National, September 23, 2020:Decision makers in any country that is facing the global pandemic today need to re-evaluate the ability of their school system to provide education for their students. Schools have been asked to quickly put together new instructional strategies, professional development and learning programs for their teachers and students. Teachers have been made to transition their classrooms to the cloud, set up digital learning environments and run their teaching practices online. Although many may have some previous experience from blended learning strategies and the flipped classroom model, this transition goes beyond anything that we have seen before.
In the present circumstances, there is an opportunity and a need. The need is to on-board teachers to remote learning practices, while the opportunity is wider – to improve classroom teaching all round. This is not just about teaching and learning during the pandemic – interventions should have the potential to outlast the pandemic and that is why they need to be structured in a sustainable manner, if they are to be successful. This is also an opportunity to upskill our teachers. Not just enable them to meet the demands of remote learning, but to significantly improve their teaching practices in the long term.
In this context, we at FICCI ARISE (Alliance for Re-imagining School Education), in collaboration with Samagra Shiksha J&K, Department of School Education and UNICEF, organized a four-day Masterclasses series on ‘Remote Schooling’ for teachers of Government schools of Jammu and Kashmir. The resource persons were a team of experts from ‘I Am A Teacher (IAAT)’ who delivered these specialized Masterclasses through online medium to over 250 teachers in a series of highly immersive and interactive sessions on 2nd, 4th, 7th and 9th September.
The four masterclasses focused on:
PRACTICING PROFESSIONALISM: Building parental Involvement and student wellbeing
PLANNING: Creating lesson plans for remote learning
DELIVERING: Managing student engagement online
ASSESSING: Designing online assessments
At the Valedictory Session, Project Director – Samagra Shiksha J&K, Dr. Arun Manhas (KAS) said that “COVID-19 has thrown an unprecedented challenge before the teaching community, but the teachers have taken up this challenge bravely and ensuring that the children are learning despite the odds. Hence, we at the Department of School Education were glad that such capacity building programmes were organized by FICCI ARISE to build the capacities of teachers and to motivate them as well.”
He was joined by Mr. Irfan Guju, Chairman-FICCI J&K State Council and Managing Director, IA Multi Venture Pvt. Ltd. who said that “The current pandemic has completely changed the landscape of education globally and hoped that these Masterclasses have been able to live up to the vision of acting as a catalyst between Government and private efforts, which is also the genesis of FICCI as an industry body. This is perhaps the challenge of our lifetime. Let’s come together to ensure that ‘learning doesn’t stop’.”
The participating teachers said that they were delighted to be a part of such an initiative of Samagra Shiksha and would like to see more of such programmes in the future.