TEACHING and learning is a two-way interaction and sadly, during the movement control and lockdown periods, I could only meet my students occassionally to pass them learning materials so many teachers like me resorted to online platforms. It’s the only feasible method of education where a two-way interaction can happen without the need for physical contact. Some teachers have no choice but to visit their students at their homes to hand out modules or to conduct classes somewhere in the kampung with a small number of students but for me, this defeats the purpose of the lockdown. I applaud the teachers for their sacrifices and for their good intention but we have to bear in mind the severity of the pandemic. I am not fond of handing out print materials to students where they are expected to do their homework on their own without guidance from teachers and without giving them the space to respond, request for feedback and ask questions. That’s not teaching, that’s just giving students tons of homework to do and no one likes that — I certainly don’t as an educator. Even if students don’t have laptops and tablets, teachers can still conduct lessons through messaging apps (but a smartphone is still necessary).
A secondary school teacher from Sabah who only wanted to be known as John
HOME-based teaching and learning (PdPR) had many shortcomings such as the dearth of expertise and guidelines on how to go about it for teachers. But PdPR has improved since last year as teachers gained more experience. Students can still learn without owning gadgets as teachers would prepare modules and send them to their students’ homes, while some would leave the materials at the schools’ guard house for parents to pick them up. However, I do believe that if students are provided with digital gadgets, the PdPR process will be more effective and meaningful. There are three main reasons why I think it’s imperative that they have access to devices and the Internet:
> Students can re-play videos of the lessons whenever they want, which allows them to revise whenever they want as well. There are many students who can’t follow their PdPR lessons according to the timetable set due to various constraints and problems, such as having to take turns to use the devices with their siblings.
> It allows PdPR to be more interactive and interesting. Teachers are racing to find knowledge in order to attract their students’ attention during lessons. District and state education offices too have organised webinars and courses to equip teachers with interesting methods and techniques to use during PdPR. > It will attract students’ attention and interest to actively follow their PdPR classes. This generation of students are more likely to use technological and digital equipment. ‘Learning while playing’ will definitely make students look forward to following their classes with enthusiasm and joy.
SMK Kuala Krau, Pahang special needs education teacher Mohammad Hazeem Azemi