At Harappa, we’ve been at the frontlines of the education industry that was jolted into the online world. Since March 2020, we’ve been heartened to see a growing number of teachers learn from our courses to upskill themselves. For many of them, it’s been their first time using technology at all, let alone introducing any form of technology to their teaching methodologies. We’re blown away by their dedication and passion for teaching.

In the first phase of our Habit Heroes initiative, May-July 2020, we celebrated people who went above and beyond to support others during the early days of the pandemic. We selected 10 changemakers for walking the extra mile, as our Habit Heroes. For the second phase of the Habit Heroes initiative, we knew we wanted to recognize and honor the spirit and passion of pioneering teachers for creating opportunities for their students to learn and grow through these difficult times. Once we opened nominations on Teachers’ Day, more than 2,000 nominations poured in from all parts of the country!

Teachers shared their stories with us; they talked about their experience of switching to online teaching. They shared how they overcame the challenges they faced during the transition, innovative ideas and methodologies they’re using to keep energy high, and the creativity to make their new online classrooms as impactful as offline classrooms.

Here are our 5 Harappa Habit Heroes: teachers who have pioneered online teaching and learning in these times of change.

  1. Arzoo Rikhy: Arzoo is the youngest of our teachers with 6 years of experience. She teaches students of grade 3 at Shiv Nadar School, Noida. She made her online teaching as impactful as offline teaching by enabling her students to be at the forefront of the shift. In her online classroom, students led the planning and execution. They also led class discussions and became adept at making interactive presentations. Most importantly, the participatory approach helped students feel responsible for their unique roles—digital citizen advisor, chat manager. Rikhiya’s recipe for success was rethinking the needs of the new environment and tailoring a solution that fit it.

  1. Sunil Bhakhare: Sunil works with tribal children, through Eklavya Model Residential School, Nashik, in remote areas where technology isn’t easily accessible. He’s taught grades 6 through 10 for more than 25 years. To ensure children without internet connection weren’t left behind, Bakhare created different groups of students based on their tech access. This ranged from students who were entirely taught online, taught via WhatsApp, taught through a basic mobile without internet, and those without any device at all. He has used multiple formats to teach across these groups—through presentations, voice notes, and video clips.

  1. Anjali Dadwal: Anjali has been teaching for more than 23 years. She now works at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Chandigarh, and teaches preschoolers. For her, the biggest challenge was using technology for the first time in her life! She quickly became a learner herself to learn new ways to keep preschoolers engaged. She used kinesthetic learning techniques such as storytelling for each alphabet, asking her students to match things in their rooms with the alphabets, and similar innovative methods to keep things interesting for them.

  1. Shipra Bhartiya: Shipra is a primary Maths teacher for grades 4 and 5 at Shiv Nadar School, Noida. She has been teaching for the last eight years. She faced the challenge of keeping her learners engaged and motivated in a subject many of them found challenging. Her magic formula was combining several simple ideas: asking students for feedback after each lesson, letting them decide how they wanted to submit their homework and helping them form small groups to facilitate peer learning.

  1. Nisha Jain Grover: Nisha is a psychologist and counselor based out of Jaipur. She has been working with children with learning disabilities, behavioral and adjustment issues for 15 years. Her biggest challenge was ensuring a socio-emotional connect despite the distance. Along with her team at Vatsalya Legacy, she overcame this challenge by systematically helping children acclimatize to their new reality. First, they connected with children 1-on-1 through WhatsApp calls every day. Gradually, they moved these students to music, dance and yoga classes. Only after students became comfortable with the new routine, the team introduced academics in bite-sized formats.

All our Habit Heroes get complimentary access to all of our courses in addition to wide recognition and visibility for the work they are doing. You can also see their video story on our YouTube channel. We’re excited to recognize more and more inspiring stories of change and share them with you in the months to come.

Congratulations to our inspiring Habit Heroes!

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