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How did international schools in Dubai adjust to the Online School in the pandemic?

Rupali Karekar
Jun 21, 2021
Covid-19

2020 has remarkably brought into focus all the good and not so good things in our life. When the World Health Organization declared a pandemic due to the novel Coronavirus or COVID-19, people were confined to the four walls of their house. 

This obviously led to the disruption of many industries including educational industries. Education has taken its fair share of difficulties. The pandemic led to reshaping of the educational landscape. Major steps needed to be taken for the future of education. 

Hence the educational department responded to this challenge by the pandemic changing every aspect of learning and teaching overnight. 

There was a shift from classrooms to computer screens. Although learning and teaching would now be conducted from home, all the aspects of basic schooling like attendance, examinations, instructional model, and most importantly the role of technology and human connection were strictly taken into consideration. 

This pandemic urged us to self-analyse and question ourselves about what we expect from the online forum of schools as we get adjusted to the new normal of working from home. Most international schools in Dubai, as a response to the pandemic, have now become successful online schools

They have swiftly gone from mundane things like distancing and hygiene practices to focusing on the real issue of learning and teaching their students effectively in the online school. While everybody was getting used to the new normal as a response to the pandemic, in the educational field it was clear that parents and teachers were working to provide the best for their children.   

Adoption of New Teaching Methods

The high school leadership and the teaching staff of these schools, along with their constant interaction with the cooperating and active parent bodies and energetic students have raised the teaching practice to a level that nobody could predict a few months ago.  

The students, parents as well as the teachers now agree that the learning process has become more effective, creative, interesting and satisfying. With smart campuses to their aid, the teachers have taken up the challenge to do more to ‘nurture their global citizens’. 

The teachers have adopted different learning websites and applications which have given a commendable boost to their learning module. The teachers and parents don’t have to bother about the students’ attention span as these innovative methods prepare an inevitable surrounding. 

This relaxes the teachers’ burdens and gives them an opportunity to focus and give individual attention to the students who are lacking behind while the rest of the class doesn’t necessarily have to wait or stay behind as much as they require.

Changes in the traditional teaching model

Catering to the online school, with this new approach to education, the teachers and parents both agree and understand the fact that there is a pressing need to not assume that all students are at the same level of understanding and focus more on individual students who need that extra help. This approach can be realised in an activity based and engaging class where the questioning, explaining, demonstration and collaboration techniques helps the teacher observe the students and give extra help to the students who may not be very active in class. 

An active class ensures independent critical thinking, decision making and problem solving skills among the students. Research has confirmed that software-based special lesson plans help students to understand their weak areas and work on them. 

Thus, providing a specialized lesson plan will ensure that the students  meet their needs. The school instructors are trying to introduce online tests, smart boards and personal computers to the students hence making these systems a scholastic routine in their lives making them more productive and collaborative. 

Initiatives taken in the online forum

To make the learning in online school more interesting various initiatives were introduced which has ensured that the students in their smart campuses have effectively declared their interest in the new learning process. The learning process is efficiently stretched across the waking hours every day of the week. These virtual ways guarantee that the working hours of the students are utilized very efficiently and creatively. 

The new approach towards education has received more positive comments and support over the industrial approach. Many believe that this is the new way forward. 

Technology a boon

In the current pandemic situation, all our lives have witnessed extreme changes which we would have never imagined. As for the students, their friends at schools have now become e-friends and the school lectures have all become e-classes.  At this time, technology has played a major role. It has changed the format of work, may it be for kindergarteners or people working in huge corporations. 

As for the kindergarteners, they are just starting to gain control over their  fine motor skills. The parents' major concern is about the students' exposure to technology at a very young age. The pressing question is if technology is a curse or a boon? Technology in early childhood education, when used wisely and proportionately is both possible and beneficial. 

If implemented correctly, the utilization of technology from a young age can enhance a child's academic and social success, but accomplishing such high goals requires careful guidance from adults in their surrounding and more significantly by modelling an honest example for the toddlers to emulate.    It for sure is difficult to determine a particular age which is perfect for the children to have their hands on technology even though experts are trying to define an ideal age.  

However, if the children are forced to start later than their peers they may feel outdated and may put them at a disadvantage:   therefore completely banning the use of technology from the students life until after their formative years will sort of make them digital immigrants in a generation of digital natives.

Concerns about the increased Screen time

As for the reduction of screen time and learning the suitable interaction with the technology, imitation of the students’ models like their teachers, parents or siblings can help them attain rich habits towards technology and internet security. These habits can be followed in their daily life, hence making them better users of technology in the future. 

Moreover, technology does not have to be a solitary pursuit that involves staring at a screen all the time: if one sets up the classroom with the intent of the devices being shared, children will learn tech and collaborative skills as they can work in group apps. 

There are certain reasons why it is beneficial to make a compromise between the need to preserve the children’s health and the increasing necessity of keeping them up to date with the latest technologies. By doing this, they become confident and their learning becomes more exciting, interesting and challenging. 

Conclusion

May it be pandemic or no pandemic, offline or online school, the ultimate aim of Dubai schools is to ensure that the learning that takes place is useful to the students in real life as well. These schools seek to introduce the concept of social consciousness among the students. 

Students should be involved in making conscious decisions right from their youth so that they can become successful global citizens. They should also be encouraged to learn the importance of  preservation of their environment and social responsibility and service.

A good school majorly focuses on providing excellent academics along with the above-mentioned important co-curriculars that act as a stage for the students to succeed in all the fields making them all-rounders. Taking all the above things into consideration, you can enroll your child in one of the best Indian schools in Dubai.


Rupali Karekar

Ms Karekar comes with over 20 years experience in content writing and content strategy in fields from journalism and content marketing. As head of international communications, she has been actively interacting with stakeholders like the student, teacher and parent community to ensure open channels of dialogue and passage of information between all parties. As a result, the school initiatives and stakeholder performances find the right platform and voice to share their achievements.

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