Ways to Understand Learning Loss and Minimise Learning Delay

4 ways to understand learning loss and minimise further learning delays

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Addressing Learning Loss: A Call to Action for the Education System

India has a wide education system with 320 million students across 1.5 million schools. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Schools had to suspend all classes and examinations. To continue education, schools then switched to virtual classes from traditional classes and used different platforms like WhatsApp, Zoom, Google meet classes etc.

Teachers observed many challenges while conducting classes like low student strength (only 30% of students attended the classes), inactive in class discussion, mobile data not being sufficient for teachers and students, and no proper assessment conducted. 

More than 80% of students living in rural India were not well equipped with internet connectivity and device availability. School closures and the unavailability of resources have definitely harmed education and learning outcomes.

The ASER 2021 report mentioned that 90% of children between grades 2-6 have lost at least one language ability and 80% have lost at least one maths ability from the previous year. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the learning loss and focus on remediation.

Let’s look at some of the ways to effectively address learning loss among students:

1. Student Assessment

Schools and teachers must organize an assessment for each class after the reopening of the school. This is the primary step to reduce the learning gap that occurred due to the school closure. Assessment helps teachers to get a clear picture of current student learning levels. Teachers should conduct an in-depth assessment of each child and understand their needs, abilities and skills.

Assessments can be in written and oral form and a proper track record of the child should be maintained. The questions should include levels of difficulty to understand the current level of the child.

For instance, to assess the concept of the percentage of a child first the child should be able to multiply 2-digit numbers, then he/she should be able to calculate the percentage of a given number and finally, he/she should be able to compare the percentage of two numbers.

By this method, the teacher will be able to evaluate all the misconceptions along with the child’s current knowledge on the given topic. The same technique can be used for other subjects also. 

2. Remedial Classes

With the help of the assessment report, teachers can design a one-month remedial class. Teachers should focus on the basic concepts of all subjects and later they can focus on the most important concepts of the current year.

This can be done by selecting/developing priority outcomes from the standard curriculum. Delhi Government runs the remedial classes across government schools named mission Buniyad (Mission Foundation).

Here the purpose of the mission is to provide extra remedial classes for the students in need. Schools can focus on remedial education as that will help students to recall and improve their foundation knowledge. Students who fall behind in basic academic knowledge may develop behavioural problems or later drop out of school. With the help of remedial classes, students can gain knowledge, confidence and passion for the learning process.

Also Read: India’s Lost Generation and possible fourth wave

 

3. Include activity in the lesson plan 

If a student does not pay attention during class then he/she will not understand the concept which leads to an increase in further learning loss. As we know, in lockdown 40% of children spent less than 5 hours studying in a day which resulted in a shorter attention span. We can minimize this by including interesting activities in the class.

Incorporating activities in the class helps students to stay focused and remember the concept for a longer time. So, teachers should include at least one activity per chapter/concept. For instance, before introducing the concept of waste management, teachers can give a home assignment.

For example, to prepare a craft/art made up of waste materials. Different kinds of activities can be included which also improve other skills like communication, decision making,  teamwork and problem-solving.

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4. Address the child’s mental health issues 

The severity covid and the duration of lockdown significantly impacted mental health of children. 27% of students felt lonely and 39% of students reported disrupted sleep due to stress of illness and fear of separation. Grief, fear, uncertainty, social isolation, increased screen time and parental fatigue have negatively affected the mental health of children.

Mentally unhealthy children perform worse in academics. Parents and teachers can detect mental health issues by observing the child’s behaviour. Sudden changes in a child’s behaviour and mood changes can be a sign of mental health issues.

A strong relationship between teacher-student and parent-teacher is essential for reducing mental health-related issues on the student’s learning outcome. Parent-teacher meetings should be held once a month and weekly one-on-one interactions should be scheduled between the teacher and the student. A mentally healthy child performs well in academics, builds good relationships with peers and is always open to new learnings.  

Conclusion

Due to COVID-19, there have been difficulties in attaining effective learning outcomes in schools across the world. The stakeholders have nimbly worked to take advantage of ‘Aapda me Awsar’ (finding opportunities in difficult circumstances) by employing a variety of strategies.

The introduction of technology into schools has not only created opportunities but also increased the complexity. The measures outlined above are only a few that can be used to address the issue of learning loss and decrease its negative impacts. Schools must make necessary adjustments to mitigate the negative consequences of the lockdown on students’ education.

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