Teaching to Make a Difference

teaching_difference_360pxSept. 5, 2013 – As a visually-challenged boy, Shivaji Laxman Londhe was at his wit’s end on how to pursue further studies after Class X from a school for the blind. That’s when city-based Niwant Andh Mukta Vikasalaya, an NGO, came to his rescue. “They not only helped me do a course in German language from Max Mueller Bhavan but also paid fees for my BEd course, which I did from Delhi University,” says 26-year-old Londhe, who joined as a faculty at Niwant around a year ago and teaches English and psychology to Class XI and XII students.

The primary challenge for the students at Niwant, he says, is the language barrier.

“All these students come from vernacular medium schools. I too had faced this problem. Also, one needs to have immense patience while teaching visually-challenged kids. Hence, teaching at Niwant is more about verbal communication and handling individual concerns. Besides, aids such as MP3 players, Braille books and other study material are also very helpful,” he says, adding that he always wanted to be in the profession of teaching and his decision of joining Niwant was to give back to the NGO he owed so much to. Niwant was established around 14 years ago for overall development of the visually-challenged youth and bring them at par with the society.

Another person who has dedicated her life to the cause of teaching is Seema Jedhe.

A teacher with Doorstep School that works for the education of children from the marginalised society, primarily those from the families of pavement and slum dwellers, construction labourers and other underprivileged population, and school dropouts.

“Most of the students who study here are those who have either never been to a school or have left school after studying for a few years. Thus, we have our own ways of teaching such kids,” she says, adding that the primary area of concern is to convince the parents to allow these children to come to school.

For this, various meetings are arranged and the parents are educated about the school’s methods of teaching and also about the importance of education. Only after a trust is built between the school and the parents, the child starts coming to school. Another challenge is to build a rapport with the child, says Jedhe.

“Since a school is a completely new place for them, they are very nervous. To break the ice, we play several fun games with them,” says Jedhe, adding that when the teachers come across a student who is not able to grasp despite using all teaching methods, they adopt fun methods like teaching a lesson through music or games.

“We ask them to play games like kho-kho wherein each child is named as an alphabet. It does work, but one needs to be extremely patient,” says Jedhe, who has been working with Doorstep School for the last five years and is currently posted at its Dattawadi centre.

~ Garima Mishra, Indian Express Newspaper