The Role of Schools in Education As We Enter The New Normal

Something we never thought has already happened to all of us! For students, their schools are literally their homes now. We have almost reached the year’s end and even though it may seem like students are becoming comfortable with virtual classes, that’s not the case with everyone. In the pre-pandemic schooling system, kids were developing holistically as the real-time experiences and interactions in class, with friends and with the staff resulted in the overall development of a person. Now, we are looking at a system where the child has to starfish across an ocean to reach the shore. 

From the health and safety angle, new variants of COVID-19 like the Omicron are taking over some areas of the globe. So, we can expect that the schools and the education and learning scenario will not restore to normalcy. There’s only one way to move forward and that is to plan a hybrid system for kids and the staff. 

Let’s delve deeper to understand the kinds of changes and additions that will take place in the functioning of schools to redefine the notion of education in 2022 and so on. 

Mental and Emotional Health Will Take the Center Stage

With so much turmoil and trauma faced by the world’s inhabitants due to the pandemic, there has been a devastating impact on children’s mental and emotional health. It is also important to note here that the Indian society is still not aware about the extent of repercussions that untreated mental health issues can cause. Therefore, to make the future more of these kids secure, we need to teach them about mental and emotional health.

The kids must be able to understand and reach out to others incase of any kind of emotional or mental trauma. The future needs empathetic and knowledgeable leaders! If you teach kids about mental health now, they will be able to navigate stressful situations in life using the right path. 

Extracurricular Activities Must Not Just be Extra

With two years into the pandemic, do you know what kids miss most? The answer is their friends, fun activities and social interactions. We all know that schools are the actual place students discover their hobbies, talents and areas of interests. Extracurricular activities like art competitions, talent shows, debated, etc. actually encourages students to be a part of something bigger than themselves. 

Confidence, camaraderie and trust are just some of the things students learn from co-curricular activities. So, rather than organizing these activities once or twice a month, it should be organized on a daily basis for at least some amount of time for students to feel rejuvenated from their daily schedules. 

Personalized Learning is Here to Stay

As teachers have to teach a hybrid class, they have to match the wavelength of students in-person and online. Managing both kinds of audiences is a tough nut to track. Some students who are in the class might be finding it easy to go along with the teacher’s pace, while students at home must be lagging behind due to a number of reasons like low connectivity. 

How can we resolve this issue? The gift of virtual learning is that students can learn at their own pace. New edtech platforms and vendors are designing state-of-the-art interactive platforms for students to learn from. Be it handing over of assignments or exams, learning and performing tasks can be entirely personalized. Each and every one of us have a different pace and a distinctive way of thinking, so personalized learning in schools comes as a boon. 

Digital Technologies and Audiobooks

Every year in the education landscape, there are hundreds of new policies and innovations. However, India is slow to adapt all of them at a steady pace. In recent times, digital technologies have scaled to a level that they are actually thinking about creating sentient technologies. Imagine that! 

On the other hand, technology for education, educators and students has come a long way. There are various edtech platforms and technologies like data analytics, cloud computing, AR/VR, etc. that schools are leveraging for innovating and revolutionizing education and learning. It is better for educators and students to familiarize themselves with new technologies as it is the only way forward. 

If we think in terms of people who can’t read or find it difficult to perceive written text, audiobooks are slowly catching up with the emerging trends in education. As a suggestion, maybe schools and educators could convert textbooks into audiobooks so that students can access them anytime and anywhere. It will also be more engaging, enticing and easy to understand if we consider a diverse group of students. 

Final Words

To conclude, I would like to say that we live in an era where the emotional quotient (EQ) of a person is just as important as their IQ, even more so. We don’t know what the future holds for us and the only way forward is focusing on imparting a robust education to students so they grow up to the revolutionary leaders we need. 

Adapting to new technologies, focusing on extra-curricular activities and giving students their space to learn is the best we can give them to ensure the continuity of quality education. 

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