Flour, oil, salt: How UAE teachers are making lessons fun as schools go online during rains

Educators have also been encouraging students to assume responsibility for their own learning


Nandini Sircar

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Photo: Jaimiely Monedo Dionglay
Photo: Jaimiely Monedo Dionglay

Published: Thu 2 May 2024, 4:33 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 May 2024, 3:42 PM

“That’s a bowl of flour, a glass of water, a plate of oil, and a cup of salt,” says Jaimiely Monedo Dionglay, FS 2 teacher at Newlands School-Dubai, as she shares her online class today.

As schools transitioned to distance learning on Thursday teachers have been getting innovative, spicing up science lessons with kitchen utensils to create engaging learning experiences.

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They have also been encouraging students to assume responsibility for their own learning.

The unstable weather conditions prompted schools to switch to online learning to prioritise the well-being of the children and all involved stakeholders.

Headteachers reiterated that institutions are committed to ensuring a seamless transition for their students and their families during these challenging times.

Sangita Chima, Amity School Dubai Principal, said, “To keep the momentum going schools are adopting new ways of teaching and constantly implementing different styles of assessments and evaluations. We have not only been imparting theoretical lessons but even been conducting practical lessons, where teachers are using kitchen utensils to conduct science lessons. We have installed software that demonstrates chemical reactions and forces of physics. We conduct assessments to see if there were any technical hindrances and if all students were visible on the screen during remote learning.”

Principals warned that during distance learning, the prevailing notion often revolves around taking things easy.

She added, “Younger children especially perceive it as fun time, and seek to disconnect. Parents and teachers will have to help pupils tune in. Learning isn’t something that is just done to you; rather, it’s something you do for yourself.”

Headteachers also advise students to take breaks, as they would at school, and engage in physical activities.

Simon Herbert, Head of School/CEO, GEMS International School – Al Khail, said, “Schools need to be clear on what the distance learning offering consists of – it is not an advantage to simply have more and more ‘live’ online sessions, rather a good mixture of asynchronous and teacher check-ins on progress and understanding is preferable.”

Self-discipline, time management

Principals reiterate their advice to students is to stay engaged and proactive in their learning journey.

Peter Bonner, Primary Principal, GEMS World Academy – Dubai said, “This is a unique opportunity to develop self-discipline and time management skills that will serve you well beyond your schooling years. Utilise the resources provided, ask questions, and maintain regular communication with your teachers and peers.”

They highlighted that in order to facilitate the process, schools have provided clear and consistent communication to students and parents. They have been ensuring that all students have access to the necessary technology and resources, and are offering robust support systems including tech support, counselling, and academic guidance.

Dedicated, quiet workspace

Advising parents they said, “Parents, meanwhile, can create a dedicated, quiet workspace for their children to study, establish a routine that includes structured study times as well as breaks, and stay in touch with teachers and school staff to monitor progress and provide support where necessary,” added Bonner.

Principals stressed that a devoted team of educators reaffirmed everyone’s expectations for students during online classes.

Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO-Principal at Credence High School said, “We stressed the significance of active participation and the importance of students taking ownership of their learning journey. Through embracing responsibility and engagement, our students not only enhance their academic progress but also contribute to fostering a positive and enriching virtual classroom environment. We remain dedicated to supporting our students and families through this period of remote learning.”

(With inputs from Angel Tesorero)


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