Beena Nayaken, Principal, Orchids - The International Schools, Masjid Bunder, Mumbai

Ms Beena Nayeken, Principal, Orchids The International School holds a Masters in Education Management SNDT, along with an and B.ed. She is presently pursuing her Ph.d in HR. She previously served in Billabong and Poddar schools, Mumbai. She is the Principal for Orchids International School, Masjid Bunder, Mumbai for the past 7 years. In this capacity, she is responsible for conducting quarterly audits for schools in Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad, along with curriculum
development for grades 9 and 10, across 23 branches. She has also been entrusted with the administration duties, along with implementing programs for holistic development of students and teachers. In the past, she has a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. She is skilled in Strategic Planning, Educational Technology, Instructional Design, and Curriculum Development, with over 15 years of experience.

  • How has the role of an educator during the pandemic outbreak changed?

The educator always has the most crucial role in the education system. Engagement and interaction were always of prime focus and importance. During the pandemic to adapt to the technical details and get tech savvy was the first step towards becoming a better tutor. The first hurdle was to get comfortable teaching in front of the screen and most of the teachers have done a great job to learn this and grow exponentially. In a transition that would have taken years, teachers have managed to accomplish the feat by relying on each other. Educators are being supportive of each other’s innovative teaching styles and pitching in whenever needed to support each other Transforming materials into digitized modules in a short span has been a mammoth task, as most of the teachers barely had technical skills. To bridge the gap, task force and workshops needed to be set up to help ease educators into digitized programs. Online teaching during pandemic has intrigued teachers to monitor their student’s well-being. However, it is absolutely normal for teachers to experience anxiety and stress. They too need the emotional support to deal with the added pressure being put on by parents and educational institutions. Online teaching during the pandemic can be isolating, to offer emotional and psychological leverage; educators will need to
rely on each other. Set up peer calls to create a community.

  • Could you elaborate on the impact of the pandemic on teaching and learning?

The entire system is affected due to the pandemic. As it was difficult for teachers to adapt but learn slowly the nuances of teaching virtually so was it uphill for the students to learn through a screen. Digital learning requires educators and students to have a fluid relationship visa vie the monitoring approach that a traditional classroom boasts about. Students find it difficult to keep the attention span high and also teachers to keep the interest level high and keep them engaged to retain the knowledge. E-learning requires all-round support. From critical thinking in setting up teaching modules to set up regulations for assessment and performance monitoring.  The shift from traditional teaching to online teaching during the pandemic was sudden thereby pushing teachers to come up with plans and execute them in a limited timeframe. Home situations aren’t always favorable for digital learning. Children aren’t always willing to participate and it becomes impossible for teachers to assess students during such a crisis.

  • How important has it become for students to have a practical learning experience?

It is imperative that learning happens using all the senses only then it is retained as all students do not learn through audio- video method of learning. Hence a virtual session is not all effective as a practical session.  Syllabus and subject that require laboratory and other practical components needed to be reworked as online classes cannot counter practical exposure. Teacher-student relationship is based on trust, growth, and mental wellbeing. With the COVID-19 virus limiting human contact, teachers now must observe student behaviour online to check for mental stress and trauma thus losing out on the most important aspect of human touch.

  • Why do you think the demand for online instructors & remote tutors increased in these times?

All over the world, teaching has been influenced by COVID-19 pandemic. Traditional guidance has moved on the Internet; the nation, educational institutions, colleges, and other foundations have been closed with no clue on life going back to ‘normal’. While other working professionals have managed to continue their usual work within the four walls, it’s the educators and teachers that had to overhaul their skills and the paradigm shift has happened in the entire teaching learning
process. The demand has definitely increased as parents are looking for various aspects of teaching and also looking for a variety of learning methodologies to teach their wards curricular and extracurricular topics.  There is a dearth of teachers who are diligent and proactive and hence there is a rise in need.

  • Could you tell us more about the changing trends in the education sector and what else should we be on the lookout for?

The trend is to adjust to the new learning curve. Parent’s expectations are to keep engagement and retention level high of the students with online games and interactive modules. Many new initiatives are taken by institutions in the form of products useful for students to learn curricular and extracurricular activities are a trend which is on the high. Pandemic has changed a lot of existing jobs and created a lot of new jobs that we have never thought would have ever existed. The coming age is going to be completely dynamic and our current curriculum is not enough to prepare our students for the coming market. The National Education Policy (NEP) has introduced Coding at a young age to enhance the exposure to technology and create a path to a new world of innovation and creativity. Tech thinkers and educators believe that coding is a game-changer and a new generation will use analytical thinking to solve the problem. It will help in developing skills to
deal with problems whether it is Maths, Science, or Humanities, and will be ready for the future job. Coding and Artificial Intelligence is the way forward for the present generation.

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