Pedagogues counter PM Modi’s stance on online courses

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PM Modi At PPC 2022: The medium matters, it impacts concentration, causes fatigue and has a lasting effect on learning, educators said.

PM Modi at Pariksha Pe Charcha 2022 (source: mygov.in)

NEW DELHI: One of the first questions during Pariksha Pe Charcha 2022 came from a student who was unable to concentrate during online classes and would be constantly distracted. What could be done, he wanted to know.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose annual pre-exam interaction with students and teachers is called “Pariksha Pe Charcha”, said in response: “The medium is not the problem, the mind is the problem. “. Prime Minister Modi added: “Whether the medium is online or offline, if the mind is completely immersed in it, then online or offline will not matter to you.” He even joked, “Were you reading online or watching reels?

Except that there is a broad consensus among teachers and educators that in this case, support is an issue. Additionally, the type of learning medium has a substantial effect on children’s ability to concentrate and learn, they argued.

“Obviously, support matters. All the international research points to problems with online learning, such as lack of concentration, etc. Research clearly shows that concentration is a problem with anything online,” said Anjela Taneja from Oxfam India. “Even for an adult, it is very difficult. When we went to school, there were seven or six hours of lessons. It is not possible for a child or even an adult to take six hours of online lessons. The extent of the interaction, the extent of the contribution decreases dramatically.

Educators have also said that online education also causes screen fatigue.

“Let’s talk based on scientific studies, research shows that you can’t engage students online for long. It’s all about concentration. Also, their attention gets diverted very quickly. It also creates a lot of stress, of fatigue,” said Niranjaradhya VP, Developmental Educator and Head of Universalization Program of Equitable Quality Education Program at National Law School of India University (NLSIU).

The Karnataka government’s high-level committee to review online education in 2020 had recommended that students in secondary grades should not be allowed to take more than two hours of online instruction per day.

“We had conducted extensive research and interacted with experts in the field like the doctors at NIMHANS [National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences]. What we suggested is that for young children there should only be 30-45 minutes, that too with parent support, lessons for older children we suggested two hours,” said said Niranjanaradhya.

Get the kids involved

Educators said much of the teaching is about how actively one can engage children. It is very difficult thanks to online education.

“There is a lot of research on how children learn and children learn through engagement, which is very difficult to do through online education,” said Dhir jhingran, national steering committee member for the development of the national curriculum framework. “The content generally available for online education is very lecture-based and not interactive. It just makes the child passive whereas the basis of learning is the active engagement of children. People may argue that content can be made more interactive, but the problem then is that interactive content cannot be shared with many children at the same time. »

Educators also said learning with the peer group is extremely important for children to grasp concepts.

“Very clearly, there is less engagement in online learning. In global research, this shows that by itself, the use of technology does not make things better. It depends on the quality of teaching and online courses are not the best way. The face-to-face conversation between the teacher and the student or between the peer group itself is very important,” Taneja said.

“Cooperative learning is very, very crucial. For adults and especially for children, they learn with others. If you set some kind of screen, it’s just you and the screen. Adults can s ‘adapt a bit more to blended learning, but for kids, especially young kids, it’s not appropriate,’ Jhingran said.

“90% of children do not have access to online education. Even though let’s say 100% of kids can, it’s no substitute for online education. Technology can only supplement, not replace,” Niranjanaradhya said.

Access online education

School leaders also said that the main issue in online education is not one of concentration but one of access.

“Before talking about concentration, students should have the facilities to access it. If the student does not have the facilities, how will they concentrate. If they don’t even have the gadgets, what will they do? asks Khulbushan Sharma, president of the National Alliance of Independent Schools.

“A student may work on the side to support his family, one may be a widow’s child, another may come from a poor family. Not everyone comes from the same situation. If there is a common test, only those who have all the facilities will be able to concentrate. Others won’t,” Sharma said.


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