‘Most teachers don’t know how to handle learning disability in kids’ CMCH STUDY
9 Dec 2013
Conducted among city’s private primary school teachers; most teachers believe that children who perform poorly, either are not interested or focus in studies or do not have encouraging parents
LUDHIANA: If your child does not perform well in studies, don’t blame him/her as they may have a learning disability which you’re unaware of.
THINKSTOCK Doctors say learning disability is not a disease that cannot be cured, but is a situation that needs to be handled carefully so that children with such a problem can be helped timely.
A recent study conducted by Christian Medical College and Hospital has revealed that a majority of the city’s private primary school teachers are aware about learning disabilities, but they have a vague idea of what it is about or how to handle it.
Learning disability awareness among primary school teachers, a study that was recently completed by the CMC, revealed that 99% teachers were aware of the problems of learning disabilities, though none of them felt that the learning disability was a cause for poor performance in studies.
Talking to HT, Dr Monika Sharma, professor of paediatrics, revealed, “We had given a questionnaire to 100 teachers of different English medium schools of the city during the study. 99% teachers recognised that some of their students had poor performance. When asked the reasons, most teachers felt that children, who performed poorly, either were not interested or focused in studies or did not have encouraging parents.”
Sharma added, “A lot of teachers blamed parental negligence while some felt children lacked in attitudes, due to intelligence or confidence issues. Some even felt that the influence of media was to blame for poor school performance. However, nobody said that learning disability was a problem behind poor performance.”
The study further states that when asked to describe the problem, most teachers gave vague definitions of learning disability and none were really aware about help for children with learning disabilities and provisions in the rules of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
The study also found that school teachers lacked awareness on remedial education, which was an essential need for children with learning disabilities. The teachers were also unaware about government recommendations for children with learning disabilities.
The study also suggested for a wider coverage of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan programme which offers special education training of three-six months for primary school teachers.
Incidentally, private school teachers, who were included in the study, had not undergone any such training.
Dr Sharma said that learning disability was not a disease that could be cured, but it was a situation which needed to be handled carefully so that children with such problems could be helped timely. She also said, “Teachers should encourage children instead of demoralising them.”
According to doctors, the things that teachers can observe in children with learning disabilities are - a child’s understanding of simple concepts of shapes, alphabets, numbers, colours, a child’s grip of a pencil and writing ability, a child’s attention span, the ability to see and hear clearly, the ability to memorise simple rhymes and general age appropriate understanding of people and relations around them.
Requesting anonymity, a teacher of a private city school said, “To create awareness about learning disabilities, schools should organise camps. Special training courses should be given to every primary teachers so that they can recognise the problem of any student at early stage.”
Vivek Monga, a visually impaired teacher at Government Senior Secondary School, Dhandra, said that teachers should have special training to educate such students with learning disability. She adds, “Such students are slow learners so I think that they have a limited syllabus pattern so that they can move ahead but when they study with their other classmates, they fall behind as teachers are unable to focus on students with learning disabilities.
TYPES OF LEARNING DISABILITIES
Learning disabilities include reading disability-dyslexia, mathematics disability-dyscalculia, which was also common in many students and third is writing disability-dysgraphia.