Mumbai: In an attempt to help students with special needs, 41 'mobile teachers' have been appointed by the civic education department. Their main responsibility will be to teach, orient and equip regular teachers with skills to deal with special needs students in civic schools.
These 41 mobile teachers are specially trained to impart innovative methods of teaching and learning. They will help teachers identify the special requirements of a particular student based on the latter's physical or psychological need. They will help programme the style of teaching, tweak the methodology of imparting information in a classroom and incorporate cordial ways of learning.
Teachers adopt new methods according to students' needs. Bharti Misa, a mobile teacher and special educator said, "If there is one visually-impaired student in the class, we help the teacher to adjust their teaching method accordingly. We tell the teacher to speak aloud the lesson, rather than write on the blackboard. We also train teachers to repeat their lessons verbally so the information registers in the mind of this particular student. In this way, teachers need to take a little extra effort and improvise basic methods."
Mobile teachers help regular teachers to make an Individual Educational Plan (IEP). Kiran Belge, special school district coordinator, Mumbai region, said, "Students with special needs require extra attention. We help teachers to change their techniques at a basic level, so that we can create inclusive education. For example, if there is a student who is hearing impaired, then we tell the teacher to teach aloud. Also, we ask the teacher to question the student sitting beside the special needs child to repeat answers. In this way, the special child listens to answers recited clearly at a short distance."
Over 41 mobile teachers are training regular teachers in around 11,086 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) schools. These teachers are catering to over 12,000 special students with physical and psychological needs. Around 4,000 parents of such students too have been trained in dealing with inclusive education.