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By: Sheela George

As educators, we are all interested in the way our children learn and enjoy their experiences as they progress and develop.  High–quality teaching and learning call for adequate planning, preparation and professional development among teachers, to integrate the best instructional approaches in classes. While we think of providing the required training for teachers, we should also give equal importance to guiding students to adopt and adapt mindful practices that can enable them to enjoy and excel in their online learning experiences. 

Around the world, there have been drastic changes over the past few months. The pandemic never stood as a challenge for schools, in delivering the best teaching practices, to build in creativity and innovation in online classrooms.

 One vital responsibility for school leaders and staff during this crucial time, has been the development of a positive culture that strengthens the relationships among all stakeholders. 

To nurture this kind of culture, schools had to establish norms and practices that lead to respect, team-focused collaboration and trust.  I recently read an article on nurturing conscious discipline in students to accomplish their tasks.   I was reflecting on online learning, on how the conscious discipline can be practised by teachers and parents to scaffold learning and to make it an enjoyable experience for the students.  

Some of the best practices that can make online learning exciting and enjoyable using conscious academic discipline:

  • The online instruction of any subject should be divided into digestible chunks that has interesting metaphors, anecdotes, stories and real life situations.
  • Parts of lessons can be retaught by encouraging students to raise questions. 
  • Make students feel safe when they raise questions and teach them how their responses can be organised meticulously.
  • Consistently encourage students even when they make mistakes online. This will enable them to develop confidence and try their very best to perform and excel.
  • Students in junior classes can be shown more pictures and given adequate practice to enhance their creativity & imagination and guided to feel safe on the online platform. 
  • Active standing up activities, will increase blood flow and enable students to show more interest towards learning.
  • Students should be encouraged to grab an item to fidget when they feel their attention is drifting and their focus in fading.

To build quality teaching in online classrooms, teachers and students should experience success, joy and satisfaction.  

Schools should focus on; strengthening relationships between students, parents and teachers; integrating intellectual tasks that are challenging, enjoyable and encourage students to celebrate even the smallest of victories. 

School’s guiding beliefs should be visible in every area of the online class, be it curriculum, delivery of lesson, assignments or assessments. 

Students should feel less stressed, more successful and develop a love for learning when they are online with their teachers.  

Helping students to connect with peers becomes very important during online classes as they have less opportunities to mingle with friends and have fun.  Connecting with families and listening to their inputs becomes equally important in strengthening relationships and building a positive culture.

Conducting student surveys, will help us to understand them as learners and as individuals. Teachers should provide students exit tickets that can make them reflect on their learning.

 At my school, we provide opportunities for students and teachers to reflect on their learning by using terms such as Roses, Buds and Thorns and work on thorns by taking adequate help from their peers.

Learning should be an joyful experience for all, so let us build in best practices that can bring out the creativity and critical thinking skills from our students.

A caring and supportive school climate, having staff members working collaboratively and recognising each other’s needs, with students being encouraged to take risks and challenges, without any fear in mind, can make a big difference in the online teaching and learning platform. 

Ms Sheela George, Principal of ASPAM IIS, is an educationist with over 28 years of experience. She is a positive & creative thinker. Ms George has attended numerous Educational Conferences across the US & Australia. Besides developing innovative sustainable practices, Ms George is passionate about training teachers and mentoring students, to build leaders of tomorrow.