Teaching in the time of coronavirus: Finding creative ways to engage students
The world has been under a lockdown because of the global pandemic of coronavirus. We are here. We have to go online. Whether you like it or not – educators need to do it. We will need to adapt. No longer can you use a 20-year-old model of a standard classroom to educate your students. There is no tables and chairs where you dictate and students make notes. Nope.
This will prove to be a massive task for educators across the world for sure. Not that design (or media) education has not been digitised, but much of the curricula is still old school. In many parts around the world, even outdated. The taskforce and the time required to make an effective curriculum to teach online is big and long. And to implement it within a few days in all but a stop gap arrangement.
Added to this conundrum is the fact that many of the teachers themselves are not trained to handle the digital teaching style. Out of these, many are unwilling to even adapt. Perhaps a judgement on these teachers would be a little harsh. It is, of course, easier for the younger generation to learn and adapt to newer technologies.
It is improper to say this, but from an education point of view, we are lucky that this lockdown has come at the end of the yearly education cycle. Most schools and colleges are almost at the end of their planned curriculum for an academic year. If this had happened sometime in October or November, we would be prancing around like headless chicken.
Teachers in government schools in the world are often required to cover vast amounts of syllabus over relatively short periods of time. Plus they are teaching cohorts that are typically over 35 students sometimes as big as 60 students per class.
This puts a burden on teachers to stick to old pedagogical practices to finish the curriculum. The teaching in itself is based on textbook based learning. Online learning however is known to take the students away from text book based learning and more towards critical analysis and self motivated education. The pedagogical styles of the teachers also needs to be adjusted and is a relatively new field.
The situation looks rather bleak and a pandemic of this scale is likely to impact the economy and hence the education sector for the next few months if not the next few years
We have to make the best of this situation and the only way that can be done is through self innovation and breaking the norms that many of us have been avoiding. Online education and technology is here to stay and avoiding it or making statements like why this can’t work. It is not the future – it is here, in the present.
Being an ostrich and waiting for this to pass away instead of getting prepared is the worst thing educators can do now.
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