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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

From teaching a faceless class to lessons beyond the classroom: teachers share stories of over one year of remote working

The period between March and May 2020 was one of rigorous learning for teachers with the shift to unfamiliar video-conferencing platforms.

Pune |
September 5, 2021 11:36:39 pm
Online teaching, teachers day, online classes, indian express, indian express news, pune, pune news, pune latest news, curent affairsMost teachers plan to use digital tools and their newly acquired skillsets even post-Covid. (Representational)

Written by Taraana Madhok

More than a year after the beginning of remote working, teachers in Pune shared their experience with online classes on Teacher’s Day on September 5.

“Initially, I felt technologically challenged,” says Devina Joshi, a history teacher at Dr Kalmadi Shamarao Junior College, given that “chalk and talk has been the primary mode of instruction”.

The period between March and May 2020 was one of rigorous learning for teachers with the shift to unfamiliar video-conferencing platforms.

“I often felt like I was addressing a wall,” says Bindu Unnikrishnan, physics teacher for Grades X-XII at Vikhe Patil Memorial School, referring to the initial reluctance of students to turn on their cameras. “This batch is my faceless class,” says Veena Thadani, biology teacher at St Mary’s Junior College, marvelling at having spent months teaching students she has never met.

However, teachers have now become more comfortable with technology. Unnikrishnan uses simulations to make physics concepts come alive while Joshi has screened films for her students.

Most teachers plan to use digital tools and their newly acquired skillsets even post-Covid. “The future is one of blended learning,” says Unnikrishnan. “Students’ doubts can be solved even outside the classroom and lessons can be recorded for students who learn at different paces,” she adds.

Pavan Iyengar, co-founder and teacher at DLRC School (Drive Change Learning and Resource Centre), views this phase of learning as one of connection with the home. “The kitchen is the best lab,” he says, explaining how his students have conducted science experiments at home. “An online drama class was unheard of,” says Insiyah Kirloskar (founder of Expression and Freedom Speech and Drama Academy), recounting how she and her senior teacher Mitalee Dalal managed to recreate their entire curriculum, including improvisation activities and end of term plays, online.

“The energy of the kids could be felt even virtually,” adds Dalal.

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