Friday, December 17, 2010

New project in India better trains teachers to work with students with learning disabilities

From The Times of India:

AHMEDABAD, India -- Actor and educationist Swaroop Sampat is all set to play the role of a benevolent teacher enacted by Aamir Khan in 'Taare Zameen Par' in real life and help make schools a little more compassionate towards children with learning disabilities in Gujarat.

Swaroop, who was in the state to participate as a jury in the public hearing of child labourers on Friday, told TOI that her project entailing training teachers in learning disability will be launched at 10 schools in Kutch district. Teachers will be trained about the learning disability or dyslexia, identifying dyslexic children and offering them remedial measures.

"Unlike abroad, dyslexia goes largely unidentified in our country, especially in rural areas. The children suffer through schooling for no fault of theirs. My aim is to help such children. This project will be launched in 10 schools in Kutch and will continue for two-three years, by that time the teachers will be completely trained about addressing the problem ," Swaroop said.

Swaroop, who has pioneered the concept of promoting the use of drama in teaching in the state, said over 130 teachers have been trained in experiential learning so far. "The phase three of the project will be launched soon where we will train 100 more teachers. We have also trained 30 master trainers," said Swaroop.

The actor said that the teachers' response has been positive. "My biggest moment was when a male teacher said that he has realised that he does not need to use a stick on his students to make them learn," she said.