Work around the corner
How can the change-over from a special school to a mainstream one be made easy? This was discussed at the teachers' workshop held recently in Chennai as part of The Hindu's Newspaper in Education programme.
A game to drive the point home.
An open mind and great expectations most often, a sure combination for success. And this is what happened at the teachers workshop organised by The Hindu' as part of its Newspaper in Education programme. The objective of the workshop was integrating differently-abled children into mainstream/regular schools. The Resource Persons were Deepthi Bhatia, Priya and Giridhar of Vidya Sagar, Chennai.
The teachers hoped they would be able to implement changes in their schools that would help make a smooth transition. How would teachers and students cope? In a class of 40 or 45 would the teacher be able to devote any time to a special child? What changes need to be made to the physical infrastructure of the school to accommodate these children? These were some of the questions that came up during the three hour-long session.
Deepthi was of the opinion that, inspite of the awareness created, there was still so much more that needed to be done for disabled persons. She says that a decade ago most schools were of the opinion "why should we educate these children" whereas today they said "how can we accommodate them?" Within a framework of the existing syllabus, that neither motivates an intelligent child nor helps the below average child, how does the teacher find time for a special child?
Learning to think differently.
While Priya spoke about cerebral palsy, Giridhar took up learning disability and autism. The three visitors from Vidya Sagar Umul, Karthick and Krishna Prabha, spoke of their hopes, aspirations and limitations. Karthick never lost an opportunity to tease his friends, teachers or the participants, having everyone in splits by the end of his talk. Umul has hopes of becoming a lawyer. Why? Because she wants to fight for the rights of the disabled. Krishna Prabha wants to do a bachelor's degree in music. But all three, who are at present in Std X, hope to be able to join a regular school next year. Will they realise their dream?
The teachers played a game that gave them a feel of how it would be to have a disabled person in a group and also be a disabled person. Some of the schools already had differently-abled children in their classes. They had adapted making simple changes that would make a difference ensuring the child's classroom is on the ground floor, differently styled furniture, scribe or tape recorder or the computer to do the work.
At the end of the session the feeling was that sometimes we need to do things differently, so that everyone can participate.
Send this article to Friends by