Students switching off video? Teachers blame online fatigue
Telegraph | 22 July 2021
Teachers in several schools have noticed a certain level of “online fatigue” setting in among students in the second year of online classes.
That is manifested in selective attendance, and in the practice of keeping videos switched off or not wanting to respond in class. Instances of such behaviour had reduced after students got used to online classes last year, only to rise again, a trend that many teachers feel is caused by online fatigue.
With no end in sight of online classes, at least in near future, students are feeling “worn out” and some of them are in need of counselling, a principal said.
Schools are trying to engage students in activities and organise non-academic sessions to keep children interested in class. The question is for “how long”, because the syllabus has to be completed, too.
What was new last year has become routine this year, a school head said.
“Last year, everything was in a nascent stage and children were in awe of the development. There was a novelty in studying on mobile phones and laptops, but that novelty has worn out,” said Aruna Gomes, the principal of Loreto House.
Calcutta Girls’ High School has received requests from parents to conduct counselling sessions for students.
“Parents of students of Class IV upwards have asked us to conduct counselling because students are showing signs of emotional disturbance. They are mentally fatigued and teachers can understand that because children are lethargic. The spark in them is missing. But as schools we have to take classes and complete the syllabus,” said Basanti Biswas, the principal of Calcutta Girls’.
“School from home” has taken away the everyday pleasure of walking through corridors or on the field from a student’s life. Worse still, there is no sign of pre-pandemic life being restored.
“There is an online fatigue and children are demotivated. The usual motivators like prizes for outstanding performance are not there. They know there is automatic promotion and so they show less interest and pick and choose classes they want to join,” said Amita Prasad, the director of Indus Valley World School.
The practice of switching off the video or skipping classes is prevalent across schools.
“One day we suddenly announced that we would have an aerobics session for Class VIII. We noticed that all videos were switched on during the aerobics session and no one complained about the network,” said Madhumita Seal, the vice-principal of BDM International.
Seal said cultural exchange programmes organised in association with schools in other countries boost the socio-emotional wellbeing of students and keep them interested in class in the absence of physical interaction.
Sri Sri Academy is trying to be more “liberal” with seniors to keep them engaged.
“We have initiated more collaborative work among students so they get to interact amongst themselves. But there is no denying the mental tiredness of being in front of the screen. Also, even for collaborative projects and group work, the communication is via social media and there is no face-to-face interaction,” said Suvina Shunglu, the principal of Sri Sri Academy.