Helping Teachers Bridge the Gap
(A project aimed at promoting inclusive education in elementary schools)
• To sensitize managements and teachers to reasons for academic underperformance.
• To train teachers to various aspects of child development and learning with an added focus on holistic development and inclusion of ALL children.
• To enhance teacher skills in planning and organizing classrooms in a way that facilitates learning among ALL children
• To strengthen existing services for counselling of children with emotional difficulties
• To strengthen existing services for remediation of academic problems for children with specific learning disabilities
• To facilitate expansion of resource room services to cater to the needs of children with neuro developmental disabilities such as autism.
1. Sensitization of stakeholders: The managements and representatives of the PTA executives will be sensitized to the philosophy of inclusion and its benefits not only to the affected children but also to the school community as a whole.
2. Training of the Teachers: Teachers are the main partners in the inclusive process. Sangath’s experience indicates that teachers are willing and open to newer ideas provided they are sensitized in a systematic manner, their difficulties are taken into consideration and they are provided with a platform to express their difficulties. Teacher engagement has to focus on:
i Sensitization – instead of thrusting inclusion upon the teachers at the outset at the training will focus on building an attitudinal change that is so essential for implementing programmes such as this.
ii Capacity Building – this is to be the central focus and major part of the programme. The training will focus on transferring general skills for the mainstream teachers in managing children who have difficulties. The training will aim to promote a mutually beneficial interaction between the special education unit and the mainstream teachers within the school. It will also focus on facilitating solutions to the difficulties expressed by teachers. During this phase of the training efforts will be made to involve resource persons with specific expertise in teaching subject content and methodologies as also special educators. The project will seek to train all teachers in the selected schools. Training schedules will be drawn up in consultation with the concerned authorities and teachers themselves.
3. Strengthening special education services in the schools: It has to be ensured that the special education units (resource rooms) are embedded well within the schools set up to enable them to function effectively. Sangath will try and strengthen the existing resource rooms by
a. Facilitating a good exchange between the resource room and the mainstream teachers.
b. Facilitating setting up of resource rooms in schools where they are not present and a need for the same is identified.
c. Facilitating linkages with specialists that work with neuro-developmental disabilities.
4. Strengthening the existing counselling cells in the schools: It has been well established that children emotional disturbances of any kind affect learning. To address this the government has trained placed counsellors in schools. Sangath will try to strengthen the counselling services by providing the counsellor with technical support and help build good linkages with teachers to address emotional difficulties in a sensitive manner.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION:
To ensure that the projects meets and maintains quality standards in delivery of its services monitoring and evaluation of the project activities has been built in. The process would be as follows:
a. Collection of process data in terms of number of stakeholders sensitized and trained.
b. Knowledge and skill assessment among teachers through paper pencil and practical activities.
c. Assessment of attitudinal change to gauge any change in attitude towards inclusion among the teachers and heads of schools.
d. Assessment of quality of the training through written feedback from trained teachers, special educators and counselors as well as exit interviews to be used.
e. Interviews (in student friendly format) with students to gauge their perception of any changes that they have experienced in the school. Interviews with parents whenever services have been delivered to them directly.
f. Assessment of feasibility, scalability and sustainability through interviews with heads of schools, participant teachers and parents to understand their opinions.