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Rapport with students vital to erase hesitancy: Experts

With schools reopening today for classes 1-8, experts say young children may struggle to return to routine after 19 months

Published: 01st November 2021 04:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st November 2021 04:43 AM   |  A+A-

With classes 1 to 8 reopening today, a worker painting the blackboard at CSI Middle school in Chennai.

With classes 1 to 8 reopening today, a worker painting the blackboard at CSI Middle school in Chennai. (Photo | EPS/Martin louis)

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Ten-year-old K Senthil, a class 6 student, is worried as from Monday he will have to wake up early and go to school, a practice he has not been following for 19 months.  As classes 1 to 8 are scheduled to reopen from Monday, many students like Senthil are getting jittery and nervous.

According to experts, the onus is on teachers now. They need to ensure a smooth transition back to school for the pre-primary and primary school children by building a strong rapport with them. “Children are now used to life out of school and reintegrating them into the school system is going to be quite difficult. Teachers need to focus on making school a happy place so that kids will not hesitate to attend school regularly,” said P Poorna Chandrika, Director of the Institute of Mental Health. 

Due to online classes, the communication skills and cognitive abilities of students got affected badly, but above all, it’s their mental well-being that needs to be addressed. “Instead of pushing them into studies immediately, teachers need to interact with them, win their trust, reignite hope, and erase negativity from their minds. Teamwork of teachers, counsellors, and parents is required to achieve the goal,” shared Poorna Chandrika. 

Educationist Prince Gajendra Babu opined, “Teachers need to deal with students with lots of patience and help them in overcoming their learning loss.” Recently, Chief Minister M K Stalin also called upon teachers to help students dispel their anxiety over coronavirus. He advised them to opt for storytelling and other extra-curricular activities during the first two weeks of school.

Lack of infra a hurdle for govt school teachers? 

However, is it possible to implement all these initiatives in government schools, which are struggling from the shortage of teachers and classrooms? “There are over 2,000 single-teacher schools in the State, while thousands of schools are managed by two teachers. Is it possible for one teacher to interact with all kids, organise game and storytelling sessions for them? Even many government schools do not have adequate classrooms or playgrounds, where students can sit following social distancing norms,” said Umamaheswari S, a government school teacher.

Andrew Sesuraj, State Convenor for TN Child Rights Watch, said it’s high time the government should focus on rectifying the infrastructure problems in government schools. “The government school students need more care and attention as the majority of them are from the deprived sections of the society. Amid the pandemic, it is the government’s responsibility to ensure quality education and health to the students,” said Sesuraj.

Meanwhile, the majority of the private schools in the city are not reopening class 1 to 8 classes on Monday due to logistic issues. “We have plans to re-open school for classes 5 to 8 towards the end of November. Then, measures will be taken to resume classes from 1 to 4. Currently, we are focussing on conducting physical classes for class 10 students as we need to prepare them for their board examination,” said P G Subramanian, Principal, Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram.



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