Covid-19 Education Warriors: K.V. Arjun Rao, principal, JBCN International, Oshiwara, Mumbai
Under the leadership of principal K.V. Arjun Rao, the Cambridge International (UK) and IB (Geneva)-affiliated JBCN International School (JBCNIS), Oshiwara has designed innovative online teaching-learning solutions by leveraging ICT and digital platforms to ensure learning continuity of its students during the Covid-19 induced national lockdown.
“Our teachers have stepped up to challenges of the pandemic by putting students’ interests first. Within days, they tested multiple digital platforms to upload successful online teaching-learning pedagogies. Credit must also be given to our technical and administrative teams for facilitating our smooth transition to digital education. They have been quickly fixing technical glitches and working with service providers to resolve issues immediately and effectively,” says K.V. Arjun Rao, an alum of Delhi University, IGNOU and University of St. Andrews (Scotland) with close to two decades of teaching and admin experience in the country’s top ranked (The Doon School, Dehradun, Oakridge International, Bangalore and Hyderabad) schools.
Synchronous virtual learning. Synchronous live classes for secondary and IBDP students commenced on the first day of the nationwide lockdown and were gradually extended to class VI-X students. Primary learners also switched to live, synchronous classes within two weeks of the lockdown.
Counseling support. The school’s Enrichment Team regularly conducts online optimism classes for students and parents. A weekly newsletter with positive affirmations and exercises is also circulated to maintain the mental health and psychological balance of students. The school’s career counseling department also publishes a monthly newsletter focusing on career relevant information for senior students.
Class X learner initiatives. With cancellation of the global IGCSE exam of Cambridge International (UK), class X students are encouraged to ideate video tutorials for skills training in sports, art and design, music, fitness and knowledge for the benefit of younger learners.
Virtual PTM. A record 142 online parent teacher interactions were conducted over a span of six hours.
“All our stakeholders have responded to the pandemic lockdown with great resilience. Our parent community has aided the school to ensure smooth transition from school-based to home learning. Moreover, our students have shown extraordinary commitment to learning, dedication to tasks and cheerful good spirits. Through it all, we have been strongly supported by our ever-enabling board of governors. Managing the Covid-19 crisis has been a team effort!” adds Rao.
Covid-19 Education Warriors: Debika Chatterji, director-principal, JBCN International School, Borivali, Mumbai
Debika Chatterji, director-principal of the CISCE (Delhi) and Cambridge International (UK)-affiliated JBCN International School (JBCNIS), Borivali, has supervised a swift transition of the school’s teachers and students to digital and online pedagogies following outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic which has forced closure of all education institutions countrywide since mid-March.
“While technology integration has been instrumental in the successful switch to digital education, skillful use of multiple online teaching resources by our teachers has ensured that virtual classes don’t lack the tangibility of actual classrooms,” says Chatterji, a founding member of the One World International IB School (Singapore) with over two decades of teaching and administrative experience in top-ranked international schools in the country.
Holistic online learning curriculum. Primary and secondary students follow scheduled time-tables in virtual classrooms. Co-curricular educators have also devised weekly physical education and art assignments for middle school and A-level students to ensure a holistic learning experience for all.
Mindfulness and mental health activities. The school’s Learner Support Centre conducts mindfulness and mental health activities for students, teachers and support staff. Activities include mandala drawings, letter writing, astronomy and cloud watching with family.
Non-academic virtual sessions. An online interactive session with well-known author Christopher Doyle was arranged for class VII-IX students. Virtual parent-teacher meetings and end of academic year functions for staff and pre-primary learners have also been conducted.
“The pandemic situation provided an opportunity for us to prove our mettle. We are proud to say that our faculty and administrative staff have responded quickly and successfully to introduce digital learning. Employees are the greatest asset of any organisation and this is true of our school in this unprecedented situation. Moreover, we are overwhelmed with the encouragement expressed by parents for the school’s switch to online learning,” adds Chatterji.
Covid-19 Education Warriors: Vardan Kabra, head, Fountainhead School, Surat
Vardan Kabra, head of the IB (Geneva)-affiliated Fountainhead School, Surat, was one of the first eduleaders in Gujarat to swiftly transition the school to digital online learning for students following the closure of all schools nationwide in mid-March.
“Our crisis intervention strategy for managing the situation has been to ease into digital media to ensure continuity of learning,” says Kabra, an engineering and business management alum of IIT-Bombay and IIM-Ahmedabad with over a decade’s experience in education.
Professional development. While the teaching and non-teaching staff used e-learning portals such as Coursera, Future Learn, Edulearn, Firki etc to upskill, customised in-house professional development programmes trained teachers continuously.
Well-being of the school community. A counseling website provides uplifting support to the school community.
Community engagement. The school’s community outreach initiatives include donation to the PM Cares Fund and provision of meals prepared in the school kitchen for 2,500 needy people on a daily basis.
“Interrupted Internet access, crashed devices, insufficient home support for students and teachers were very real challenges that we faced initially. But we were undeterred and just kept meeting one challenge at a time. Students who struggled were given one-on-one tuition and problematic devices were managed by providing chromebooks from school. Educators who needed help were provided support buddies. And though it took time to get our act together, we did not give up. Today, our students and parents are grateful for the support from school,” recalls Kabra.
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