ONLINE TEACHING: A NEW CHALLENGE FOR TEACHERS

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Aarti Malhotra
Assistant professor in English
Department of English,
Cultural studies and Foreign Languages
Khalsa College patiala

Although technology can never replace a teacher, but a teacher, well equipped with this applied science can be probably replaced with one who do not. Every year Teacher’s Day make people remember the crucial role played by a teacher in achieving quality education. But the teachers’ role became more crucial as when the novel corona virus escalated into a global pandemic, a difficult decision was taken all over the world for shutting down the educational institutions and shifting towards distance learning that proved out to be troublesome for the teachers, students and parents uniformly. The teachers faced even greater challenges as they not only had to ensure the continuity of learning but also had to take care of the mental health and the wellbeing of the students. Making sure that the learners stay engaged and do not loose motivation was one of the biggest challenges of remote learning during COVID-19 crises.

Pedagogy in the 21st century has become more spirited than ever. The development in technology has perpetually transformed teaching process which has further brought new challenges to the teachers in schools and colleges. Different institutions are in a race to furnish students with the environment of best digital education, which is only possible when the educators take the responsibilities, squarely on their shoulders because they are the only bridge between learning material and the learners.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major, positive as well as negative impact on education. Now the question arises, what exactly are the new challenges brought out by Corona virus in the field of education? Talking particularly about a country like India, due to this rampant, the students were at a great risk of becoming passive learners, as the students were shifted to online learning without any preparation because the country was not ready with the backbone for online learning and the curriculum was also not designed for such a format, which resulted in slow learning and lack of interest among students. It not only exacerbated the educational policies but also had a severe impact on most vulnerable and marginalized boys and girls and their families. Moreover, when the institutions closed unexpectedly for unknown duration, the teachers found themselves in a problematic situation as how to maintain connections with students to support learning. The teachers were unfamiliar with many of the online platforms that were used for teaching remotely. This became an additional challenge for the teachers to absorb latest information and keep track of the teaching-learning process.  In a survey, it was found that teachers had more mental health issues and higher stress levels than most other professions, but here the pillars of society, the educators accepted the provocation and adopted distance learning platform in a short span which was an enormous challenge, both human and technical.

Most teachers felt they’ve responded to the challenge and they’ve done their best under difficult conditions as most were working harder and more hours than before. The teachers well equipped with technological knowledge brought out  many bright sides of digital learning, as in many ways it has been proved out applicable not only academically but also in learning extracurricular activities. Remote learning popped up as an unavoidable resource for students and institutions all over the world. Learning became easier for the learners as various halls of knowledge armed themselves with the latest technology for taking forward the educational process. New methods for online teaching-learning were promoted due to the current pandemic, which further proved out to be fruitful for both, the student as well as the teacher.

The teacher tackles the class with various e-learning platforms as no individual is same. Different learner has different interest of learning. Such as some students are solo learners, some prefer grasping through audio lessons whereas, others favor video lectures. Miscellaneous learners were benefitted according to their needs with a suitable environment. Moreover, since online classes can be taken from home it reduces chances of students missing out lectures. Thus, online learning offers students the accessibility of time and place in education.

Apart from this, teachers have become more efficient tutors as they have moved beyond the traditional textbook teaching and shifted towards different online teaching tools such as PDFs, videos, webinars, online presentations and many more due to which sharing the learning material during  online classes becomes more comfortable. Recorded lectures could be saved by the students for future needs. The teachers individually and collectively have innovated, inventing new ways of teaching and developing new curricula and pedagogies. Many feel they are improving as teachers; many are offering significant support to colleagues. The governing authorities should ensure availabilities of digital infrastructure and connectivity in rural as well as remote areas. And also make sure that whether the mode of teaching is blended, hybrid or with high-low or no technological environment the teacher should be well equipped with various online pedagogical skills. It will prove out to build more resilient teacher workforce in the times of crises.

From embracing remote learning opportunities to providing emergency childcare, our teachers have stepped up to the plate. They more than deserve the new-found appreciation being shown to them, says Professor Tony Gallagher from the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s. So the teachers should be praised for the amazing job for which they have tried to give their best. In fact everyone should be confident that the educators are so swift towards their work that when all this will be over, the teachers will be ready to do the other transaction, as to returning back to normal schooling and filling the gaps over what we have gone through.

 

 

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