The ongoing lockdown has been a testing phase for all of us, and teachers are no exception. But our gurus have risen to the occasion, showing grit and determination, in ensuring that education does not come to a pause and the academic year is as ‘normal as it possibly can be’. Their challenge has been multifold: engaging students, making classes interesting, and completing the syllabus on time.
Times NIE talks to these unsung Covid Warriors on how they turned the tide in their favour with limited resources and a packed schedule...
Tune in to the Budget class
Well, we are not talking about the FM’s Budget speech, but preparing our students to learn the nitty-gritty of a budget from an Economics chapter, which at times can become boring and too technical to explain. With students not being physically present, it has become a daunting task to explain the important subject in a way that can make learning fun without any tension, uncertainty, or panic. So, I converted the budget chapter of economics for class XII students to a Malayalam song, with a rhythm and tune that will make children sing, dance, and learn.
Pramod MaliankarA, SNV Sanskrit HSS, North Paravur, Ernakulam
'Oru sambathika varsha kalayalvil
Munkootti kanakakki thayyarakunu
kannikkunna sambathika rekhayathra'
Budget...Budget...(for one fiscal duration;
calculating anticipatory income
and expenditure, this financial record is, Budget... Budget.....)
Camera, action, zoom!
With the pandemic being the hot topic of discussion everywhere, I thought to add some drama to my virtual class by bringing in role-play to explain a topic. It not only led to an increased attention span among students but also added a fun element to the classroom. Students understood the topic better and bonded well too. Importantly, such an endeavour made students understand and retain a subject better than a typical 30-minute lecture.
Meenakshi Dev Sharma, Tilak Public School, Mumbai
Innovation: A group of students is selected and given a topic; they explain the topic through a short enactment. For instance, to explain the ongoing economic downslide, I asked a few students to enact a skit to depict the cause and effect of the economic crisis. The students donned the hat of an industrialist, supplier, a wholesale dealer, etc, to explain the demand and supply chain, and how their functions are affected by the economy.
Lab in the kitchen
It’s not easy to conduct classes online, especially ones with a practical component. Chemistry is one such subject that is heavily-dependent on experiments So, the challenge has been manifold — to explain, make it interesting, and conduct experiments — to make students feel involved. Therefore, I decided to make my students perform experiments by using simple things from their daily lives.
Shubhangi Sharma, Doon World School, Raksha Vihar, Dehradun
Innovation: I explained each topic by giving them a real-life example. To explain to them about acid and base, I asked them to perform indicator experiment themselves, by using turmeric (as an indicator), lemon as an acid, and soap as a base. Similarly, while explaining the concept of hard and soft water, I used tap water and distilled water by dissolving soap and detergents in both types of water to show them the different qualities of hard and soft water, and their effects. For orbital hybridisation (the concept of mixing atomic orbitals into new hybrid orbitals), I used cake made from flour and egg in a specific ratio.
To make chemistry lessons interesting and easy to understand, I decided to set up a small lab at home to conduct experiments, while teaching online.
Sukhvinder Kaur, GGIS, Pune
Innovation: From toiletries to various spices that are readily available in the kitchen, I conducted experiments using utensils as apparatus to perform experiments. It was a unique experience for students, as they explored, performed, and understood the concept clearly.
Online classes can be monotonous. So, it was essential for me to think of something innovative to connect with my students, and that led me to create a digital story telling app to make my classes interesting.
Mahafreen Jambusarwala, Zebar School For Children, Ahmedabad
Innovation: The ‘Digital Story Telling App’, Sway, converts the PDF of a lesson into something fantastic that can be done at the click of a button. Recently, I explained the poem, ‘Amanda’ through this app, by adding texts and images to discuss the tone, setting, poetic devices, etc. I could even include videos like that of Rapunzel to give a different feel.
From blackboard to smartboard
When the lockdown began, a communication gap developed between teachers and students. To fix this, I created a classroom-like situation with the Raptor smart board that was provided to me by the school. Additionally, I invested in a good quality webcam, wireless headphones, a projector, and a Bluetooth dongle to give a look and feel of a classroom.
Josuva Abraham V, SBOA Global School, Chennai
Innovation: Thanks to the screen-sharing feature on the Zoom app, the smart board not only acts like a blackboard, on which one can write lessons but also helps me in accessing files and make PPT presentations that can be displayed directly to students. The webcam helps students to view their teachers and the classroom clearly, which in turn makes the experience more interactive. The Bluetooth headset helps me to pick up things that I can display through the webcam.
With marketing becoming one of the basics to survive in this market-friendly world, I came up with the idea to use marketing as a tool to teach my students. This allowed my students to learn research and presentation skills, and also persuasive language features.
Surya Subha Banerjee, Calcutta Intl School, Kolkata
Innovation: I divided students into groups, who in turn, were asked to do extensive research on the features of persuasive language, such as the application of ethos, logos, and pathos. Once the concepts got clear to them, each group was asked to adopt a cause or a product to market it. In groups, they applied the persuasive techniques to come up with a marketing strategy, and sell/promote the product/cause. The students created websites, digital posters, ran a social media campaign to suit the purpose. The lesson not only enabled me to teach them the essential language skills, the techniques of persuasion, but also helped me in connecting the topics with the real world.
Let’s look at the ‘reel’ picture
Yes, we literally screened movies for our students to make history classes interesting, and keep them focussed.
Suruchi Gandhi, Bal Bharati Public School, Dwarka, New Delhi
Innovation: After watching films and documentaries on topics, like the French Revolution or the Indian Freedom Movement, students are asked to discuss important dates and events pertaining to the topic, which in turn help them to memorize a chapter.
With students losing focus, I found sending voice notes as a unique method to disseminate knowledge among my learners.
Jagmeet Kaur Bhatti, St Joseph’s Sr Sec School, Sec 44, Chd
Innovation: The methodology proves to be avant-garde, as students are able to recapitulate and review their learning while walking, jogging, or relaxing, just by hearing the buzz words, value points, and tipping points of that lesson.