Sushma Raturi is an enthusiastic professional educator with over 25 years of varied work experience in the field of education. She is an alumna of St. Mary’s, Shillong, who after obtaining a gold medal in her post-graduate course in Public Administration, decided to do her Bachelors in Education to pursue her childhood dream of being an educator. Currently, she is working with Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Schools as Head of Teaching, Learning and Training. She is also Member Secretary of Saamarthya Teachers Training Academy of Research (STTAR), a premier teachers’ training institute that aims to develop teaching competencies based on extensive research on all aspects of education.
Educators across the world have time and again proven their mettle by facing the toughest crisis in imparting education to the most distressed students while being affected by similar situation themselves.
Conflicts, natural calamities, and pandemics have disrupted education across the world. During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, teachers were thrown off gear while adapting to teaching in the distance learning mode. Such a rapid transition was very challenging and stressful as they had to figure out the way to use the digital tools competently and also revamp the curricula and pedagogies that would keep the students engaged. In some cases, teachers had to device different strategies and create customized lessons to assist their students in navigating the world of distance learning.
Amid crisis, the responsibility of making the classroom environment conducive to learning falls on the teachers. To this end, both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation plays an important role in shaping a teacher’s attitude towards their profession. A plethora of case studies have shown that it is the intrinsic motivation that helps teachers to optimize their own practice. In turn, they device ways to keep their students motivated by using diverse innovative approaches which results not only in improved learning but also better teacher satisfaction.
With rapid changes in the education ecosystem, the profiles of both learners and teachers have undergone a sea change and more so during a crisis, be it of any nature. The mental, emotional and physical toll that a crisis takes on students has a direct bearing on their learning outcomes. Teachers have to themselves tide over the strain of the crisis and continue teaching by adopting cognitive and active learning approaches.
They need to be cognizant of certain factors like psychosocial environment of the class, student readiness, teacher-student rapport and student engagement for a successful curriculum delivery.
In times of crisis, a proactive teacher will strive to:
- Decongest the curriculum, clarify and simplify the lesson that is easily comprehensible.
- Plan lesson segmenting for better retention as it is easier to grasp smaller portions of the concepts.
- Communicate learning objectives/goals that will keep students on track.
- Align assessments with the learning objectives, which will help teachers fathom whether their objectives were met or not.
- Be flexible and design learning experiences that tap into a variety of modes of learning.
- Keep abreast of latest and innovative teaching practices that will be conducive to the situation they are in.
- Align instruction with relevant resources and strategies including psychosocial elements in their teaching learning process.
- Model meta cognition.
- Design innovative assessment tools to assess student learning and plan instruction accordingly.
- Offer timely and constructive feedback to students and be mindful that it does not discourage their learning.
- Incorporate Socio-emotional learning domains in the curriculum for improved student behaviour and academic outcomes
- Cater to emotional well-being of the students by giving them emotional support as and when needed after class or school.
- Strive to create a life space of quality and comforting environment by establishing a friendly rapport that will enhance learning.
In an ever diversifying world, the role of teachers has become even more crucial as they need to develop their own SEL skills before making an attempt to equip their students with the core competencies of Socio Emotional Learning. They need to have the right measure of knowledge, skills and attitude to guide and monitor their students by selecting appropriate strategies so that they are able to deal with the coping mechanism of the children.
However, teachers are not supernatural beings. They need support so as to enhance their capacities to cope with professional burden and their personal traumatic experiences.
Therefore, a holistic approach in education within the context of school will not only safeguard mental and emotional well-being of the children but also help build resilience in them which is both therapeutic for learners as well as the teachers.
To ensure that “Every child succeeds”, the committed, talented and caring educators need to provide their learners with experiences for self-exploration, creativity, communication and collaboration regardless of the situation they are in so that they grow up to be lifelong learners.