The last few months have brought about unprecedented changes in school education, and teachers too have had to adapt themselves to ensure that students have taken to a new system — one that has moved completely online.
Several schools have had teacher training programmes through the year; these too have been taken online with a focus on holistic development.
“We’ve had a lot of teachers sign up for a week-long certification course in online teaching as well as schools that have shown interest in signing up their teachers for the same. The focus is on lesson planning, classroom communication, student assessment and remediation in an online environment,” said Anjali Jain, founder and director, Centre for Teacher Accreditation (CENTA).
At weekly free webinars that CENTA conducts for teachers, a range of topics are discussed. “There are several ICT tools that lend themselves well to online teaching and assessments which more teachers should be aware of. Managing a classroom of children virtually comes with its own challenges and we need user-friendly teaching aids that make our classes engaging,” said Indra Priyadarshini, who conducted a webinar on how to effectively use Google Forms and Padlet for student evaluation.
LEAD School, an ED Tech company, launched a free teacher development programme and certification under its Teacher’s Academy last month. It focuses on not just teaching skills required for an online environment but also on the need to provide emotional and social support. CEO and co-founder Sumeet Mehta said the company focuses on building resources and community for teachers across India, and the programme is aimed at improving teaching abilities and learning outcomes.
Several schools that engage experts during a regular academic year to address the teachers on areas like classroom communication have held these interactions online in the form of webinars.
From June, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has been sending regular circulars to its affiliated schools asking teachers and principals to take up courses on the DIKSHA platform on a range of topics.
“We have been encouraging our teachers to take up these courses available on the platform, and there are several options which include subject-wise courses as well as topics that focus on holistic development. The courses are extremely useful for the teachers,” said Ashok Shankar, general secretary, CBSE Schools Management Association.
Teachers are also stressing the need to mandate training programmes, with a clear focus on mental health. “This is especially a must before schools reopen. Teachers should be equipped to speak to students and reassure them about the situation since there has been no direct interaction with them for over seven months now,” said P.K. Ilamaran, president, Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Association.