Teachers apprehensive of learning gaps among students
As primary school students of classes 3 to 5 returned to classrooms on Wednesday, many teachers found acute problems of learning gaps among students. Teachers said that despite online classes, students with inadequate support systems at home and lack of access to phones and computers have been lagging behind the others.
“Many students are now not able to read properly, for they have not attended the school for almost a year now,” said Amarjyoti, a teacher of Class 3 at Sector 4/7 primary school.
Jeet, a student of Class 5 at the Sector 4/7 government school, when asked by his class teacher to finish an English exercise of writing his friends’ names along with their qualities, said he could not do so. Jeet, whose father works as a school guard, said, “We don’t have access to phones through which other students study. I am not able to understand what is being taught to me in the classroom.” All exercise sheets in his book were blank.
Likewise, Shruti and Lakshmi in Amarjyoti’s classroom, who shifted from private schools, had difficulty in doing mathematics and English exercises, despite attending online classes.
Shazra and Uzma, Class 4 students at the primary school in Police Lines also struggled to keep up with the lessons being taught. “They don’t remember mathematics tables and have been facing difficulties in doing multiplication and division,” said Sandeep, their class teacher.
For classes 3 to 5, there are only four subjects — English, Hindi, Mathematics and EVS (comprising lessons on history, geography and science) — which are to be covered in three hours, from 10am to 1.30pm, as per the Covid-19 prevention guidelines. However, Sandeep said that since many students were not actively involved in online studies, additional work has to be put in for in-person instruction.
Both Sandeep and Amarjyoti said that for two to three days, the focus will be on brushing up the basics. “It is for this reason I asked every student to read a few lines from the chapter to gauge their current situation. Many students have been facing difficulties in reading words, which was not the case earlier when the schools were shut last year,” said Amarjyoti.
Teachers said that revisions will help them in identifying students who require more attention and they will be grouped. “Students who need attention will be given exercises to improve their basics, while others will carry on with the routine curriculum,” said Sandeep.
On the other hand, a few teachers continued with the curriculum, instead of revision, for a month. Rajeev Gandhi, a teacher of Class 5 at the Sector 4/7 government school, said, “We are going ahead with the syllabus set for January and February on the first day, instead of revision, as students have been taking up online classes for all these months now. Exams are expected to be held in a month or two, so lessons have to be completed.”
According to teachers, the extent of learning loss can be estimated once classes operate with at least 80% strength.