23 September 2021 12:10

Lessons Learnt from Pre and Post COVID-19’ teaching methodology

COVID-19 has disrupted the educational system due to the closure of schools, universities, and other educational institutions. This becomes even worse with vulnerable students belonging to low and middle-income groups and inclusive students. Under the impact of COVID-19, teaching becomes even more challenging, especially in relation to teaching practical components and philosophical themes. However, the teaching methodology has been forced to adopt a Global change.

Many schools and universities are forced to go for online or blended mode or distance learning, which comes with its peculiar difficulties. This article explores these problems and suggests possible solutions to achieve success with respect to teaching methodology.

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‘New Normal’ for Sustainable teaching and learning

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Inability to afford the computer, smartphones, high-speed internet plans and connectivity gadget is a significant hurdle to make online mode successful. The majority of students in developing nations come from a low and medium-income group, as they face difficulty under COVID-19 to procure these gadgets. Universities, schools, and other educational institutions also feel the pressure to make these devices available to the students and sustain learning. The government’s educational budget is strained under these circumstances. However, teaching methodology noticed a significant transformation. As short lessons with minimum slides are inserted, as maximum oral presentations can convey the motto of courses. In applying this pedagogy, many subjects need to overcome theoretical traditional subject teaching methodology.

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The new methodology reflects more videos, speeches, pictures, oral accounts, and multimedia technology. This support attracts the student’s concentration and creates curiosity to explore the subject. The number of additional material or supplementary readings has increased where students need to read more to imply the theoretical knowledge of practical implications. Teachers have to take care of copywriter clauses while given the resource material (YouTube videos, books, articles, reports, speeches, documentaries, and other tools), as links are provided to download the resources from the original resource provider.  Many educators have faced hurdles with conducting web-based classroom teaching, having online meetings, working from home, enhancing their digital skills, and communicating to students who have left behind.

For Example, History is a fascinating subject if made interactive, but it may also become dull if not taught correctly. The curiosity of the students is ignited by citing contemporary examples, as students are learning about the past in the present for the future. Teachers have adopted a student-centric approach by adopting new technology that is familiar and easy to use; giving time to students to work offline; showing flexibility to submit assignments, empathy towards students; provide a second chance to genuine cases. Teachers adopted innovative means to maintain connectivity by including discussion forums, quizzes, chat sessions, surveys, feedbacks, and online tutorials/workshops.

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Moreover, students and teachers face the technical glitches of an internet connectivity problem, online video call drop, slow internet speed, and updating of software errors. Free internet providing is an enormous challenge for schools, universities, and private institutions. Teachers have learned a wide range of online learning tools, and some nations also adopted educational television and radio programs to continue the teaching and learning process.

Promising Future

Despite these challenges, one has to move towards a “New Normal” in education to teach in online or blended mode, as education cannot take a back seat. The new teaching methodology seems to have a promising future for learning, as it is based on delivering online quality education. There may be a debate or even contestation to conduct online exams, but under these unprecedented circumstances, the physical health of all educational stakeholders cannot be put at risk. Education creates human capital, and safeguarding their health is the topmost priority. Thus, educational planning and policy-making become highly significant as no child should be left behind.

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Education stakeholders have proved resilient to maintain sustainable learning and teaching and achieve their academic goals. Pandemic reminds about the forces that are beyond the control of humans. Successful teaching requires coordination between all educational stakeholders, i.e. students-teachers, parents-students, teachers-parents, government-schools/universities, policymakers-policy enforcers. Researches have begun to analyse the impact of this teaching methodology due to COVID-19 on the educational system and its ramifications that have forced us to move towards the innovation of digital teaching and learning methodology.

Therefore, teaching practical and highly complicated philosophical themes will be a challenge and goals will be made to achieve quality education to achieve sustainability; in a similar vein, students are trying their best to adjust to this new digital model. After coming of COVID-19, the Universities will certainly try to return to pre-Covid-19 teaching methodology, but one has to take positives out of digital pedagogy to combine them for the best possible mode.

Universities in the Pacific Islands carry an immense reputation and consider has a hub of tertiary education that give knowledge to thousands of students and develop the nation’s human capital.

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Disclaimer: Dr. Sakul Kundra is an assistant professor in history, Acting Head of the Department of Social Science, College of Humanities and Education, at Fiji National University. Ph.D. History, M.Phil History;  and Gold Medalist in PGD in Education, USP. The views expressed are his own and not of this newspaper or his employer.

For comments or suggestions, email. [email protected]

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