'Teachers are ill-equipped to reach out to disabled students'

'Teachers are ill-equipped to reach out to disabled students'

Teachers are ill-equipped and lack proper training to reach out to students with learning disabilities, said Father Kunnunkal SJ, former principal, St Xavier’s School on Friday. 

“It is seen that the regular students help children with physical disabilities and they can be integrated well in a regular school.

“However, the students with learning disabilities like dyslexia or discalculia require special schooling as the regular school teachers are not equipped to manage them,” he said.
He was speaking at a symposium on various kinds of learning disabilities organised by St Xavier’s School.

Manjula Mathur, head of department of early learning and education, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), said students from under privileged backgrounds are often termed  slow learners in context of learning disabilities.

“In many schools the teachers complain that students from the disadvantaged groups hesitate to learn, or have no inclination towards studies, so it’s not worth teaching them. These students are gradually labelled as children with learning disabilities,” said Mathur.
She added that special focus on reading and writing techniques can help the teachers to gain their interest.

Mathur gave an example of a project, which she had taken up in Mathura five years back, in which slight changes in  teaching methods made a big difference in reaching out to the students.

“We introduced children’s literature along with the textbooks, reading series in Hindi for those who had just started reading and  storytelling sessions which made the learning process more interesting.

“The students are not disabled in any way, we, the teachers, are disabled as we are unable to reach out to them,” said Mathur.

S P Pathak (Retd) Professor of Central Institute of Education (CIE), Delhi University echoed a similar view.

“It is the shortcomings of the teacher which is reflected in the students. Teaching in classrooms is still so monotonous and lifeless and fails to arouse students’ curiosity.

“Most teachers in private schools are ill-equipped to teach students from economically weaker section (EWS), wherein the language becomes the greatest barrier,” he said.

Making a point about the low standard of training given to average teachers, he said, “If the teachers are a little conscious about their students, they can detect such students easily and give them the required teaching.

However, the overall methods of teaching in classroom need to be seriously looked into.”

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