Education dept has no clue about shadow teacher concept

Education dept has no clue about shadow teacher concept

Education dept has no clue about shadow teacher concept

 The concept of a shadow teacher, quite popular in the West, is gradually becoming familiar in the many international schools in the City.

The Education department, on the other hand, is still in the dark about the very concept.

The six-year-old victim of the recent rape in Vibgyor High had a shadow teacher. This incident has brought the ‘Shadow Teacher’ to the attention of the department. The department is now keen to know all about shadow teachers – how they work and their significance.

According to Mohammed Mohsin, Commissioner of Public Instructions, “The concept of a shadow teacher was not known to us until it was recently highlighted. Such teachers could have been there before, too, but it has come to our notice now and we want to know how many such teachers are there in Bangalore and what is their role.”

The department sees them as not professionally qualified. They are trained by private centres to help special children integrate into the conventional education system. They are not recognised officially by the department.

Narasimhaiah, Director (Programmes in-charge), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, said that the department was unfamiliar with the concept of a shadow teacher. If they are present in private schools, then it is an arrangement between the management and the parents, he said.

There are many centres in Bangalore that train shadow teachers to help children with developmental disorders, including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and learning disabilities. With a shadow teacher’s help, they get an opportunity to attend mainstream schools. 

Joy Sherly, a shadow teachers’ trainer at Manna, an NGO working for the specially challenged children, said that she herself was a shadow teacher for an autistic child for two years. She said that it was very important for the child to develop a rapport with shadow teachers so that it helps the child overcome the disabilities and cope with conventional education.

Explaining the role of a shadow teacher, Karuna Kini, ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis), Centre Director, Behaviour Momentum India, said that a shadow teacher was not a replacement for a teacher and her job was not to avoid disruption.

The child should have some prerequisite skills before being accepted in a classroom and the shadow teacher facilitates the child’s attempts to complete the given work, be part of a group during snack time and be supervised during free play. The shadow teacher also supports the child in the resource room to help children complete curricular demands.

She explained that as children with autism had difficulty responding in groups, a shadow teacher used various child specific techniques for which they were trained. They guide the child not to depend on the shadow teacher, but to do things themselves with peers.