How online education during the ongoing pandemic has changed student behavior – Edexlive

In April this year, a video of a Class XII student insulting and threatening his botany teacher at a public school in Tirupattur went viral on social media. The boy’s mood flared after his teacher woke him up during class and asked if he had handed in his booklet.

This incident, however, was not isolated. Instances of students becoming unusually aggressive have been reported in Vellore, Salem, Theni, Coimbatore, Kanniyakumari, Chennai, Tiruppur and Madurai, making them pan-Tamil Nadu phenomena. In many of these incidents, videos of which have made the rounds on social media, students have been seen insulting teachers, teasing and threatening them, breaking desks in classrooms, drinking alcohol on buses and fighting in bus stops.

While it is convenient to label these children as brash or unruly and call for disciplinary action, educators believe a spike in such incidents may have its roots in the long absence of students from schools during school breaks. Covid-induced closures and subsequent online education.

Pandemic and poverty
G Gopi, a public school teacher in Vellore, said: “We dealt with student disobedience even before the pandemic, but things changed after children from poor families started working part-time jobs to support themselves. to the needs of their families during the pandemic and having money in their pockets. They began to bring their attitude to work into the classrooms, including the use of tobacco and other intoxicants,” a- he declared.

Gopi said more than 20% of public school students statewide now work part-time and often drop out of class. A few students at his school even dropped out just months after schools reopened for physical classes.

cell phone addiction
Gopi also pointed to complaints from several parents at school management committee meetings that their wards were excessively using cellphones and becoming addicted to cellphone games.

T Veeramani, Professor of Psychology at Government Arts College, Coimbatore, said: “Over the last two pandemic years, the use of mobile phones by students has increased so much that some mistake the device for a companion. When schools reopened for physical lessons, they started using the devices even during lessons. Numerous studies, Veeramani said, have shown that higher levels of mobile phone use affect students’ mental health, leading to aggression and loneliness.

He said aggression in psychological terms stems from frustration, which stems from poor judgment and decision-making skills. Those who used cellphones excessively tended to perform poorly in these skills. Notably, internet access via cell phones has also allowed people to be aggressive towards others without having to talk to them face to face.

Additionally, the isolation felt by many students during the pandemic and the inability of parents to offer emotional support may have contributed to the problem.

“Indian curricula are rooted in offline education with hands-on demonstrations. When education moved online, it became difficult for teachers to monitor their students. Parents gave their wards the space and time to take online classes, but this has led many students to become addicted to mobile phones.These students should receive psychological and behavioral therapies,” Veeramani said.

The path to follow
Many teachers TNIE has spoken to have demanded that they be allowed to subject unruly students to corporal punishment. It should be recalled that the Minister of School Education, Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, had declared that these students would be expelled from the schools and the reason for their expulsion would be mentioned on their TC.

However, Dr Poorna Chandrika, director in charge of the Institute of Mental Health, Kilpauk, said the solution lay in addressing the child’s psychosocial issues. “Parents should try to reduce their wards’ screen time through technical breaks and encourage them to participate in outdoor games and other activities. Families should organize social gatherings so that children can communicate with their peers.

Children with deviant behavior should be given special attention and they should be tested for learning disabilities such as dyslexia and ADHD, she said.

Teachers can opt for measures such as asking unruly students to sit for an extra hour in class. “The government can explore options like giving them a week of social service in hospitals or children’s homes,” she said, adding that the days of disciplining students through corporal punishment are over. .

K Balamurugan, president of the TN Psychology Association, recommended that psychoeducation, which he said involved learning life skills and improving students’ self-confidence, be introduced into schools as a subject. Support.

“Many students are stressed due to family conflicts, puberty, inferiority complex, social media, cell phone addiction, etc. Previously, there was mobile counseling provision where psychologists visited schools and offered individual and group counseling to students; it is no longer available to students,” he said.

In 2012, following the murder of a teacher by a student in Chennai for repeatedly sending negative remarks about his studies to his parents, the Madras High Court ordered the state government to offer psychological counseling for schoolchildren. Mobile advice was introduced in 2013 as a result of this orientation.

However, since the 2018-2019 academic year, no funding has been allocated for this program, according to sources. He also found no mention in the recent School Education Department guidance note.

Attempts to reach school education secretary Kakarla Usha were unsuccessful.

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