How have schools adapted to the new normal?

Strategies they can implement to retain levels of motivation within the students

Schools have been a major part of every child’s life. Be it playing in the playground, or waiting for your Art class, to sharing ‘dabbas’ in the break. We all have enjoyed our school life, no matter what. Then what about the kids, who unfortunately had to adapt to virtual school, with their homes not only being their playground but also their classroom and some of us have had an opportunity to reflect on what we value and prioritise in life. School plays an important role in shaping the lives of an individual, be it a physical setting or a virtual one. When the pandemic hit us, it was literally changing the educational system overnight.

From blackboards to computer screens, teachers have become creative in every aspect of an online classroom setting, to keep every child engaged. The new normal is continuing to change and there is no clear timeline for when we can expect our lives to return to the “old normal” that many of us long for. Schools were among the first ones to adapt to the new normal situation globally when Covid-19 started. The challenge that the pandemic imposed became one of the best openings for up marketing technology in the classrooms. Incorporating and combining technology with the teaching-learning process, using rare and innovative methods have now become the new normal and also the need of the hour.

The earlier modes of online learning that lacked human touch, collaborative learning environments fill the gap effectively and the techniques and graphical representations that are used, also allow the learners to grasp concepts & facts better, leaving a long- lasting impact through visual learning. A millennial student powered with technology has not only become an active participant but also gets to work on something that they only used to wait for during physical schooling.

Use of technology in education is one of those methods that will help improve the quality of education in India. It is also shifting the way education is planned in India. Technology is turning education from teacher-centered education to both teacher and student-centered education. Virtual classrooms and various online tools today have allowed every school to make the encounter between the teacher and students as close to a real, in-classroom like experience, as possible. Technology-based education makes the education system more translucent and uniform. The schools have balanced between course content, educators, technology and students, but can be implemented only with the availability of basic amenities like internet connectivity, availability and affordability of online systems

It has been a task for the teachers to keep students motivated while not letting their own morale down during this online mode of teaching. Students get motivated when they know their voices are being heard. There are various strategies to help retain students motivation during online learning, they are –

1) Grow a community of learners in your classroom
Students need a classroom environment that is safe, where they are ready to take risks and struggle. To achieve this goal, the students and teacher must work together towards common goals. Students must be willing to work and assist other students in class. Struggle should be accepted and encouraged as a part of the learning process. Transforming this outdated model of students taking notes and studying independently to include more time where students are talking to students brings about true community.

2) Establish expectations and clear goals
When expectations are transparent, students know where their learning is regulated and are motivated to get there because it seems possible. Working towards daily, weekly, and yearly goals gives students a purpose and a meaning for the hard work that they do. Goals are a critical component of distance learning.

3) Motivate with rewards and praise
As teachers, we already know that praise and reward are better motivators than punishment. If you celebrate students who engage responsibly with online learning, their peers will follow. One can even create a virtual reward chart or ‘gold star’ system. Rewards and praises don’t just motivate distance learners. They allow them to feel connected too. A single positive comment lets a student know that their teacher is still devoted to their learning and growth, no matter how far away they happen to be.

4) Make Your Class Interactive
The simplest way to check if your class is actually listening, is to ask them questions. Teachers can maintain student engagement by keeping them on their toes with questions throughout the class. Even the idea that they could be asked a question will be enough to keep students that bit more engaged throughout the online class.

5) Add Quizzes & Challenges to Your Online Lessons
Everyone loves a quiz… Challenges and online quizzes are great for helping students get motivated for the lesson, as well as recapping what was covered in the previous class. Instinctive quizzes are particularly good for motivating those less engaged students, who may be unprepared for classes.

6) Encourage Collaboration
Students are also more likely to stay engaged if they are required to work together on class projects. Collaboration is a vital skill for students of any age to learn, and can be worked on through class discussion, team building exercises or group projects.

7) Build Competency
The learning has to matter for it to motivate learners. Effective content can build competency by engaging learners through engaging and gripping stories that show the content in the context of real-world scenarios.

8) Feed Creativity and Critical Thinking
Rote, boring tasks that require little thought do not serve to motivate students, leading to ineffective courses. To motivate learners, provide opportunities for students to engage in a deeper level of thinking.

Motivated learners are engaged learners, and engaged learners are successful learners.

– By Nikita Turakhia
26 year old strong headed but a compassionate woman. Masters & P. G. Diploma in Counselling Psychology.
Passionate about art. Love anything that has to do with Paints and Paper. Striving to be my best. Learning and growing through this journey called ‘Life’
” We rise by lifting others ” – this quote by Robert Ingersoll is deeply rooted within me.

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