Rakesh Sharma – Principal – O. P. Jindal School Tamnar -Pioneers Online Classes During Lockdown
At this difficult time when the whole world is shaken by the threat of Covid-19, when more than half of the world is in the state of lockdown, when the Academic Learning and mental wellbeing of the young generation is at stake, when people are struck with uncertainty and negativity, O. P. Jindal School Savitri Nagar, Tamnar has come up with a wonderful plan to combat. The steps taken by the school and its functioning can give a ray of hope to thousands of schools and many more Educators and learners.
Nation-wide lockdown came into force from the early hours of 25 March 2020. As a result, all the schools were closed and the students were left confused. But OPJS Savitri Nagar had started its regular classes for all the students from 27 March 2020. It is very interesting to note that the School has been conducting all the Academic and Co-curricular periods through Online. Probably, it is the first and the Pioneer school in the whole nation to successfully conduct the Online Classes with all the Academic and Co-curricular subjects for all the classes from Class I to Class XII as per normal routine.
How has the school made it possible so soon and effectively? The answer is here –
The School had been Pro-Active in assessing the situations and taking decisions. The school had already conducted all the Academic Examinations long before the schools were ordered to be closed. It had geared up the Evaluation during Examination to save time. As the order for closure of schools came, the teachers were told to take the necessary record in soft copies before leaving the school. The school, all the Teachers and Staff had worked harder and smart. Immediately, all the teachers had started “Work from Home” and the Result was prepared on computers, the Mark-Sheets were produced and the Soft Copy of the Mark-Sheet was sent to the parents on their personal WHATS APP numbers.
Once the nationwide lockdown was declared, the Principal, Headmaster and the members of Core Team started working immediately on finding the best suitable options. All were convinced that during lockdown their responsibility as educators is doubled and they tried their best to keep the students and teachers busy with Creative, Constructive and Productive work and away from any negative thoughts, anxiety and confusions. They prepared the School Time Table, Teachers’ Time Table, Bell Timing, List of Class Teachers, Class Coordinators, Wing In-charges and different Department Heads, Class-wise & Section-wise list of students for the session 2020-2021 and shared it to all the teachers and staff members in Soft Copy.
T. P. Rao, HOD English & In-charge of All Communications says, “You see, we had clear plans from the very beginning. Able and compassionate leadership, Devoted, Hard-working teachers, and our noble intentions is our strength. All the teachers have been working 10-14 hours a day for conducting the Online Classes successfully, as per the plan. They are not less than CORONA Warriors. The teachers have been creating a positive present and safe future.”
Now, the execution of plan:
Separate WHATS APP groups for different classes were created and all the students and subject teachers were added there. The Principal, Headmaster and the Activity Coordinator were included in all the WHATS APP groups to monitor and guide, as needed. All the students were informed by the Class Teachers about their proposed On-line Classes and Time Table. Finally, The Online Classes for the students commenced from 27 March 2020. Now, the teachers had started the academic teaching in full swing through On-line classes. Students were helped by the teachers with the Study Material Topic-wise, through Downloaded E-Books/ Reference Books, Typed Notes, Handwritten Notes, Audio Clips, Short Videos, Live Online Classes, Activity-Sheets and Work-Sheets. By the passage of time, teachers had started conducting Live Video Classes. Even the teachers had created their You Tube Channels and began dropping their Video Lessons in their YouTube Channels. Students could see these Video Lessons in their comfortable time.
What about the Assessment of students’ work?
After completing any topic, the learning of the students was assessed by the teachers through the Worksheets on the same topic. The same Worksheets were uploaded on the school website as well. All the students were told to submit the worksheets to the teachers concerned through WHATS APP/ E-mail. The teachers had evaluated the worksheets and gave their feedback to the students individually for necessary improvements.
Pioneer in involving Class XI also in Online Classes:
As soon as CBSE had notified that there will be no further examination for the students of Class X for the session 2019-2020, the OPJS had taken a step further and involved its students of Class X in Online Classes by giving them “Provisional Admission” as per their interest and the performance in the Pre-Board Exams.
How the Balanced Growth of students is ensured?
At the wake of Covid 19, many schools had switched to Online Classes from April 2020. But they have been doing it with different plans. They all are focusing only on Academic Subjects and neglected Co-Curricular Subjects. Even many schools have been teaching One Subject a day or could not involve all the students of every class in Online Classes and have made these Online Classes confined to only a few Classes. Here the Principal of OPJS Tamnar, Rakesh Sharma says, “It would be an injustice and unnecessary burden to the students if we are focusing only on Academic Subjects or to only a few selected Class groups. The aim is not to cover up the Syllabus of selected classes for getting better results in Academic Exams to show off. Here the concern is the mental well being and all round development of each student of our school, the prime responsibility of the school and of the educators. It is our moral obligation and the Professional responsibility to safeguard the future of the nation even in difficult times.” To ensure this – Dance, Music, Art & Craft and the Games Period were also conducted for the students successfully as per the School Time Table. The Activity Coordinator prepared separate plans for the Co-curricular teachers and they were guided and supervised by the Activity Coordinator regularly.
Is it not harmful for the students to have On-screen study for long?
NO. The School had come up with a clear and safe plan for Online Classes. How? The answer is here: The teachers were clearly instructed to “Keep the Health of the students on the top priority – Physical, Mental and Emotional. Be more humane in approach. Avoid any kind of stress for the students. Involve the students in Creative and Positively Constructive Work.” To make it more clear and safeguard the health of the students: All the teachers teaching in classes I to VIII were told to prepare the Study Material in such a manner that it could be read by an average student within 15 minutes. Remaining time of the period has to be for the student to understand and to get the doubts clear from the teacher concerned. The teachers of the Primary classes were told to reduce the On-screen reading/watching time even more, making it suitable to the class and age of the students. (For ensuring maximum 02 hours On-Screen reading/ watching daily)
Teachers teaching in Classes IX to XII were told to prepare the study materials in such a manner that it could be read by an average student in 15-25 minutes, making it suitable to class and age of the students. Especially the Language teachers and the Social Science teachers sent the Audio Clips to students to balance On-screen Reading Time. The Physical Education/ Games Teachers have been guiding and motivating the students for safe Physical Exercises, Joyful Indoor Activities, Yoga tips, Breathing-exercises and so on. The Librarian has been posting inspiring and motivating Short Stories/ Books. Teachers were told “Not to burden the students with Worksheets”. The Worksheets were prepared in a manner that it could be answered by an average student in 15-20 minutes. Teachers were told to give maximum 2-3 worksheets weekly for any class in any subject and accept the answers in any format the students could send. At the same time, the teachers have been talking to the students positively, giving them positive reinforcement, boosting their morale and giving their best to keep the students mentally healthy, balanced, innovative, positive, and ready to handle the challenges.
Meanwhile, the School Administration had prepared 06 different Teams- Special Task Management Groups (STMG), to handle any challenge arising due to Covid-19. The teams kept on performing their responsibilities effectively. At the same time, the School kept itself in contact with the Parents and all the stake holders and collected their feedback and suggestions through Online Questionnaires, to bring necessary changes and improvements in its approach.
Was it so easy to do that too so early and fast?
To this question, the Principal of the school, Rakesh Sharma says, “It could not have been possible unless we had a strong team of talented, hard working and committed teachers. If we are able to deliver to our students, to community and to our nation, it is because of the collective effort of the Team OPJS.” The story is not over yet. OPJS Savitri Nagar is still marching ahead vigorously to safeguard the future of the nation by serving faithfully, sensibly and strategically. The school is trying to redefine the system of imparting education using technology. Nobody knows, for how long this lockdown will continue, nobody knows when the schools will be reopened. In these difficult times what O. P. Jindal School Savitri Nagar has been doing with its limited resources in a remote location where the majority of the students belong to rural background, can be exemplary for thousands of schools. Many schools in India and abroad can get inspiration from OPJS Savitri Nagar model to help their children during the lockdown period.