It's been such a long time since I last taught the classroom of kids, so when the principal of ‘Swami Brahmanand Pratishthan’ suggested that I hold a workshop for her teachers on ‘Creative Teaching for Special Children’, I was hesitant in taking up such a task, fearful that I would make a fool of moi…but refusing this request would also make me a fool, so I opted to go ahead and plunge into this challenge.
The research was necessary to brush up my knowledge and study the latest trends, times have changed and the methods of teaching that were used during my days (15 years ago) are now outdated. I prepared a lesson plan, made some print-outs of the latest trends in teaching and on the day of the workshop, I faced the group of 12 teachers, highly charged to share my wee bit of knowledge.
On the topic of ‘Day of Christmas’ I involved the teachers from first sentence itself, asking them what ideas came to their mind when they thought of Christmas, how they would exploit it and how they would put across their message to the kids who had limited understanding and may not be able to grasp the point, like every other normal child.
The mental age of the student and their capacity to function physically and mentally are very important while planning activities for such children. Every idea has to be explained clearly and in details, nothing should be taken for granted. The lesson plan always follow the procedure from known to unknown as KWL (K-what I know, W-what I want to know, L-What I learnt). Each idea has to be explained from different angles, to arrive at the same point. If possible, all the sense organs should be used to send across your message. Recap is important to understand the grasping power of the child. Your lesson plan is a success, if he answers your query, three times in a row, correctly. Planning the activities related to the lesson is also very important and it enhances your lesson plan.
Next, I divided twelve teachers into four groups and gave them two hours to prepare a lesson plan giving them one object each. Group one had a large ‘toy truck’; group two had a ‘telephone’; group three had an ‘apple’ and group four had a set of ‘pant and shirt’.
Two hours later, we met again, teachers armed with a new lesson plan.
I was pleasantly surprised with the ideas they came up with. We had lots of discussion and debates on their lesson plan, suggesting pros and cons of the methods used and everybody was willing to share their experience.
The group with ‘toy truck’ made a lesson plan on an action word called ‘Push’ using toy truck to push. In her activities, she would include children (asking them to push) to send across her message.
The group two decided to teach the children to dial the correct number. They made a teaching aid with the help of sponge and big- numbers on the cardboard and would teach the children to press the collect number.
Group three wanted to cut the apple and make the children eat and then give them the activities of coloring or matching the different fruits and how they differ from apple.
Group four would teach the children how to fold the clothes.
Although all of them came back with bright ideas, I was surprised that none of them had thought of using computer as a teaching medium. Computer is such an important teaching medium in these times and its capacity of sight, sound and action can be used to show so many things. The last session of the workshop was spent in showing them how computers can be used as the medium of instruction even for the children with mental handicap.
It was day well spend and my greatest reward was when one of the teachers came silently to me and shook my hand, thanking me and asked if I could conduct such workshops more often.
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