COVID-19 has taken all of us to unknown territories and situations which we are challenged to face and find ways of mitigating the struggles and pains of people all over the world. One of the side effects of measures being taken to control the spread of this virus is the closing down (Lockdown) of everything in many countries. India is not untouched by this pandemic and we are keeping our fingers crossed not knowing how things are going to play up in the coming days. In fact, in the country everything is in complete lock down mode and everything has come to a standstill. This includes all the educational institutions as well and everyone is trying to figure out possibilities of maintaining student engagement during these days to ensure that the momentum of learning is maintained and continued.
We, at St. Xavier’s Higher Secondary School, Bettiah, took it as a challenge as well as an opportunity to explore and initiate a few activities which otherwise we had never thought of. As luck would have it, it is the end of the school year for us and we were expected to begin the new school year from April 01, 2020. This added a new challenge to the academic situation since we were just getting ready for the new school year, neither the students nor the teachers were ready with any of the required study materials including textbooks. In spite of these difficulties, we have identified three possible activities with the collaboration of our teachers and other agencies which we will be launching from April 01, 2020.
Our first and main activity during the lockdown will be to live stream regular classes by our own teachers which will be accessible to our students. This may not sound as something special to many but for us who are quite new to using technology in the field of education, it is a challenge. It is also a challenge for us since many of us will not have the required technology back up in our own houses. Therefore, it is a challenge to implement this with the minimum technology for the maximum benefit of our students. Yet our enthusiastic teachers are ready to take up this challenge to engage our students in the best way possible in the coming few days.
We will also be launching a special programme in Mathematics in association with one of our collaborating agencies. The name of the programme is Mindspark which is a graded self-learning programme in Mathematics developed by Educational Initiatives, an agency involved in developing innovative learning tools in the field of school education. In this programme, the students of the school will be given access to this learning platform for two months free of cost and they will be able to learn Mathematics in an atmosphere free from the fear of failure and comparison. This programme also will be launched for our students from April 01, 2020.
We have found that the habit of reading has been steadily declining among young learners. We are planning to use this lockdown opportunity to engage our students in regular reading exercise. In this area also we encountered the problem of making reading materials available to our students since they have no access to our regular library. Technology and generosity of persons once again came to our aide and we found the required reading resources online. We will be using the resources available on stories.audible.com/discovery. This resource has sufficient reading materials for all age groups beginning with young learners to students of secondary classes. This activity will be monitored and guided by our language teachers. Hopefully, this will generate a new enthusiasm and interest in reading among our students.
Besides these three main activities in which all our students will be engaged, individual teachers will engage their students in various other activities. This will include providing the students with teacher created worksheets in various subjects, lesson modules, lecture videos, etc. using our school communication system with our students and parents. We will be making special efforts to ensure that our students go through an experience of joyful learning during this difficult and challenging period.