Shadow teacher turns a mirror into a window

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"Every Child deserves a teacher that believes in them. Be that teacher!"

With the wave of inclusion catching on, making the schools open their doors to children with special education needs, the need for edu-specialists has gone up exponentially. This enhances the concept of inclusion and the special child gets focused attention in a classroom, making learning easier.

Being a teacher , I always had these questions running in my mind. How do I understand the child’s need? Does the child need special attention? Does the child need care-taker/mother in school? Does the school provide one? How will the child adapt to one? and me as a teacher/educator, How can I up-skill myself to handhold the child? Am I trained in Special Education Segment? After several years of experience and research, I came across the concept of “Shadow Teacher”.

Who are Shadow Teachers?

A shadow teacher is an educational assistant who works directly with a single child with special needs during his/her early school years. These assistants understand a variety of learning disabilities and how to support them accordingly. Providing a shadow teacher allows the child to attend a mainstream class while receiving the extra attention that he/she needs. The shadow teacher supports the student in many ways, including filling in the gaps that exist in the learning process, helping the student build self confidence, promoting interaction in the classroom, and ensuring the student stays focused in the classroom. The shadow teacher also helps the student be prepared and organized for class, helps the student with the approaches to learning and reminds him/her to be a responsible and committed student.

Here’s a quick glance on Global and Indian Disabled Population:
As per WHO 2001 Report: About 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, of whom 2-4% experience significant difficulties in functioning.

*According to 2011 Census: In India out of the 121 Cr population, 2.68 Cr persons are ‘disabled’ which is 2.21% of the total population.

*Among the disabled population 56% (1.5 Cr) are males and 44% (1.18 Cr ) are females. In the total population, the male and female population are 51% and 49%
respectively.

*Majority (69%) of the disabled population resided in rural areas (1.86 Cr disabled persons in rural areas and 0.81 Cr in urban areas). In the case of total population 
also, 69% are from rural areas while the remaining 31% resided in urban areas.

Therefore, Looking at the above statistical data, It’s alarming that , we need to step forward to support and equip the passionate teachers, educators, mothers, graduates and corporates to lend their hand to these children to blossom with joy.

There’s also huge demand for shadow teachers not only in India but across the globe. In most schools which believe in inclusive education, the concept of shadow teacher is quite prevalent.

Let’s Understand how are children benefited from a shadow teacher:

a. Shadow teaching basically empowers the child for to communicate and learn well.
b. Children will gain confidence.
c. Children will follow regular classroom instructions and interactions with his/her peers.
d. Children in the learning pace will cope-up with his / her peers.
e. Shadow teaching nurtures all-round development(Physical,Intellectual, Psychological, Moral, Social and Spiritual) in the child.
f. Shadow teaching gives individual attention to the children to realize their abilities, uniqueness, and potential.
g. Children will get equal opportunity to the excellent education.

A shadow teacher should possess Patience , Perseverance, Compassion , Dedication, Determination, Love for his /her children.

“Together, we are going to create a world with more love, more understanding, and more compassion. When we see beyond the surface and get to know people for their stories, for their unique experiences, and for their distinct gifts, hate becomes impossible and love becomes inevitable.” 

Written by-  V.Manjula, Founder, Pipaltree Education

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