In the pre-COVID world of instructors engaging a group of students in a real world classroom had had its innate benefits when compared to the remote delivery model that is in practice today due to the nCOVID-19 pandemic crisis.
The obvious advantages in a traditional classroom include the instructor’s ability to make eye contact with students during interactions, watch their body language, their quality of attention, etc., while this is difficult to do online.
While most teachers in most schools prepare lesson plans, and digital or other types of resources are available, the session cannot be a completely scripted one. The teacher or instructor should be able to bring in spontaneity into the sessions. It will usually be unplanned and will depend on the teacher’s general knowledge and knowledge of current affairs for them to spontaneously connect a concept to the real world events.
There is another aspect of good quality teaching-learning process, which is the ease of interaction and being able to identify and assess individuals for any special needs like dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, etc., so that they can set up separate remediation sessions, possibly engaging the parents too. Not that it cannot be done using technology and online, but I guess it takes getting used to.
Whenever I get an opportunity to talk to the teachers and learning designers, I generally have one advice: watch Discovery Channel, Nat Geo, ‘Journey through the wormhole’ with Morgan Freeman, etc. Such channels are very informative, provide updates, and instill a sense of curiosity in the minds of the teacher. Eventually, the knowledge gained will help them bring spontaneity into their sessions, and help students in connecting curriculum related topics with real world issues.
In the wake of the COVID crisis, many lower tier schools are either shutting down or in distress, as fee collection has been sluggish. More and more teachers are taking pay cuts, lay-offs, etc. We seem to be going from a situation where it was hard to find qualified and good teachers to a bit of a relaxed market. Not a good situation for the schools and teachers, but COVID crisis is still on, and the schools and their key stakeholders will experience turbulence.
Education technology is filling the gap, and will continue to play a key role even after COVID times. They act more as tools in the hands of the teachers and as tools for the students, being complementary to each other in earnest.