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5D action plan to recover learning loss during COVID-19

Many schools have voiced concern about the likelihood of increased academic disparities among students due to a lack of support and resources.

There is an undeniable need to prioritize special attention in equipping schools to address the learning gaps caused by the lockdown restrictions.

By Leena Denzil

Schools in India have been closed for almost two years, beginning in March 2020, a measure taken to curb the pandemic. According to UNESCO, school closures in India have been among the world’s longest, disrupting learning, well-being, and health! In addition to the various other consequences that schools have encountered, students have lost nearly two years of crucial foundational learning. There is an undeniable need to prioritize special attention in equipping schools to address the learning gaps caused by the lockdown restrictions.

Many schools have voiced concern about the likelihood of increased academic disparities among students due to a lack of support and resources.

According to the results of a survey done by ClassKlap by Eupheus that included primary school teachers of close to 100 schools from across the country, 95% of the teachers have reported that students were not interested in focusing on online learning, which sometimes resulted in students becoming restless and unwilling to focus on the concepts that were taught. As a result, a gap in reading and writing skills, as well as in the ability to remember previously learnt topics, has been seen by teachers when students were unable to acquire and connect with new concepts.

Among the various other consequences of closure, clearly one crucial area that had an impact was the lack of understanding of prior concepts in students, which inevitably has an influence on the current understanding. If this is not addressed properly and systematically, this cycle would be impossible to break, and all efforts aimed only at completing the syllabus would be futile.

The need of the hour is to develop a customized curriculum, identify the right pedagogy, bring about a change in the teaching mechanisms and create appropriate assessments to gauge the progress. Schools and School leaders must relook at what needs to be taught and what can be kept on hold, what is critical and what is not, how to reuse material, and how to remediate. Most importantly, develop a bridge to recover learning losses.

With over a decade of experience of working with 5000+ schools, ClassKlap has identified a 5-step approach that will help tag high priority topics for each student in Nursery through Grade 5. The following are some strategies that schools can use to help their students overcome learning loss. 

DEVELOP AN INTERVENTION PLAN:  As per NEP 2020, focus on the key essentials of information for each subject is necessary to promote holistic learning. While considering a bridge program/course, which should be a very focused approach, schools must develop a curriculum intervention plan that includes a selection of highly critical topics. This ensures that students gain a deeper understanding and are not overwhelmed.

DEFINE THE AREA OF FOCUS: Students’ foundational abilities in English and Mathematics serve as the framework for future learning; a lack of command over these abilities will have a detrimental impact on students’ conceptual understanding across all disciplines. This step will help align to the goals of proficiency in FLN for every child as recommended by NEP 2020. It enables schools to establish learning outcomes and prioritize operations in math as well as vocabulary and basic word-sentence formation in English.

DESIGN A STRUCTURE: 2 years of learning gaps would need a fix and hence designing a time frame of at least 30 days with a clear visibility of schedule and teaching hours assists teachers in making the most of their teaching time is important. 

DIRECT THE IMPLEMENTATION: A thoughtfully planned bridge will always ensure that the intended outcome is achieved. The implementation plan must focus on:

  • Providing teachers a direction with relevant training.
  • Providing teachers with an adequate supply of teaching aids.
  • Providing students with support material such as workbooks.
  • Connecting the stakeholders (like Principal, Teacher, Student & Parent) through a digital platform ensuring access to educational aids, assessments, and seamless communication for all, leading better learning outcome.

DISCERN THE LEARNING LEVELS: With the greatest learning losses we have seen, it is now critical to shift to what NEP 2020 quotes – assessment for and as learning, greater flexibility, multiple modes of assessment, and so on. Hence Learning Assessment is an essential component of Bridge; it’s a process that will help teachers to reconfigure quickly. Short exit slips that allow for reflection activities, online tests, and so on, followed by parent-teacher meetings or coffee with parents, can help keep the focus on learning outcomes. 

(The author is Director- Academic Excellence, ClassKlap. You can reach her at leena@classklap.com. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)

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