Anju Saxena, B Sc. Bed Inclusive education, PG in development Therapy, M Ed Inclusive education
The COVID -19, long disaster break, when we all are home and distant from our learners for a long period. Looking at the current education trend, which is completely inclusive and teachers have not only learners with high or average intelligence but also have learners who may have learning issues and difficulties.
Now the question arises, how to go about them in this era of online distance education. Being in inclusive education , I have been thinking and trying to connect with learners in a way to create a bond with them and at the same time connecting with them and teach them by making the learning task simple, creative and multi sensorial with their teachers mentors on live sessions and online modes with them. Learners having different abilities have different strengths and also have unique learning styles. One needs to see the best learning styles by which they can benefit their learners.
All mentor special educators would love to be connected with their learners in such a way that they can see each other and talk to each other. The beautiful part of taking your students together on video access on teams or zoom, where they can see each other to get a chance for online socializing as they may not get this by being away from school. Not getting a chance to meet a limited group of friends also, whom they can talk to and with whom they feel comfortable.
The period is full of anxiety for many of them and for us so to keep one’s mental health at the best and keep oneself calm and attentive. For maintaining good positive health, exercise schedule is also important and it is a part of our learner’s IEPs. It becomes important for us to reach our learners through live sessions to work on their sensory loads and sensory breaks.
Imagine a child with Autism and hyperactivity sitting at home and locked down during this Corona crisis, where if parents are home and continuously on social media or news channel, how difficult it is for that child who is already anxious due to his or her condition. A good positive exercise programme and meditation, which can be taken by a therapist through live sessions and mentors can narrate some positive stories to reduce the anxiety and stress among our learners.
There are many apps and online resources which can be used to teach our learners. It’s only that one needs to think and plan keeping their abilities and learning styles in mind.
Narrating a story through zoom to all or connecting with all of them together on team network is an amazing experience. Especially at this time of social distancing when you can’t see them and be with them while teaching.
There are many useful e resources like peddlet, popplet , wakelet which are being used successfully. It’s a pleasure to see children with learning difficulty also learning through these apps beautifully when the plan is customised as per their needs and strength.
Towards the end, I would like to add though we talk about less and limited screen time but when it is planned in structured and customised manner by balancing in between online live sessions and hands on activities and worksheets, it works well and benefits all learners with learning difficulties also.