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Why some kids thrive in ‘zoom school’ | India News


Kavya Kothari liked going to school. But the six-year-old loves to “get closer” to virtual school. Whereas before her twin sister Krisha and the other children ran into their classrooms from the school’s front door, Kavya, who has a congenital spinal defect and cannot walk, had to be put in a stroller. The Kotharis’ house helper ‘aaji’ would sit in class with Kavya and take her to different parts of campus for extracurricular activities. During PE period, Kavya stayed in the classroom with only aaji for company.
But the scene changed this March. Kavya and Krisha now sit together on a mat in the living room of their home in Pune and attend two and a half hours of school via their parents’ laptop. The 10 minute breaks between lessons consist of sharing sandwiches and laughing. “Kavya is less self-conscious, less awkward now. She also feels empowered because she can log in on her own, ”says her doctor and mother Simpal Kothari.
While distance education has its drawbacks – too much screen time, too little social contact, and a wider gap between the rich and poor who don’t have access to technology, parents and educators have noted that some children are thriving in the digital classroom. The shy boy who sat unnoticed in the corner is talking; the adolescent with social anxiety is more confident now that he’s in front of the webcam instead of 40 pairs of eyes, and the kid who was bullied for being “different” finally feels like he belongs.
Take the case of the Mumbai school girl Vipasana Sen. The 13-year-old, who used to score below average last year, is now scoring “near the top” on online tests. This is because the student in class 8 was uncomfortable in the physical classroom. He used to be bothered by loud sounds, like the bell or the thud of the feather duster falling to the ground, which are part of school life. These would trigger your tinnitus, a condition characterized by ringing or buzzing in your ears, and would also cause nausea. “Two years ago, Vipasana used to stand at the school gate and refuse to enter. Now he can’t wait for class to start. You simply adjust the volume of the laptop to your liking and focus on your lessons. This is really a breakthrough for us, ”says her mother Priya.
Juhi Yadav (name changed), who studies at a school in South Delhi, is also improving in the digital space. The seven-year-old girl, whose father works as a driver and her mother as a domestic worker, had been admitted through the quota for the economically weaker sectors, but did not feel accepted. Her classmates would mock her wavering English and leave her out of birthday celebrations. Annoyed, Juhi was picking fights and was eventually banned from coming to school for a few days due to his “bad behavior.” But her experience changed dramatically when she began learning through a laptop donated by her mother’s employer. “She passed the math test. The teachers are also very impressed by her discipline and homework performance, ”says her father Mohan.
Distance learning also turned out to be a blessing for Rohit Bhargava (name changed), who was bedridden after an accident in February left the bones in his right leg completely crushed and caused trauma-related complications to his heart and lungs. . A rod had to be surgically inserted into his leg to help stabilize his broken bones, and the 22-year-old Delhi resident was confined to bed. Considering that his university only allows students with 75% attendance to take exams, Bhargava would have been excluded. “Online classes saved me a whole year of sitting around doing nothing and then repeating a year,” says Bhargava, who currently attends classes from a hospital bed. He was able to turn in assignments on time despite undergoing three surgeries last week.
Aparna Panse, who runs Bal Kalyan, a Pune-based NGO that works for the welfare of children with special needs, believes that digital education is also working better for some children with autism. “These children are very uncomfortable in the presence of others. They can study better in their own safe space, ”he says.
Now that they have discovered the benefits of online education, some parents do not want to send their children back to face-to-face classes, even when the pandemic passes. “I hope we have the option to continue the online school for Kavya,” says Kothari.

Times of India