~ Suhasi Khanna
The COVID-19 pandemic took over the world by a toil ceasing the world for a significant part of the year 2020. It won’t be any surprise that education and schools couldn’t escape from the dangerous claws of the pandemic. Almost all the schools around the globe were closed, and most of them shifted towards modes of teaching other than traditional classroom learning. They range from radios to zoom and from cancelled physical exams to online or socially distanced examinations. This is something that no one anticipated and the drastic changes that would have taken years or decades to be implemented, crashed in a very short period, especially in countries like India. Oxford defines learning as the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught. To say that learning ceased due to the ongoing global pandemic or lockdowns or regulations or closed schools would be an understatement. Learning doesn’t always happen while sitting in your classrooms. One can learn so many things outside a classroom, and it doesn’t always necessarily have to be academic. It is quite popular to see people learning and exploring different things that they either didn’t have time for or were too afraid of earlier. It can be cooking, dancing, music, art or learning different specific skills online. Not everyone has the privilege to enjoy learning during a pandemic. Some people could barely manage to survive who shouldn’t be blamed for not “utilising” their time. Students suffered so much due to the pandemic physically, emotionally and mentally. Even during online schooling, it is hard for many students to learn due to their mental state, family and personal conditions. Learning only happens when a person enjoys what they are doing or studying with their heart. Online schooling poses so much stress on the students with deadlines, assignments, and classes which they all have to do from their rooms which leads to a condition of burn out amongst students pretty easily. The offline schooling still had room for them to breathe with the ability to meet their friends in classes or hang out in between or after classes which helped in keeping the student’s lives balanced and learning fun. The productivity cycles of people have suffered drastically due to the pandemic. Be it due to the comfort of our homes or due to the health issues that the pandemic brought. It is hard to maintain productivity when so many changes are taking place around the world and in people’s lives. The monotonous routines of people make it hard to enjoy learning or working in general, and one can’t be productive in the long run if he/she doesn’t enjoy what they do. This often leads to people burning out pretty often and quickly. It is very evident that many educational NGOs had to shut down due to the pandemic, but SKCF continued its classes even then. It is easier for privileged people to make the shift smoothly, but SKCF left no stone unturned to make this transition with the dedicated volunteers and our keen learners. In some instances, SKCF went ahead and gave mobile phones to the children so that their learning would not stop. The operations shifted online, and volunteers currently conduct online classes over video calling on WhatsApp or Google Meet or any other video conferencing platform so that academic learning never stops. We care about not only the academic teachings but also Holistic_education and Mental_health of the students, so we conduct different activities during the activity days, workshops and even music lessons for some gifted students. The teacher volunteers hold sessions with the students to discuss and look for ways to improve the learning processes. SKCF also tries to bring in as many industry specialists as they can, to hold workshops and guide the children about a variety of topics like art therapy or healthy eating habits. It motivates the children to look beyond their textbooks and learn with fun. The Sunday activities bring lots of fun, excitement and happiness to the routines of our children. Different volunteers teach a variety of activities to them which ranges from yoga and meditation to painting and dancing. It can be said pretty confidently that there might not be a way back to what it used to be, our classroom learning has changed, and the changes will stay even if the pandemic doesn’t. Make learning fun again as learning never really stops, so why not have fun while learning, right?
Must Read: Education in 2020