A Revamp in Education ~ Due to COVID-19

Online Learning’s Big Moment ~ A Revamp in Education ~ Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

But our children are not the problem! They are the only answers! It is quite often we, as schools, management, as teachers may tend to think, that children are the problems. That they throw pranks and disrespect their teachers and elders? That they do not understand the situation? But our children are not the problem! They are the answer! They are our future Human Resource? They are not the problems, they are our only answers?

We at Victorious Kidss Say, “If the students have not learnt, it is we, the teachers and the school, who have not taught? We need to understand that our children are not the people, as we were in school?”  Everything is not locked down, Sunrise is not, Love is not, Family time is not, Kindness, Compassion, Loyalty, Creativity, Conversation, Imagining, Reading, Praying, Meditation, eating, sleeping, our Hope, our Spirituality is not locked down? None of these are locked down, then how can ‘Learning or Teaching be Locked Down’? Schools may physically be closed down, but the learning and teaching, the curiosity of a human child, the desire to exchange wisdom by a teacher cannot be locked down? The true learning starts now. Our children also do not stay disconnected and create hassles or pranks?

After all, in Bhagvad Gita, in which the greatest teaching has been included, was not taught by Krishna to Arjuna in peace or comfort of a home or a safe cave? It was taught in a battlefield. Today, this spiritual understanding has to be applied, in this battlefield, with some clarity and understanding. Victorious Kidss Educares, an IB World School, takes on the journey of sharing the wisdom of IB coupled with Vedanta, with the children, their parents, and the teachers alike? It is quite often we, as schools, management, as teachers think, that children are the problems. 

COVID-19, such a tiny invisible thing to human eyes, yet has brought in such unwanted changes, economic depressions, mental gloominess, and unhappiness. This is the time true education needs to come to our understandings to reduce the Coronavirus pain, misery, suffering? Across the contents, nations, Corona has wreaked havoc on the world around us, people have lost their dear ones, their jobs!  But it is heartening to know our darling students, as well as our valued teachers, are operating from within the safety of their homes and yet did not allow the threat to dampen their spirit of “INQUIRY’ and true learning. How do we reach them? How do we ensure our students continue to progress on their learning journeys? How to enable our teachers to continue their endeavors without access to ample resources at school? These were some of the questions that struck us when the school had to shut down ~ suddenly without any time for preparation. While the measures were drastic, it was imperative and necessary for the greater safety and good of all. The “Virtual Learning” is great fun and infact our teachers find that our children are more apt with attention and more prompt with creative solutions? Parents are finding, a ‘birth of a new child’ out of the same old child, staying and growing up with me ~ as if ~

“PHOENIX” the mythical bird” ~ is reborn. That is ‘Virtual Learning’

As per the Times of India Article, at 600 million, India has the most students in the World. But academic institutions across the world are forced to shut down, due to the threat of COVID 19 coronavirus pandemic, therefore many proactive educational institutions such as Victorious Kidss Educares have upgraded themselves digitally and quickly started to conduct E-LEARNING sessions. At Victorious Kidss Educares, we are already preparing, for future contingencies of ‘only digital schooling’ ~ says, Saarada Ghosh, The Principal, Victorious Kidss Educares ~ An IB School coupled with the philosophy of Vedanta! Online Learning, gets its moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital learning goes mainstream in a hurry and that’s going to upend current education practices, models, and processes going forward.

DP Students Virtual Learning

What actually is virtual learning and why students and parents of Victorious Kids Educares have accepted it with such eagerness and joy of learning? Virtual Learning is computer-generated, it is simulated, an educational cybernetic technology on a Web-based platform covering virtually all aspects of teaching and learning. Explore the Challenges, in this learning. It becomes an obstacle when you bow to it. Use that external brain as an extension of your own brain?

Character: Our teachers, children as well as parents believe in the philosophy of Vedanta, in the purity of the children. They, believe it or not, the majority of these children, do not tell lies. They are also kids, but they are honest, they are creators, they are thinkers, they understand the situation and act accordingly. They also act like children. But they have those characteristics, for which we all love children. Our champions are lifelong learners, they adapt to the situation and not complain about what is not there and act wisely. Our children are balanced caring communicators, they understand that change is the only constant thing in life, and they have the right character, the skills to face it and become victorious. 

Pune based IB World school, Victorious Kidss Educares is successfully running their online classes, from 13 of Mar 2020 itself, over video conferencing, online training, and also conducting Google classes and online tests to meet the syllabus for their academic year and also to continue the learning process for students. As to protect our daily surroundings a preventive measure has been taken widely around the cities to avoid the spread of COVID 19.

For the younger ones (below the age of three (3) years), the teachers are talking to parents, talking to babies, sending videos with a real-time class scenario, worksheets, videos, games, and links to nurture their curiosity, skills and conceptual understanding. In the IB world, the learning community plays an integral part. Our teachers have been successful in creating that love for learning, which drives young minds to research to find new things, to occupy their time effectively and to give them a sense of responsibility. They are having weekly virtual sessions and importantly, as reported by mothers, displaying a great sense of responsibility for doing their own chores, by themselves.

Besides academic learning, for the holistic development of the learners, sessions such as Music, Physical Training, Yogic Meditation, Behavioral Counseling, as well as Career Counseling are being implemented and effectively utilized by trained teachers. The team continues to display a desire to discover more ways to ensure that learning continues in an increasingly healthy way and provide the best possible learning experiences for students despite the difficult condition. Our children are not the problems, they are the mythical bird “PHOENIX” ~ which as per mythology, never dies and takes rebirth, out of its own ashes, says, “Robbin Ghosh” The President of the school ~ VKE. He says, “Discovering that secret power from within the child, is schooling, is parenting. Victorious Kidds Educares pays special attention towards the students and helps them get an overall learning atmosphere even at home through online coaching and discover the “GIANT” from within. 

Let’s hear it from our Teachers

‘It gave us an opportunity to learn new techniques to keep us apprised for any such future contingencies. Modernistic modes of communication like Padlet, Google Classrooms, Google Hangout, etc., were explored and the same was brought into play to make our activity sheets more interactive and fun’- says Anu George (PYP teacher ~ up to Grade V)

 Learning must go on and so should sharing, learning and Teaching. “We the teachers of Victorious Kids Educares are all set to make the difference when it matters the most. We are dedicated to performing our duties with a great sense of responsibility and commitment. The technology is making it possible by setting up virtual classrooms for our pupils. A virtual classroom is an online learning environment that allows for live interaction and a shared online space” – says Anchal Mishra (PYP teacher ~ up to Grade V)

‘The class discussions were consistent, more insightful and reflected a higher level of preparation from the Students. They are now actually reading the material, thinking about it, and responding to my questions that I post’ – says Pooja Gollapalli (MYP teacher Grade VI till X)

‘It was seen students had more interaction and greater ability to concentrate during online classes. This observation supports the research which states online learning increases retention level by 60 %. My online classes were designed to have students technical skills, collaborative skills, communication, research, and critical thinking skills’- says Moti Kumari Jha (MYP teacher Grade VI till X)

‘The power of mind over events has motivated me during this gloomy situation and helped me to become more positive, strong and active. I am working in Victorious Kidss Educares, an IB world school, as a homeroom teacher for the last 5 years. I have continuously been updating all my students with online training and training’ – says Shreya Deshpande (PYP teacher ~Grade V)

‘I feel that despite a few challenges that online teaching and learning offers, this experience has been one filled with immense learning on an independent level. Though the process was guided, students had to majorly take the responsibility of their learning’ – says Rishi Luthra (MYP teacher Grade VI till X)

Let’s hear it from our parents

Reflection from a parent, Pummy Pashankar, “A big thank you to all the teachers, staff who are working from home and taking so much effort to make sure the children are in touch with the academics. Secondly, I would like to say that my daughters, Simran Pashankar (MYP 4A ~Ninth Satndard) and Samaira Pashankar(PYP 5A ~ Fifth Grade) have been so sincere and enjoying the virtual classroom study. This was a great initiative taken by VKE school during these times. Despite sitting at home, I admire the dedication my kids have given towards the school and teachers”

Penelope and Barry Rodrigue ~ ‘A British National’ ~, parents of Dimitri express their feelings, “We are very happy with Dimitri’s online classes and the commitment to his continued learning. Barry and I had difficulty with the Google classroom management initially and we are sincerely appreciative of your patience in helping us solve those issues. We are onboard with most of the technology now! The daily work is a valued part of Dimitri’s routine and we have been pleased with his increasing ability to stick with his work. The teachers give him assignments with appropriate visuals and are generous with their encouragement, so he feels happy to achieve. The topics in the classes have also become points of discussion for us at meals and other times and I believe those conversations have increased our understanding of Dimitri and his way of processing the information as well. Thank you for all you are doing to help keep the learning going during these difficult and uncertain times. Please convey our sincere appreciation to all his teachers as well.”

????????????. ???????????????? ????????????????????????????, ???????????????????????? ???????? ???????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????? (???????????? ????) ????????????????????????????????“This whole online school and lockdown have given us an opportunity to self-introspect and learn. I had never thought that Indrayu would be able to grasp and study in this format. I had reservations regarding him absorbing and processing the information. I cannot be more grateful that it has crossed all barriers not only in my head about what can be achieved but also for Indrayu who is enjoying and achieving his goals. Huge gratitude to all his teachers who have taken out so much time and been continuously keeping him focused. I see so much more interest in him. The promptness of the hours and timetable is amazing. His being disciplined with breaks at regular intervals has done brilliantly for his attention span. The subjects chosen for this period have been a very current issue based so have a very practical way to absorb the information. I would really want to thank each teacher for all the time, patience and so much of effort they have taken for Indrayu”.

Let’s hear it from our Students

“The experience of online schooling for me was remarkable as we had the opportunity to learn even when the world is in a situation of a ‘lockdown’ and we are learning, just sitting at home. VKE has always provided us with the best quality learning but with online schooling, it has taken learning to a whole new level, the features we are having are amazing with live streams, we can even have 1on1 conversations, with videos for better understanding, even our concerns and question are always answered by the teachers. The piece which connects the teacher, parent and student is ManageBac which is the leading planning, assessment platform”. “Somehow, the digital learning, seems to me the learning of our time”, says Jai Lipane “We have agreed to the essential agreement given by the school which we make sure that nobody misuses the internet. I have been in VKE since I was 4 months old, I have seen VKE make so many advancements like these. It is always taking so many steps for making learning at its best, this clearly says that even the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus can’t stop VKE. We’ll still, the world stands up again, we all should stay @home and stay safe.” – says Jai Lipane.

Another student Nia Gathani studying in MYP4 (Grade 9) says, “The online zoom sessions are extremely interactive and informative as we have mode conduct and every subject teacher makes sure that we are in discipline. We are going forward with our syllabus and are trying to understand everything we can. If we have any queries, we ask the subject teacher and the teacher makes sure that our doubts are cleared. The subject teacher makes sure that every student is giving answers and contributing. The Attitude to Learning (ATL) skills developed for the google classroom and zoom sessions are thinking skills, communication skills, time management skills, self-management skills, and research skills. This is a great initiative and makes learning fun, and of course, this has its own pros and cons but overall, it’s amazing and we are getting something in our heads”.

Rudraansh from MYP3 (Grade 8) says, “The online school was an amazing initiative and it was really great to see the determination of our schoolteachers towards teaching us and making sure that the inquiry cycles, the curriculum, the syllabus is completed. Everything went super smoothly and efficiently thanks to teachers like Moti ma’am who were always coordinating with the students and always immediately responded to the questions asked”.

Ira Prabhudesai, an eighth grade (MYP III) student says, “I feel that online schooling has been a great boon for our learning journey in MYP 3. From teaching to doing the assessments, the teachers have made sure that we could get the same inquiry-based learning as what we get in school. The assessments were not very difficult, and I can say that we have learned a lot from the online classes. The teachers were very understanding when there were problems with connections, and I felt it was nothing different from our school. Zoom was also a great boon, especially for our design classes. Jyoti ma’am taught me C++ very well through zoom, even though I am very weak in Digital Design. To add on, because of google classroom, our teachers have also made our learning easier and more fun with the help of videos, games, puzzles, mind maps and various other activities. This whole experience was really fun, and I am very happy that we could complete our syllabus of MYP 3.”

Anshumaan Laddad from MYP1 (Grade 6) Inquirer says, “The online classes were fun and also a new experience for me.  I learnt a lot through these classes. Our teachers tried their best to make us understand all the topics we would learn in our school. The classes online were very interactive and informative. Without these classes, I do not know how bad I would do in these assessments. These classes were a lifesaver for me and I am pretty sure for all of my classmates’ friends and also my schoolmates. Each of the time I had a doubt I would post it on the stream or in the comments and the respective teacher would post the answer and the doubt was cleared”.

Aarav Malick Of MYP1 Inquirer says, “I have never heard or experienced online teaching and learning until this pandemic occurred! The online classes that have been happening from the past few weeks were very engaging and entertaining. I had a lot of fun attending these classes and being a part of it. I was not very excited about these online classes in the beginning but as the classes carried on, I developed a lot of interest. I have learned many things in this little time. This practice worked as a brain booster for my mind. In short, I really loved being a part of these classes because I have never experienced this kind of teaching in my life before. I would like to thank all my teachers behind the curtain“.

Though technology has allowed teaching to continue, the experience of the classroom cannot be wholly replicated online. The debates, discussions, face to face interactions, the laughs are missed – says some of the students. President Robbin Ghosh says, “Victorious Kidss Educares that has been evaluated by the IBO as a Model International Baccalaureate (IB) World school in Asia, has once again, despite the current global threat, proven its mettle in maintaining the quality of the education it provides. Not just the students but also the pedagogical leadership team members are actively involved in imparting the necessary training to the teachers. Important decisions are being made effectively in collaboration, over conference calls and implemented with the help of advanced technologies”.  But how are they doing it? The pedagogy leaders are collating and collaborating through conference calls with the quality team and HOD’s for planning and reflecting on sessions, helping in the smooth functioning of the e-classes. Teachers are providing immediate feedback through online knowledge checks, comments on collaborative documents and chat to keep students motivated and moving forward. To keep parents in loop, homerooms are sending the whole day’s report along with the next day’s schedule.

Guidelines to ensure the privacy and data protection have been shared with the students and the teachers were successful in developing the online class “Essential Agreements” ~ a strategy utilized at VKE ~ from its inception ~ to bring out the best as well as establish control. The “Essential Agreements”’ ~ basically goes back to an understanding of ancient India (Mandakya Upanishad)  ~  “Truth Shall Always Win”. In others have faith in our children ~on the “Human Excellence” They are the Phoenix Bird ~ the humanity shall never die? They are the answers and not the problems?”

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