How Teach for India Uses Zoom to Reach, Educate Students at Home
For more than a decade, Teach for India has sought to improve the country’s education system by leveraging India’s best and brightest young leaders, training them as teachers and placing them in under-resourced schools to deliver powerful change in the classroom.
These teachers, known as Fellows, focus on more than academics — though they have been able to help their students close critical academic gaps. Fellows work with their students to build strong values and understand their role in a global community, which are central to developing the next generation of leaders.
When COVID-19 began to spread throughout India, Teach for India fellows faced significant challenges when it came to connecting with students at home. Hear from Anissha Aggarwal, a Fellow with Teach for India, about the benefits of using Zoom to deliver distance education to students with limited resources, and how she was able to positively impact the lives of her students during the pandemic.
‘It’s so easy to use’
“When I started teaching over Zoom on April 1, I took two days of classes to show the students how to use the platform. These children had very little online exposure, so the application needed to be intuitive enough for them to use. But the interface for Zoom is so amazing, it’s so easy to use even for people who aren’t digital natives. Within two days, all of my students knew how to use Zoom.”
Providing unique learning experiences via Zoom
“During lockdown, my students had a million questions that could have adversely affected their mental health, such as wondering when things will get back to normal. We’ve been able to tackle those issues through social-emotional learning, sharing spaces and different experiences. We have role models within India join Zoom lessons to interact with the students. For example, we had a chef from Taj Hotels (a luxury hotel chain) teach our class how to bake a cake over Zoom, right from the hotel kitchens. School is more than curriculum. So, we’ve been teaching hobbies like art, poetry writing, theatre, dance, and more over Zoom as well.”
Creating a classroom environment in a virtual space
“As teachers, we often feel that we cannot recreate that ‘classroom feeling’ during online learning because of the supposed disconnect between the teacher and the student. We don’t know if they’ve understood the lesson, we don’t know if they have any questions or whether they are zoning out completely. With Zoom, I have always felt that connection to my students”
To learn more about how Aggarwal as a Teach for India Fellow was able to continue delivering education to students during the COVID-19 pandemic, read the full case study.