Webinar: Prahlad Kakkar and Nikhil Saraf on “The Learning Gap”

Club1BR in association with NIE organised a special webinar on the topical issue of The Learning Gap and Strategies to Bridge it.

What is The Learning Gap?

The learning gap is the gap between what a child should have learnt and what s/he has learnt at any age. In India, all studies point to a significant learning gap in both math and language in early primary years. This gap widens with age – i.e. the kids who had a small gap at age 8 end up with a wide gap by age 15. This makes it crucial to identify this gap and address it as early as possible so that the child does not face the consequences.

The pandemic has made this worse because of the “learning slide” – a gap in education that causes the child to slide back. Azeem Premji University published reports on The Loss of Learning during the Pandemic. A striking statistic from the report: on an average, 92% of children have lost at least one specific language ability from the previous year across all classes. The percentage is higher at the younger age – primary classes than the older classes. This creates an urgency to address both the learning gap and the learning slide.

The Experts:

Prahlad Kakkar:

Prahlad Kakkar is a renowned advertising guru, creative genius, film director and the founder of Genesis Film Production. He is also a man of many hats. He set up a scuba-diving school called “Lacadives” in 1995 and launched the School of Branding and Entrepreneurship in Mumbai .

He has invented the genre of television advertising in India. He rules the advertising world with his brand of irreverent humour, memorable brand-building campaigns and has created award winning commercials for the most reputed corporate agencies in India and the Asia-Pacific region.

He has helped created memorable campaigns for brands like Pepsi – “Yehi hai right choice, baby”, Goldspot – “The Zing Thing”, Maggi -“Two-minute”, Maggi Sauces “It’s different.”, and many more.

Nikhil Saraf:

Nikhil is a computer science engineer and completed his masters from MICA, Ahmedabad with the directors medal for academic excellence. Nikhil’s experience with stories as a medium for change and urge to work with children in the education sector led him to co-found Stones2Milestones (S2M). At S2M, his innovations in the field of education technology for language learning have impacted 1200+ schools and half a million children across India.

He has studied Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford Graduate School of Business and directly works with their Human Centered AI Department for improving efficacy of Stones2Milestones’ learning products. Recently, he was selected as a Forbes 30U30 Asia honoree. 

He is currently a guest faculty at IIM Calcutta, taking their course on edTech and its evolution under ‘Rethinking Education’ along with prof. Aditi Bhutoria.

Top Learnings from the Webinar

  1. The biggest problem in an online class is engagement. This is why a teacher needs to go beyond being a teacher and become a performer. You have to teach with not just your words, but your face and your entire body to hold the attention of your students.
  2. Teachers have been left out of the experience scale. They are reproducing something they learnt decades ago and it is no longer relevant. We need to teach children values. Children need to grow up to be people who are concerned about their environment, their country and their future.
  3. What values are we imparting to our students? How can we engage with them? The heart of teaching is storytelling. If you cannot engage them through stories about Maths, Science or any other subjects, you have lost the opportunity to engage with the child.
  4. We need to factor change as a dimension of the system. Change is inevitable and teachers need to be prepared for change in the education system and prepare their students also to face that change. There is a huge opportunity today because the traditional method of classroom teaching has been rendered impossible.
  5. We need to teach our children to see every failure and every disaster as an opportunity to explore new ways of doing things and breaking out of the established structure. We need to impart values to enable the children to remain lifelong learners and stay relevant throughout their life.
  6. Energy, Clarity and Momentum: These are the three things that teachers need in the current scenario. The energy that you are imparting to your student through your class is more important than the transfer of content. We, as a teacher fraternity, need to have clarity on how things are going to turn out and provide that answer to the students who are looking up to us. You also need to provide a momentum in terms of where the students need to be on a daily basis through your online class.
  7. Schools need to be cognizant that students now have more exposure than ever before. Neither teachers nor students exist in silo or within the physical structure of the school anymore. They can get information from all over through multiple apps and the internet.
  8. Like every child in a class has a different shoe size, each child as a different learning ability. We need to be able to assess what the child’s size is and create the right kind of content and lesson plan for the child. You need to educate not just the child but the parent as well that just consuming the content is not enough, it needs to be structured properly.
  9. Children do not like predictability. It makes them switch off. You need to structure your class and lesson plan in such a way that you break the pattern and give the child a breather. You have to get creative and impart more energy into your classroom.
  10. Stories are the best way to impart values to children. Storytelling has been a medium of value education over the decades. Children learn innately through stories.

Here’s the video of the webinar

If you have only 2 minutes, then check out the segment at 1:03:24.

Club1BR

The Club1BR program is our initiative to create 1 Billion Readers by 2025. If you are a school that believes in the power of reading like we do, drop a comment with your school name and email id in the comments section and we will reach out to you.

fREADom App

A productive screen time app for ages 3 to 12, that focuses on improving English Language skills.

fREADom LIVE

Online English classes for ages 5 to 12. Proven methods for children to improve academic performance and confidence.

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