While there is definitely a growing awareness of learning difficulties, most schools in India do not provide additional support to children struggling with academic skills. Even if remedial classes are provided in school, special educators may not be adequately trained and are not equipped with teaching aids to deliver effective instruction. During these extra classes, teachers end up teaching the same lessons taught in classrooms in the same manner. However, the underlying deficits of the child are not systematically addressed. When schools are unable or unwilling to support children with academic difficulties, a recommendation of a ‘special’ school is made, which is more often than not, unnecessary.With an appreciable number of children with learning difficulties, schools and the children they serve would be better off addressing the needs of struggling learners on campus itself. A resource room that provides remedial services right from Kindergarten is the need of the hour in most schools. The benefits of having a resource room on campus are manifold.
- Children with difficulties receive help in a one-on-one setting in a resource room and the teacher can work at the child’s level.
- A resource room helps children catch up on skills with additional help.
- Children who attend remedial classes in school itself do not lose out on after-school time which they can use to follow a hobby or play with their friends.
- When support is provided by the school in the right spirit, a child feels her teachers are helping her rather than blaming her for performing poorly.
- Children’s behavioural and social needs are addressed better in a small group setting in a resource room.
- When a child is helped in a timely manner, the likelihood of emotional troubles stemming from learning difficulties is reduced.
- A major purpose of a resource room in a mainstream school is inclusion. When a child’s difficulties are dealt with effectively right from Kindergarten, the downward spiral that typically results from poor performance is arrested. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of a child having to be removed from a mainstream school.
(An edited version of this post was first published in PRAYATNA’s blog www.prayatna.org/blog)