MUMBAI: The honeymoon period for ‘learn from home’ seems to be over in several city households. After the initial excitement of online classrooms, parents now find themselves doing a tightrope walk as they share gadgets and handhold children through learning sessions.
An Airoli resident and mother of two has been starting her day earlier than usual because she needs to spare her work laptop for her children. “For my five-year-old, I connect a phone to the TV screen, but my seven-year-old son has to use the laptop for three hours for live online classes. Either my husband or I have to take time off work. I start my office work earlier than usual to make up for the lost time,” she said.
Parents also have to take frequent breaks to assist children. “The online learning has a lot of instructions and children are not able to follow them all and navigate. When made to sit by herself, my seven-year-old calls out to me frequently because she can’t move ahead,” said a banking professional from Malad. With no printer in the house, she has to replicate all the worksheets the school sends.
Some schools, however, are treading the space with caution. At NL Dalmia School in Mira Road, live sessions are conducted only for classes IX to XII. “For up to class III, we send a list of light activities to keep the children engaged. For class IV onward, we send out curriculum-related worksheets, but there is no deadline so children have the flexibility to work at their own pace. For the higher classes, too, the live sessions are not beyond three hours a day,” said principal, Seema Saini.
Experts advice a more scientific approach to the process. “A lot of schools, under pressure from parents, joined the ‘live bandwagon’ without being prepared for it. There is a problem of resources, connectivity and time which means not all students can login at the same time and with similar ease. The teachers have to do their chores, get ready and speak in front of the camera for hours which isn’t sustainable either. Instead, schools must provide students with curated content at the start of the week, which the students must be able to do offline. This will give them the flexibility to study when the gadget is available. The teacher has to take on a more advisory role instead of handholding students,” said Fatema Agarkar, an educationist, adding, we must accept such a situation could reoccur in future and we must remodel our education system for the same.
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