Online Education: Packing our children into the World Wide Web?
There is a maddening rush from most schools to not waste a moment and be the ‘first’ or the ‘best’ to showcase that nothing will be affected during these unprecedented pandemic times followed by knee jerk reactions to keep things moving on in desperation to fake normalcy. But was the “normal” we had the ideal anyway? How much of “normal” do we want to go back to?
In a classroom of 30 odd students where one teaching style never fitted all ; where teachers complained of lack of time to reach out to individual needs of each student here we are attempting to do all of that by having 30 little faces on one screen and call it education and connection!
Are we really “educating” children online or sustaining “schooling”?
Schooling happens at school and education can happen anywhere. Schooling can only be one strand that contributes to education. So what exactly are we trying to move online? Schooling or Education? And if it is schooling, isn’t an integral part of school also interpersonal relationships, bonding and camaraderie that is completely overlooked in this model? It becomes nothing short of a gimmick when we as teachers or parents regardless of the extent of genuine intent or effort head nowhere in full speed. Especially while attempting to reach out school children (those below 18)
“Most of the time, we see only what we want to see, or what others tell us to see, instead of really investigate to see what is really there. We embrace illusions only because we are presented with the illusion that they are embraced by the majority. When in truth, they only become popular because they are pounded at us by the media with such an intensity and high level of repetition that its mere force disguises lies and truths. And like obedient schoolchildren, we do not question their validity and swallow everything up like medicine. Why? Because since the earliest days of our youth, we have been conditioned to accept that the direction of the herd, and authority anywhere — is always right.” ― Suzy Kassem
* Is there a clear cut objective for each online session?
* Are we trying to impart curriculum information to the students or are we instilling the children a quest for knowledge.
* Do we know if all the students have access to high speed internet and good devices too?
* Are teachers trained to take this on?
* Do they have high speed internet and good devices at home?
* Is the session to complete portions or to entertain the children or just to say hello?
* How are we going to get feedback if we delivered what we proposed to?
* How long do you want the children to stare into a screen close to their eyes?
* How many children can independently and responsibly be online without supervision? If not, are their parents expected to sit along every session?
* How do we handle if a child is misusing the session the child is being misused or abuse online.
* Are these online platforms safe?
* Do we know the privacy and cyber laws around getting children below 18 on video calls with an adult?
* Did parents sign of for this? Was there informed consent in this sudden change?
* Do we first attempt it among teachers before starting with children?
*Is it necessary to have all 20 or 30 students in one go and not have any meaningful connect with anyone, can there be smaller groups
*How do we manage differentiated teaching and keep in mind Inclusive Education needs
* Are we in an emergency situation to teach or can we let the children take a break?
*Did children learn only from teachers? Did homes do nothing?
* Is and Audio and Visual over-stimulation good? What happens to tactile, kinesthetic, vestibular and proprioceptive needs – the fundamentals of learning!
* Is education only about information , isn’t getting involved in household work, playing board games with family, discussing movies or news together also part of growing up and learning?
* Are parents that incapable of managing children at home that they needed schools to step in to help?
*Did any parent ask for help? Did we check on each one of them like we did when they sought admission to the school?
* What was happening during all previous summer vacations!
* Can we in turn send good links (if that necessary!) that will teach the same concept so that children learn it in their space at their pace. If parents are not able to find it on their own that is
* Are we so activity bound? Can children not be allowed to be bored and find their own ways to handle leisure? Isn’t that education, exploration and creativity as well?
* If we want to connect with children on how they doing , their mental health, their routine and so on – Isn’t it a better idea to just pick up the phone, call and speak to them and their parent and offer individualized support as needed?
* Are we getting obsessed with asking parents and children to click pictures of all sessions?
*Is everything about showcasing that we are doing something?
* Why not give the teachers a break! Don’t they have families and children too?
* Can this break be utilized for effective planning on how to head forward?
* Why not the next academic year begin in September and end in July!
* Why don’t we learn to SLOW DOWN!!!
And finally Dear Parents don’t question your ability to teach your child. Question putting your child into the same system that left you feeling incapable of teaching your child….
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