Stung by lockdown, schools focus on conceptual learning

‘Syllabus can be tweaked only after knowing reopening time’

With schools shut since mid-March, students, teachers and parents are waiting for the authorities concerned to announce the reduced syllabus for the academic year 2020-21.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced early in June that it would announce pruned syllabus, keeping in mind a shortened academic session and the loss of classroom time, in a month.

In Tamil Nadu, the School Education Department has constituted a committee, which would look into how the syllabus could be tweaked to suit the loss of classroom time during the lockdown.

In anticipation of a reduced syllabus, many schools, which are holding online classes, have prepared a lesson plan to cover important concepts.

“The syllabus reduction will be planned keeping in mind when schools might reopen since a fair idea is needed on how much classroom time we will have for the academic year,” said Vishnucharan Panneerselvam, correspondent, Shree Niketan Group of Schools.

“Lessons and concepts should be chosen based on whether students can understand them well through online classes. Not every concept might lend itself to online teaching and this needs to be considered carefully,” he said.

Concepts identified

M.S. Jayasri, principal, Sir Siva Swami Kalalaya Senior Secondary School, said that the school had gone ahead with online classes based on important concepts identified from the curriculum.

Many schools were doing the same — by starting online classes with lessons and concepts that have continuity and find a place in the subsequent years as well.

At the Everwin group of schools, teachers have created a lesson plan for Classes I to IX with emphasis on mathematics and science for online classes.

“For English and other languages, we are focusing on communication and language development, grammar and writing skills instead of teaching prose, since these are aspects we feel will not be omitted if the syllabus is reduced for CBSE and State Board students,” said B. Purushothaman, founder and principal.

A recent participatory review conducted by the Forum for Child Friendly Schools (FCFS) and UNICEF, which covered over 3,000 teachers from the State, had 89% of them saying that the syllabus for all subjects should be reduced for this academic year.

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