The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all the areas of life, viz. psychological, social, financial, health, and the list go on. Never imagined witnessing such a pandemic would trap the entire world so quickly without any prior notice. Every sector of life is suffering from the fallout. However, there is, yet, much more to think of beyond this situation.
Talking particularly about academics, with the lockdown announcement, the educational system is entirely at stake, which raises the stress, anxiety, and restlessness among the research scholars and students. With the decision by universities to close labs and classes, prioritising the health of citizens and prevent the outbreak of COVID-19, it has put the education and research of universities at rest for a moment. Nevertheless, it was also the most needful action required during this emergency.
The only way out to sustain education and supplement the students is online coaching. The only way to tackle the issue and to ensure the continuing participation of the students and keeping the teaching fraternity in touch with students is leading to ‘work from home’ mode all over the world.
The single approach to reduce the burden is to go online, meet students virtually, and make them feel comfortable with presence during this global crisis. Otherwise, without such involvement, the students may spend the entire day thinking, reading and being fearful of stories of this pandemic. It should be well understood that it an emergent teaching style, not the regular online classes.
Working from home can be hard-hitting to adjust to the home atmosphere and to turn the home atmosphere into a working culture as well as a learning atmosphere. Therefore, expecting 100% can cause setbacks.
Here are some suggestions to keep the virtual teaching-learning process smooth:
- Due to the regular supply of reading material and the regular attention of educators, the career anxiety of the students is lowered. It is also beneficial for the teachers to remain in touch with their teaching assignments. On the other hand, it is potentially complicated for work-life balance in some cases.
- During the crisis, students need more emotional support and motivation than receiving a lot of reading resources etc. Students can have a sense of satisfaction and pleasure that there are still people to support their academics; it facilitates students ongoing with their daily assignments and to avoid anxiety and stress.
- Moreover, once these exceptional circumstances are over, students will have lesser anxiety to re-engage into academics. Their momentum would be less affected.
- Students acquire better dealing with the internet and for using the resources online efficiently. Because of it, there are chances that learners may extend their virtual networks.
- It is useful if lectures are pre-scheduled and conveyed well of time so that students can make the needful adjustments in time to avoid the last-minute chaos.
- Better, thoroughly convey the students if delivering lectures online is not very comfortable for the educator, because this requires more of confession, empathy, more confidence, and adaptability instead of being perfect at all. Efforts should be made to help the students to the maximum level, not attaining perfection during this critical phase. Keep the expectations at the lowest to feel right at the most. In addition, in some cases, inadequate internet connection and data may be a limiting factor in this regard. Therefore, it is OK; whatever is possible must be appreciable within the carrying capacity of each educator.
- Unpredictability and adjustment with technology can take time and slow down the learning process.
- There can be insufficient knowledge regarding the assessment of needs of students while they are in home quarantined, which is mostly possible in classroom settings; as capturing the interest of students for a long time needs more of students’ engagement in the lectures, by taking them into the discussion and providing a hands-on learning experience.
- The timing of the lectures/engagement is very critical and ought to be kept between the usual working hours (9am to 5pm) because fewer efforts are required to systematise the work.
- Make sure to receive anonymous feedback from the students for better performance in the future.
This form of teaching is a service more than a job activity towards humanity. Hoping that COVID-19 crisis will be soon over, and we shall switch back to the normal state of living.
Image credit: Freepik
Parmveer Singh is an Assistant Professor of Extension Education at Khalsa College Amritsar in India. You can connect with him on Twitter @Parmsingh92