Tucked in a quiet lane adjacent to one of the busiest streets in Hyderabad is Greenwood School, the venue for the workshop on Activity Based Learning (ABL) and inclusion organized by Edcraft on the 19th and 20th of February this year. One of the key outcomes of the National Curriculum Framework of 2005 is a shift from rote learning to ABL and the inclusion of special needs children into mainstream schools. Thus the timing of this workshop on ABL and inclusion could not have been better. The key speakers in this workshop were Sheela Ramakrishnan and Rajika Dhiren of Edcraft, an organization that produces teaching-learning materials and Dr Jayanthi Narayanan, former director, National Institute of Mental Health, Hyderabad. About 40 teachers from various schools in Hyderabad attended this two day workshop.
On the first day of the workshop Sheela Ramakrishnan and Rajika Dhiren introduced teachers to the theory of ABL, planning an ABL class, some common difficulties while planning an ABL class and Dr. Narayanan spoke about the importance of inclusion in mainstream schools and the challenges that teachers face with children having learning disabilities. On the second day teachers were given demonstrations of various activities that they can do in a class and how each activity can be tailored to suit children with learning disabilities and slow learners.
Dr. Usha, a psychiatrist with Indus International School, and a participant in the workshop said, “The workshop is timely and extremely useful as I was looking for guidance on ABL and inclusion and there is always the need to learn more activities for students. Tailoring such activities for students with learning disabilities is the biggest challenge for us”. Zenobia another participant said, “With so many changes being made in the curriculum, especially with the RTE of 2009, it is important to keep ourselves up to date through workshops like this”.
“Since inclusion has been mandatory we need more training to understand how slow learners and children with learning disabilities should be taught”, added Leela, another participant.
Edcraft plans to organize more of such workshops as they see a growing demand among teachers to learn new things and keep them up to date with changes.