Online classes have affected the writing skills of schoolchildren, said teachers of several schools in the city. The effect was evident following the students’ return to school for in-person classes.
During physical classes in April, when the schools reopened after being closed for two years because of the pandemic, many students were found reluctant to take down notes. They instead requested teachers to send the study materials online, a number of teachers said.
Senior students are now more comfortable downloading content instead of writing them down, something they would do effortlessly during the pre-Covid times.
Not just students, parents, too, made requests to the teachers to upload classroom notes online.
For students in the junior section, parents had been taking down notes during the online classes and even helping them finish their homework. This had a bad effect on the kids.
Many schools have requested parents after the resumption of offline classes not to help their kids with notes so the learners get back the habit of writing.
While the classes were held online, teachers would often send study materials in the PDF format to the children, who would memorise them without writing them down. The online classes have impacted both the pace of and flair for writing, teachers said.
During an offline session in one of the schools in the city, Class V students were asked to take down sentences from the board.
Some of the students completely failed to do so and some others wrote down the sentences incorrectly.
“The students had everything ready on their smart devices during online classes and there was no question of taking notes,” said Nupur Ghosh, vice-principal of Mahadevi Birla World Academy.
“Before the pandemic, students used to write abbreviations that are common in text messages in the answers. Now, the situation is different. The students are not willing to write at all,” said a teacher.
Devi Kar, director of Modern High School for Girls, said writing strengthens motor movement and “despite all gadgets, a hand-written note is and will be more significant”.
Jessica Gomes Surana, principal of Loreto Convent, Entally, said the “board and eye coordination has deteriorated” in the last two years.
“Students in classes II, III and IV are much slower now and are taking a lot of time to copy from the board. Senior students have lost the flair for writing. They would request teachers to send notes online,” she said.
It is clear that parents were doing a lot of work for students in junior classes, a school principal said.
“Students in Class V are unable to write cursive. The letters are separated and not joined as a word. We have told parents not to help students finish their homework but just guide them,” said Terence John, principal of Julien Day School Kalyani.
Not just handwriting, even neatness and the discipline of presentation has deteriorated over the past two years, many teachers said.
“There is a general tendency to be lazy and the effort to draw lines or write neatly has vanished,” said Amita Prasad, director of Indus Valley World School.
Many of the gaps were addressed in the last one month of in-person classes but it could again be undone, said teachers. “Children forget quickly but they also pick up fast. Just as they were picking up the threads they are back to online classes,” said Ghosh of Mahadevi Birla World Academy.