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"Students & teachers are exploring technology every day," shares Ms. Deepika Singh

As schools in the UAE continue to brave the distance learning period, students and teaching adapt to new learning methods every day. In our exclusive interview with Credence High Schoolhg0088手机版登录 Principal Ms. Deepika Thapar Singh, we discuss how Credence has adapted to the distance learning period, as well as the possibility of blended learning becoming the new norm.

How has Credence High School responded to Covid-19 and what do you envision for the coming academic year?

Credence High School’s response to Covid-19 was quick, constructive and well thought of. Equity of access, the convenience of parents, and the wellness of the students and teachers were given top priority.

hg0088手机版登录Regular feedback through surveys helped us make changes as the lockdown period increased. Child-friendly learning apps such as Peardeck, Quizziz, Seesaw, Padlet, Kahoot, Coggle, Nearpod and more are used to impart the holistic curriculum through a well-planned timetable. PE, music, dance, reading and moral education are embedded in the plan, along with assembly, mindfulness and virtual tours. Assessment for learning continues for all, while for our students of determination  IEPs are being followed along with one to one support from the inclusion team.

Communication with parents is our USP (Unique special point). Teachers, the leadership team and the school administration are closely connected with all parents. Parents have easy access to the school principal and vice-principal, who closely support the entire community.

hg0088手机版登录The academic year 2020-21 for Credence High began in April 2020, as the school follows the CBSE curriculum. For the next term that is scheduled to start from September 2020, the school has made a contingency plan keeping all options in mind. The school is well prepared and we are confident that all guidelines of KHDA and MOE will continue to be followed with health and safety as our topmost priority.

What were some of the highs and lows of distance learning during this period?

hg0088手机版登录Distance learning opened new vistas. Students and teachers became more techno-savvy; they are exploring and learning technology every day. A variety of learning platforms have made our children more curious and inquisitive. Teachers are listening to each child, they are understanding what each child knows, what they are learning,  as a result of continuous formative assessments. There is more dialogue – children are thinking aloud and are being heard. Self-regulation has been one of the biggest takeaways; students are asking for help, looking at different strategies and through these trials and errors, they are learning!

What is missing is the personal social bonding, laughter and fun in the classrooms. School activities, being on the sports field, singing down the school corridors is deeply missed. Screen time has increased and just being at home can be very stressful.

Should schools implement new curriculums based around distance learning for the future?  Do you think that blended learning will become the new norm? How does it bring out the best in teachers and students?

hg0088手机版登录Curriculums do not need to change, strategies to impart the curriculum have to be reviewed. A blended approach is a way forward. We must continue to build on the skills that have been developed through remote learning.

Blended learning will become the new norm. Blended learning incorporates a variety of instructional approaches, learning activities can be tailored to address numerous learning styles. High-quality digital educational tools allow teachers to measure each student’s individual learning level and provide activities and instruction that meet the child where they are to give them appropriate lesson material. By incorporating technology into classroom instruction, teachers are able to reach out to more students. Teachers can move within the stations or activities to interact with an individual or small groups of students and check on progress. Data provided by educational technology programs also empowers teachers with insights on each student’s learning so they can effectively address gaps. Additionally, students become empowered as they expand their technical skills and competency with technology.

How is Credence High School preparing to welcome back students in September?

hg0088手机版登录Plans are in place for all possible scenarios. We are prepared to welcome all or most students in our regular classrooms within school premises with all health and safety measures, if the situation and guidelines from concerned authorities permit the same. We are prepared for a blended learning approach as well. Our teachers have been using technology in the classroom regularly. They are providing remote learning to our students quite effectively for almost three months. Though blended learning has its own challenges, I am confident that the transformation to blended learning would be very smooth for us.

About the Speaker

Ms. Deepika Thapar Singh joined Credence High as CEO-Principal on 20th March 2016. Prior to joining, she served as Principal for over eight years at The Air Force School (TAFS), Subroto Park, New Delhi, run by the Indian Air Force Educational and Cultural Society.

Ms. Singh completed her schooling from Delhi Public School RK-Puram, New Delhi and Bachelor of Education from Central Institute of Education (CIE), Delhi Universityhg0088手机版登录. She also holds a Postgraduate Degree in History from Delhi University.

Having worked in some of the well-known and sought after schools in India and overseas, Ms. Singh has over 30 years of illustrious experience in the field of education both as a leader, administrator and trainer.

hg0088手机版登录Ms. Singh has been a Resource Person for the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducting Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation & Formative Assessment training for both Teachers & Principals. She has been trained at IIM Kolkata (Indian Institute of Management Kolkata) besides IIM Kozhikode (Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode) on Strategic Leadership at schools. Most recently, Ms. Singh has successfully completed and earned a certificate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 'Leading Change' – in School Management and Leadership.

Under the able leadership and vision of Ms. Singh and her team of able educators, Credence High has been well recognized in the educational landscape of Dubai. The school has been consistently rated 'Good' in the last three DSIB inspections. The attainment and progress of students besides their safety, security, personal and emotional development have been particularly lauded. Parent satisfaction is almost 100%. With all these attributes, Credence High is surely on its way to becoming one of the sought after schools of Dubai.

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