The transition to an online mode of learning has paved pathways for various challenging circumstances for all the stakeholders involved. Students, teachers, and parents dealt with their personal apprehensions and reservations to make the best out of the situation. Like any other phenomenon, this too had two sides to it, but it has always worked out for the best when the focus has been on the advantages of a certain situation.
So, to discuss more on advantages of the online mode of learning for all the stakeholders, we had an enlightening discussion with two esteemed panelists from two different fields:
- Mrs. Charu Verma; Teacher, Mount Olympus School
- Mrs. Swati Gupta; Entrepreneur, Parenting Advisor, Mom blogger
What are the advantages of virtual classes for parents?
This question was answered from two different perspectives by both our panelists. From an educator’s point of view, Charu ma’am provided us with very insightful points on the advantages like the dissolved geographical barriers, flexibility, and easy accessibility. Further, she highlighted the accessibility to online study materials which increases the scope of exposure for children. Online learning has facilitated to open up a clearer channel of feedback and assessment between students and teachers which has enhanced the adaptive mechanisms of both teachers and students.
Speaking for the parents, Swati ma’am expressed her deep respect for the immaculate efforts of teachers in helping the children to adapt, and providing a conducive environment free of any uncertainties and complaints.
“Teachers are coming out of their comfort zones, adapting themselves as well as helping students to adapt while maintaining the quality of education at the same time.”
She went on to highlight the holistic effect online learning has had on the development of children as they have become smart and independent in handling their assignments. The technological advancements available have provided them with enough opportunities to be creative and let go of the hand-holding.
Check out: How Productivity can be Achieved through Online Classes
How has virtual learning been a relief for parents?
Charu ma’am provided a very perceptive picture to this question:
- Despite the initial apprehension, the transition brought about a comprehensive connection between the primary stakeholders i.e., students, teachers, and parents. Parents and teachers started working as a team wherein teachers were relaying information to the parents which was implemented by them at home to make this process much easier for children.
- Virtual learning has provided a sense of safety and security to parents.
“Parents have become more vigilant”. Parents are aware of the concepts, techniques, and methods that are being applied in the educational process especially with young learners. This was extremely rare in physical schooling.
- The elimination of the disparity that used to exist between the methods employed for a certain concept taught by the school and at home by the parents or tutors. Parents have better clarity on that front now.
Swati ma’am highlighted the following reasons behind her relief-
- An increased understanding and respect for the efforts teachers put into the entire educational process.
- Parents can now understand that a child’s development is dependent on, both the child and the teacher. They have also gained awareness of the areas of concern.
- With online classes, children have found a refuge from certain unfortunate and negative experiences like bullying and shaming. It is much easier for parents to keep a tab on such incidents in virtual classes when compared to physical classes.
What measures have schools taken to get the parents more involved?
Charu ma’am mentioned some approaches and initiatives that were employed by the teachers of Mount Olympus School during virtual learning which led to consistent parental involvement and contributed towards the growth of students-
- Parents were invited to conduct various workshops on topics like dancing, yoga, cooking, or general life skills. This provided immense happiness to both the giver and receiver. “We had a parent with an agricultural background who volunteered to educate children on how crops are grown in the field”
- Parents with different professional backgrounds were invited to conduct seminars on their respective fields which acted as career guidance especially for senior students
- Webinars were arranged by experts for parents wherein they were provided with a platform to share their concerns and perspectives and get genuine clarification to team up cohesively with the educators.
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What were some of the initial apprehensions and how did you adjust to them?
Swati ma’am gave a detailed explanation of this from her first-hand experience as a parent-
- The increased screen time was a major concern for every parent. This was tackled by a collaborative effort by parents and teachers through certain strategies-
- Between every 40 minutes of class, there was a 10 minutes break in which teachers gave a few suggestions to deal with the screen fatigue like cucumber massage, lying down for some time, meditation, etc.
- Productive screen time replaced unproductive screen time which existed largely before the pandemic and the use of any device after school hours was checked to a certain extent.
- As an incentive, extra screen time was allowed on weekends to connect with friends or for pursuing certain hobbies.
- Concern regarding an unstable routine. Parents ensured to establish a comprehensive timetable for kids. This led to a subconscious adaptation of a stable routine and children adjusted themselves naturally without the parents having to push them much.
- Lack of physical activity. Swati ma’am stated that she ensured that her children were engaged in some form of physical activity at least for 40 minutes a day, be it either dance, Zumba, skipping, etc.
- Children experiencing anxieties and confusions regarding the transition. In such situations, parents had to devote their time and support to children and provide them with a conducive environment to express their concerns.
Charu ma’am added to this-
- Efforts were made to create a friendly environment for virtual classes to replicate what children used to experience during physical classes.
- Arrangements were done to conduct quizzes, chit-chat sessions which are like safe spaces for children to interact with each other which used to be a huge incentive for children’s overall development during the physical classes.
- They also conducted various virtual competitions- intraschool and interschool.
Would you want to continue with the online mode of learning?
Both the sides had disparate views regarding this but that helped to highlight the rather general picture out there-
- Charu ma’am commended the accommodative nature of virtual learning regarding the adaptation of new technologies that have smoothened out a lot of tasks. The ease of carrying out enhanced parent-teacher meetings was highlighted. The time slots don’t have to be compromised and parents can talk more freely about their concerns which they couldn’t do during physical classes.
- Talking about the importance of striking a balance, Swati ma’am talked about the role socialization in the school environment plays in the holistic development of a child. The bonding time with friends and the personal space children require with a sense of autonomy, adds to a strong development of their personality.
- Even with the obvious advantages of online classes like less distraction, time management, and more productivity, the personal touch seems to be missing.
The last message from our panelists:
- The key to get through this transition is to allow things to fall in place eventually, rather than cribbing about the inconveniences. Staying calm will not only work out better for parents but it will help eliminate a lot of confusion for children as well. An elder’s anxieties always reflect on the child and they don’t necessarily have the proper coping mechanisms to deal with it.
- Connect, bond, and nurture every healthy quality in children. Provide them with a happy conducive environment as they have suffered a huge loss in terms of their social dynamics.
- Respect the flexible nature of children’s resilience and nurture it further. They have shown immense adjustment skills with the changing times. Use this opportunity to cater to the growth of strong, resilient, and independent individuals.
This article has been reviewed by our panel. The points, views and suggestions put forth in this article have been expressed keeping the best interests of fellow parents in mind. We hope you found the article beneficial.