We have acknowledged the benefits of Online learning time and again during the past few weeks. It’s not as if teachers have a lot of options when it comes to modes of teaching as the world is going through a lock down situation. Educators are doing their best to deliver education so that we can make it out unscathed from this lock down.
How Pandemics Affect Mental Health
History testifies that such pandemics are not harsh to somatic health, but leave a stubborn stain on mental health as well. The great depression is a major example of a post-pandemic situation where citizens fell deep into a pit of despair. The reason is simple, nobody likes huge changes that mar daily life. During such pandemics, human beings go through monumental changes and deviate from the normal routine of life. It is hard to adapt to these changes without losing sanity.
We are all caged up within four-wall during COVID-19. Apparently, we have all the time in the world to be productive. It is for the same reason that teachers expect students to do more when they are at home. Students who did two homework a day are now expected to do three. It is a common assumption that you have more spare time at home during the lock down. Although, the reality is different.
Research by IAO showed that students are less productive, motivated, and content in lock down. Many students in colleges and universities are showing symptoms of depression which is caused due to workload. Teachers have poured out a double amount of work for students and students’ failure to submit work on time is resulting in increased stress. It is also a responsibility of teachers to ensure student well being during the lock down. Here’s what teachers can do to make sure they are not a source of stress for students;
1- Give a balanced amount of work
As mentioned earlier that many teachers have increased the amount of work considering that students are now at home. Teachers may want to understand the situation of lock down in a better way and not treat it as a vacation period. Apropos to that, teachers may want to give a balanced amount of work by taking student study hours into consideration. They may want to create a worksheet and distribute homework and assignments according to that.
Teachers may also want to prevent a sudden increase in work or assignments as students may find it hard to do it at home. If a teacher wants to increase workload then they may want to inform the students beforehand so that they can mentally prepare themselves and make extra time in their daily routine. Not only that, but students may also find it hard to do last-minute assignments as studying at home includes a lot of distractions from family, friends, personal life.
2- Engage more
We have also mentioned it in our previous articles that engagement is a huge issue when it comes to online learning. It can be stressful for students when there is a lack of engagement with teacher. Although it can be hard to maintain engagement with students in a live online class, teachers may want to take different measures to maximize engagement. For example, teachers can communicate with students through email and send them updates about class schedule, any changes, quizzes. They can also incorporate applications such as remind, TED, discord to maximize engagement with students and to stay in touch with them.
3- Give them breaks
Teachers are choosing different modes and ways to conduct their lessons. Some teachers are going with live lessons whereas some are recording video lectures so that students can watch them afterward. If you are the former type who is conducting live video lessons then this step is for you. When you are conducting your live class make sure that you are taking enough breaks. This is beneficial not only for students but also for the teacher himself. Sitting in front of the computer for long hours can be tiring and stressful, therefore a break is important both for somatic and mental health. If your lecture is two hours long then you may want to give your students a few breaks during your lecture. It doesn’t have to be a break to eat, instead, students can do random activities or take a walk for 10 minutes to freshen up their mind and body.
4- Allow Mistakes
One of the most important things to do during this lock down is to be kind and nice to your students. Many educational institutes did not have online classes at all and the lock down may have put them in a spot where they haven’t been before. Online learning may be new to many students and they may be finding it hard to adapt to the changes. Due to this students are more likely to make mistakes. Teachers should understand this and allow students to make mistakes and learn from them.
When you find out that a student has made a mistake for instance missed a lecture, did not complete an assignment, or performed badly on a test, instead of yelling or degrading the student you may want to be softer to them and give them a second chance. It will be even more beneficial for students if instead of punishing the student, the teacher decides to have a chat with them and discuss the problems they are facing in online learning.