ll try to provide experiences in harmony with each other.
IV] Interaction patterns: When I was providing learning material in the form of smart PDF/ YouTube video, there was no scope for students’ responses. Even in our virtual classes, on our WhatsApp groups, and in our face-to-face meetings, most of the time teaching-learning was almost a one-way process. I was so much anxious that I would think to make the most of the time I get with my kids, and because of the anxiety and wish to teach as much as possible in a limited time, I was the one who spoke the most. This year, I am planning to use various interaction patterns.
I would like to know more about your learning and plans for next year. Please share about it in the comment section below.