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13 Jan 2017

Mobile chat not Appening

Jhinuk Mazumdar, TT, Jan. 12: D for discretion seems to be the buzzword in city schools over WhatsApp communication between teachers and parents.
Several schools have asked teachers to exercise discretion in using the popular social media application to avoid "over familiarity".
The schools feel exchanging messages on WhatsApp has resulted in the formal language being compromised and sharing of personal photographs and information.
"An official communication is usually made through a letter or a note in the student's diary. On WhatsApp, the message might be shared with several others and that could lead to unnecessary problems," said Terence Ireland, the principal of St. James' School.
The school had issued an advisory about a year ago, discouraging teachers from connecting with parents over WhatsApp. The message has been reiterated at several staff meetings after instances of parents comparing marks of their wards and alleging bias in marking. "We can't control parents forming groups (on WhatsApp) but we can advise teachers not to be a part of such groups," said Ireland.
WhatsApp groups of teachers, parents and/or students are barred at Mahadevi Birla World Academy, where a standard operating procedure for excursions was issued recently. Sharing photos or information over WhatsApp is not allowed. Instead, parents are given the contact number of the teacher-in-charge of the excursion.
"Even if teachers form a group with students for a particular programme, it is dissolved immediately. No group can be formed without the school's permission," said principal Anjana Saha.
La Martiniere for Girls and Apeejay Schools prefer teachers using the school landline, and not their cell phones, to communicate with parents. "Teachers often do not have the patience to answer in detail while responding to queries over WhatsApp. That might lead to confusion," said Reeta Chatterjee, principal, Apeejay.
Another practice schools like Apeejay and South City International School discourage is circulating notices over WhatsApp.
Some schools are also wary of the profile pictures and status messages teachers put up. "Teachers have a certain position and respectability. Many students follow them and if they see teachers making certain posts they feel that they too can," said Seema Sapru, principal, The Heritage School.

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