More than a month after the COVID-19 pandemic forced unexpected shutdowns of schools around the world, parents from the Aga Khan School, Dhaka (AKSD) remain grateful to the teachers who have made the transition to online school a smooth one.
Parents acknowledged that their children would not have been able to complete the academic year without hardworking AKSD teachers. They are grateful for access to online tools such as Zoom, through which the teachers host their classes.
“Online Zoom classes were a new experience to us. The teachers put in tremendous effort to make online classes as engaging as face-to-face lessons. They are superb in terms of conducting the sessions,” said the parents of Grade 1 student Arisha Afrida Islam. “Arisha is very happy to see her loving teachers and friends during these hard days of pandemic COVID 19.”
Khaleda Shapla, mother of Grade 1 student Anzar Saifan, said the diligent teachers have inspired her to make this experience a memorable one. “There are ways of making the best out of any situation, this one included,” she said of the AKSD’s transition to online learning. “We can make the COVID-19 crisis into a moment that will live vividly in our kids’ memories, so that in other times of uncertainly they will recall fondly how their family pulled together and made the best of things, and they will be able to do the same.”
An impressive 98% of nursery and year 1 students at AKSD participate in online classes. By contacting and supporting parents to engage with learning at home, teachers aim to raise this to full attendance. Parents credit AKSD for taking the initiative to ensure learning continues in a creative and supportive environment.
Dr. Md. Mizanur Rahman and Rezwana Anwar, parents of Raida RahaNameera, Nursery class, explained that online lessons “in a home environment have had a profound effect on Raida's approach to learning, involving us more in her learning journey and making her more aware of our supportive role in it.” They added that their daughter gets to “interact with her teachers and peers in a setting that gives an impression of her actual classroom,” and the whole family has “thoroughly enjoyed using this novel communication medium.”
As expected, however, new methods of learning come with new challenges. Parents of these young children also shared the problems families have faced since online learning began. Internet connectivity issues are a common and major frustration, and for many families, finding quiet, uninterrupted time to concentrate on “school work” can be difficult. Parents also recognised that proper online behaviour needs to be taught and students must adhere to simple rules. Raising hands and being invited to speak is just as important in an online class so that questions do not go unheard amid the chatter of other students. Several parents were also concerned that their children felt more pressure to succeed when completing assignments in the presence of both their teachers and their parents.
Despite these challenges, most parents agreed that their children are enjoying their “new normal” and find the online classes playful and interactive. Shaila Parveen, mother of Danishmand Abedin Reeshad in nursery, said, “All the online classes, especially the Mathematics classes, are very exciting for my child. He is learning to count and form numbers through participating in various online games and by arranging his favourite things from home. He shares the findings with teachers and class friends when the class is going on. As parents, we are happy that the teachers and the management of the Aga Khan School, Dhaka is taking steps towards approaching a better tomorrow.”
This article was first published on the Aga Khan Schools' website.