In the past year, teachers and students transitioned their teaching and learning online. While daunting, this task also opened up many educators to new horizons and perspectives, taking them through a process of learning new ways of teaching online. Even at Art1st, the team of Artist Mentors has had their share of transformative experiences, in these digitally-connected times.
Right from the start, there was a noted shift: Regardless of age or experience, teachers adapted well to the online format, with demonstrated success. In Art1st training sessions, we adopted the process of Micro-teaching. In Micro-teaching; a teacher training and faculty development technique whereby the teacher reviews a recording of a teaching session, to get constructive feedback from peers and/or students about what has worked and what improvements can be made to their teaching technique; lead to certain breakthroughs in training sessions. Educators have been able to reflect on feedback, and practice self-motivated learning. Consistent feedback, reviews to their peers, and self-assessments have been successfully inculcated as well.
Another commendable achievement this year was the breaking of Language barriers. Online training sessions on Zoom were more informal and inclusive in their language of instruction, resulting in an increase in discussion and the exchange of ideas. Being in the online space permitted educators and mentors to be in constant touch, this built familiarity and comfort between the Art1st Artist Mentors and teachers which supported the teachers to develop their reflective process and better integrate their new knowledge and processes.
As teachers became comfortable on the new platform, they began to feel empowered in their teaching styles, recording their instructional videos to be shared with their students. Being at home was no longer a setback or restrictive, instead, the home became a haven of new materials to be used in the classroom. Over time, teachers grew more confident in making their own decisions and creating guidelines for how to conduct their classes.
Being removed from the familiar environment of the classroom has compelled teachers to adopt new methodologies and generate solutions to unanticipated issues. Previously teachers were reluctant to use computers or digital resources, however, the constraints of the pandemic created an opportunity to become more creative and innovative in their teaching approach.
Teachers are now proficient Zoom wizards, online researchers, and savvy users of online tools and platforms. Teachers are empowered and confident and now view their work with increased value and are invested in thinking and researching to build vibrant learning environments online and in their classrooms.
Given this long list of achievements by our teachers, we cannot wait to see what 2021 has in store for us!