Rebuilding and Reshaping Education in the Post-pandemic World: How It Affects Students and Teachers Alike?
In the second week of March 2020, the world witnessed a solid shutdown everywhere due to the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus. Several preventive measures have been adopted since then and one of them includes the closing down of educational centers, schools, colleges, and universities alike. Apart from putting the bright future of our young citizens into jeopardy, COVID-19 has forced the country to reshape and rethink its learning mechanism and lesson imparting techniques.
Big Changes in Learning and Development in the Post-pandemic World
First of all, there has been increasing use of technology ever since we shifted to the virtual classroom. Earlier on, there would be digital learning but it was limited to a few subjects or certain days when students needed that kind of support. But with remote learning, the process will not be possible without technology.
Some of the media partners have also decided to broadcast these virtual classes and other kinds of educational content through local channels which have helped the rural children to a great extent. Without a proper Internet connection, attending classes was a constant struggle. This problem has been taken care of with such initiatives.
Some online platforms have also made many textbooks and articles free for everyone to access. This is a huge step in the learning experience and has opened a lot of scope for debate and discussion, thereby promoting experiential learning and collaboration.
Personalization of learning is another area where remote learning triumphs. Every student has their own pace of learning and due to machine learning and artificial intelligence, together with powerful data analytics, it has become possible to customize the learning paths of students on a great scale.
Learning new things has become more convenient, equitable, and accessible for many after the pandemic. Since everything is available on the virtual platform, more and more aspiring students can enroll in different courses and classes as they do not have to worry about commuting time and energy. This kind of democratized learning is something we want to continue with in the future.
Having said so, it must be understood that remote learning has also been a challenge to many and has rattled the country, making it difficult for many to cope with the new tools, technology, and the changing patterns of the education industry.
How effective is remote learning in reality?
Some of the immediate steps taken in this regard were a complete shift, in an untested and unprecedented manner, in the process of teaching from physical classrooms to online platforms. Online assessments were carried out on a trial-and-error basis, modification in learning content to suit virtual classrooms using remote learning technology. While the possibility of making this happen over such a short period and preparation was truly commendable but research shows that the online learning model is not suitable for everyone.
Remote learning is fruitful only when the students are continuously given access to the Internet and computers. On the other hand, even teachers need to be familiar with the online instruction style and must be trained to use the tools of remote learning. Since these effective requirements for both the teachers and the students are lagging, it can be safely said that the pandemic has impeded the teaching and learning process to some extent.
While we talk about the relevant teaching and learning tools, it is also imperative to note the lack of other schooling resources which have further contributed to the sad state of education in the post-pandemic world. Other resources denote an uninterrupted power supply, absence of proper monitoring during the classes, and even an increase in the screen-time for children which could also affect their eyesight.
The relationship between a teacher and a student is not merely of lessons and textbooks. This wrapper does not build in a day and is regulated by daily interactions. This beautiful building of a relationship she only has taken a seat back due to the pandemic. No matter how much both the parties try to interact online and some might even be eager enough to solve queries and clear doubts over the telephone after classes to bridge this patchy impersonal experience but the human touch is somewhere missing in this approach. And that makes a huge difference to the overall development of the child which is based on theoretical knowledge as well as an exchange of ideas and experiences with other humans.
We have to also take into account the economic situation of the country. Not everyone is privileged enough to have access to remote learning tools and even if they get hold of a makeshift arrangement, every kid does not have the same situation or environment to study at home. We cannot ignore the disturbing home atmosphere, domestic violence, poverty-stricken families and lack of nutrition, and other childcare problems that have become a horrible reality of many homes in the country. Such financial distresses and economic burdens also tend to have a negative pressure on the children.
Changing the Face of Education in the Post-pandemic World
Now the question is how do we change the reality of remote learning to accommodate the changing mentality of students and teachers?
Since we are now aware of the loopholes, let us hope that we can cater to some of the issues and provide plausible solutions for the same.
- Provide relief: Schools and other educational centers should have proper resources to provide effective remote learning to all the students and teachers, irrespective of their social and economic backgrounds. Students need equipment at home to continue their education, while teachers have to be trained on how to impart knowledge over technological platforms.
- Help in rebuilding: What we need is a more inclusive pattern in remote learning. Redesign the system to involve every kind of student, allow the children to balance their social-emotional skills with the cognitive and consider their challenges while evaluating them. We need a different evaluation system for remote learning as well.
- Understand the purpose of education: This brings us to the last step that we need to look at. And that is to understand the deeper meaning and long-term purpose of education. Instill the idea that the end goal of learning is not a test that you have to pass. Children should be encouraged to think critically and develop a personality of their own based on the learning. This shift in focus can make remote learning more enjoyable and successful in the future.