by Cleric Allan Netto for BISMumbai

The management of the Don Bosco English and Marathi Medium Schools organized

an online teachers' training on 01-02 June 2020. Father Justus Mendis-Principal Don Bosco English Medium School was the main resource animator. Originally planned as a 05-day programme, this training had to be wrapped up within 02 days, due to a sudden spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases in Ahmednagar. The remainder of the online training session is set to be completed in the coming days, as the situation improves.

Father Vishwas Pereira, Rector and Manager, welcomed and invited the teachers to come up with innovative ways to reach young people in an effective manner. Father James Tuscano, Principal Don Bosco Vidyalaya Marathi Medium, oriented the group on the need for blended teaching in the present scenario. Father Mendis conscientized the teachers on the importance of the learning outcomes of the students. The course focused on empowering the teachers in rural areas to face the fear of technology, make the best use of the apps available through Google Classroom.

Prior to the training, a survey was done which enabled the management and the staff to know the percentage of students who either have smart phones of their own or use their parent’s phones. This was to determine the scheduling of classes at a time when students will have the phones with them. Father Mendis said, “Teachers are becoming learning facilitators. Their role is shifting from ‘instructing’ students to helping students ‘construct’ their own learning.”

The topic outline followed was:

1) Online lesson plans and creating personal Gmail accounts

2) Creating G Classroom with colleagues and organizing resources on it

3) Online and Offline Resources: Renderforest, Hot Potatoes, Mind Mapping, Google (docs/slides/Jamboard/ art and culture/ Tilt Brush for 3D images, Khan Academy, etc.

4) Organizing a Google Meet

5) Creating a G Classroom for one's own class.

Despite the disruption of consistent online connectivity caused by the Cyclone Nisarga with rains, the staff were eager and energised to learn new things. Each day, practical assignments helped them to ‘learn by error’ method. Clerics Allan Netto and Vishal Waghmare assisted the teachers in their practical assignments as facilitators.