Education and Career News / Trends from around the World — April 23rd, 2021

6 min read

Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS


Education

Assessment practices have been inevitably impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Image Source: Outlook India)

Reforming assessment practices in pandemic-era education

Excerpts from article by Manjima Misra, published in Outlook India

Assessment practices in the education system need to evolve as real world settings are changing. There is no ideal assessment practice given that the real world conditions are marked by their uncertainties, changeability and limitations. Assessment practices need to adapt to the real-time context.

Problematic Forms of Assessment

The previous assessment system in India called CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) did an inefficient and, at times, a counterproductive job at supporting student learning. The assessment practices in schools became more about pleasing the teachers and performing well in problematic group projects which did not ensure equal participation by all students.

Now that the pandemic might be the new normal for at least some time to come, the viability and feasibility of high stakes summative exams such as board exams have been put to question.

Interactive & Peer Learning

In the current scenario in Indian education, we have online classrooms which do not provide adequate space for interactive learning and peer learning. Interactive learning and peer learning are essential practices for sustainable assessment – the type of assessment which enables lifelong learning. Online classes on Zoom/Google meet do not give sufficient room for teacher-student and student-student discussion based learning, which is ultimately detrimental for student learning. 

Incorporating technology-enabled learning that focuses on formative assessment throughout the year can be a more holistic and enriching alternative to summative assessment such as board exams. Such formative assessment should include development of self-assessment and reflective assessment with peers.

Active Learning as Assessment

Instead of board exams, the pathway forward in Indian education system can be a formative assessment for active learning. Board exams can be replaced with interaction-based active learning that can be assessed throughout the year.

In active learning, students are active enablers of their own learning instead of a didactic unidirectional mode where the teacher is the only transmitter of knowledge through monologues.

Active learning overthrows the “transfer of information” model of instruction. Instead, it encapsulates an approach to learning wherein students are not passive information consumers but learn from each other through discussion.


Career

It’s only natural to worry about how you’ll cope with a change in routine once you’re back to the office. (Image Credit: Freepik)

How to deal with back-to-the-office anxiety

Excerpts from article by  Ally Head, published in Marie Claire

Returning to office after months of being cooped up inside your homes, social distancing and self isolating – can feel daunting. As you begin to return to the office, it’s only natural to worry about how you’ll cope with yet another change in routine.

These expert tips on avoiding workplace stress and anxiety will help:

1. Understand your stress patterns

To avoid feeling anxious about returning to the office, you need to understand what exactly it is about returning to the office that’s making you stressed. Ultimately, it’s not stress that produces burnout, impaired performance, and physical breakdown, but rather the duration of stress without recovery. Take a break every 90 minutes a day, it will help your mind stay both calm and concentrated, ultimately lowering your anxiety levels.

2. Address your feelings, don’t suppress them 

Feeling nervous about heading back in is normal, and the key thing to do when such feelings arise is address them. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable emotions – you don’t need to judge yourself. However, what you do need to do is learn to work through said emotions.

3. Stop striving for perfection

Getting back to work and to normal is important, but this is not the time to strive to be perfect. It’s okay to do the bare minimum at work as you regroup and deal with your immediate needs. Letting your co-workers, peers or supervisor know that you have experienced a stressful event in your personal life is a good idea.

4. Reframe how you respond to crisis

Life is going to throw unexpected and unwanted life events at us, one way to deal with the anxiety of going back to the office and general workplace stress is to reframe how you respond to these unexpected changes.

Use the following tips to reframe how you respond to a crisis and prevent unnecessary stress:

  • Look forward, not backward
  • Know exactly where you want to go
  • Appreciate what you do have
  • Laugh, dance, sing!

5. Try and avoid parental guilt

As you return to office, it can be easy to fall into the trap of experiencing parental guilt. But as parents, we need to make sure we fuel our personal growth as well as that of our family. Many parents feel they lose their identity by not allowing both sides of themselves to flourish and this in itself can cause stress and conflict. Finding the right balance between work and family life means that you’ll be happier, more focused and will feel less guilty about the time you are away from the children.

6. Redefine productivity

The best way to be productive is to forget about productivity altogether. Instead, focus on how you are spending your time and designing your day. When you’re working from home, it’s hard to judge your own productivity, so you default to working harder. You manufacture stress to motivate yourself and fuel productivity. One way to alleviate the stress is to redefine what productivity means for you, by knowing when and why you are at your best – both at home and at work.

Make sure your purpose and priorities are clear, and recalibrate if it’s not working out for you.


(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above mentioned article are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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