Online classes create barriers in learning for many

As the world battles several different crises in the midst of a pandemic, millions of students around the globe are struggling to keep up with their education. Earlier this month, the school made the decision to remain closed for the rest of the academic year. However, to continue educating its students, the school formulated a plan for online learning. 

Teachers have taken to assigning work online and using video conferencing platform Zoom to educate students. 

“My classes have gone on much better than I expected. Zoom is an excellent platform,” Ms. Mou Maiti, Physics teacher, and academic coordinator said. 

Teachers have been asked to host at least one class every week, and design weekly calendars with detailed information about all assignments. 

Virtual learning, however, is not good enough in some areas of study such as film, theatre, music, and art. Both students and teachers are concerned about how they will continue learning in these classes. 

“We aren’t doing anything physical [or] hands-on, which is restricting us from learning about the craft to its full potential,” Kuhu Singh, Class of 2021, and a DP Theatre student, said. 

The two-year Diploma Program (DP) requires all students to work on their portfolios and several projects. Online learning makes this hard. DP art students, for instance, are struggling to continue building their portfolios as they are forced to “find all [their] inspiration from inside [their] houses,” Mr. NandaKumar (Nandu), Art teacher, said. 

Mr. Nandu pointed out how online classes lack interaction, which prevents students from seeing other’s work, which “is an important element while learning.” 

Additionally, due to lockdowns in several countries and states, including India, it is extremely difficult for students to find the materials they need for these classes. This is a major concern, especially for those students whose instruments are stored in school. 

Students are also extremely disappointed due to the cancellation of the spring drama production, which is a major project for those involved. However, Mr. Curran Russell, Drama teacher, explained, with high morale, that he does not want all the hard work that the students put in to go to waste. Thus, he will be working with students to put together a recorded version of snippets from the play.

A major chunk of Woodstock’s student body is interested in different art forms and want to pursue careers in them. DP students are very concerned about meeting their IB graduation requirements, as well as their university applications. 

While having canceled all external exams for the Class of 2020, the IB has made no official statement regarding the Class of 2021. Ms. Maiti believes that any official statements regarding the Class of 2021 should not be expected before September. Teachers recommend students to keep up with their coursework since there may not be any changes in the requirements.  

To address these issues, teachers are trying to designing assessments and projects that are less hands-on and more research-based. Singh mentioned theatre students will be working on a research project in the coming weeks. 

Although IB has put guidelines in place to assist schools with planning assessments during this time, schools are left to make decisions independently, depending on their unique situations. Based on this, the school decided to move all IB Internal Assessments to later dates. Students may have to skip out on a few days of vacation later this year, but that might be the only way for them to catch up. 

 

Featured image from zoom

Janvi Poddar is the editor-in-chief of The Woodstocker 

Edited by Archita Aggarwal

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