Sunday, 24 November 2013

Approaches to Develop Curriculum / Curricular Adaptation to Children with Visual Impairment for Inclusive Eduction

Approaches to Develop Curriculum / Curricular Adaptation to Children with Visual Impairment for Inclusive Eduction

Rajnish Kumar Arya
Consultant Special & Inclusive Education, Raipur


"Inclusion," "full inclusion" and "inclusive education" are terms which recently have been narrowly defined by some (primarily educators of students with severe disabilities) to espouse the philosophy that ALL students with disabilities, regardless of the nature or the severity of their disability, receive their TOTAL education within the regular education environment. This philosophy is based on the relatively recent placement of a limited number of students with severe disabilities in regular classrooms. Research conducted by proponents of this philosophy lacks empirical evidence that this practice results in programs which are better able to prepare ALL students with visual impairments to be more fully included in society than the current practice, of providing a full range of program options.  (AFB)

The right to inclusive education is a civil right that nurtures appropriate social development. Inclusive education provides children with special needs the opportunity to learn in an environment that offers them the opportunity for  friendships and role models. For children without special needs it is the opportunity to learn about, and be accepting of differences, and learning to be sensitive to need of others. In an ideal world all children study together, under teachers who are sensitive, creative and committed, and who use wonderful experiential and multi sensory approaches that enable the most marginalized child to learn. (Barua, 2013)

Today a large percentage of students visual disabilities spend over 80 percent of their school in general education classrooms. Nearly 88 percent of low vision and blind students receive their education at a neighborhood school, possibly with the support from a resource specialist or itinerant tacher. (OSEP, 2008)  These students participated in general education curriculum with their sighted classmates perform well academically.

The National Curriculum Framework (NCERT, 2005) is an inclusive curriculum that realizes the importance of including and retaining all children in school through a programme that reaffirms the value of each child and enables all children to experience dignity and the confidence to learn. The National Curriculum Framework 2005 speaks:

For teaching to serve as a means of strengthening our democratic way of life, it must respond to the presence of first generation school-goers, whose retention is imperative owing to the Constitutional amendment that has made elementary education a fundamental right of every child. Ensuring health, nutrition and an inclusive school environment empowering all children in their learning, across differences of caste, religion, gender, disability, is enjoined upon us by the Constitutional amendment. 

A policy of inclusion needs to be implemented in all schools and throughout our education system. The participation of all children needs to be ensured in all spheres of their life in and outside the school. Schools need to become centers that prepare children for life and ensure that all children, especially the differently abled….

This includes children with disabilities, who may need assistance or more time to complete their assigned tasks. It would be even better if, while planning for such activities, the teacher discusses them with all the children in the class, and ensures that each child is given an opportunity to contribute. When planning, therefore, teachers must pay special attention to ensuring the participation of all. This would become a marker of their effectiveness as teachers. (Arya, 2013)

Curriculum:  It is a design PLAN for learning that requires the purposeful and proactive ,organization sequencing, and management of the interactions among the teacher, the students and the content knowledge we want students to acquire..

According to G. Hass, “The curriculum is all of the experiences that individual learners have in a programme of education whose purpose is to achieve broad goals and related specific objectives, which are planned in terms of a framework of theory and research or past and professional practice.” 

Curriculum and Schools:  In India schools are governed by several boards of education. Apart from national boards, such as the CBSE and ICSE, there are several others with smaller jurisdiction- such as those at the state level, (in case of Chhattisgarh, Chhattisgarh Shiksha Mandal, Raipur). Each one of these boards prescribes a curriculum that is given to schools to follow.  (Kapur, 2011)

Most of children with Visual Impairment require adaptation in curriculum and assertive devices to access the general education and succeed at school. One important rule applies : Each individual has different needs, so different responses to those needs are necessary. In other words, there is no single answer to the question “What adaptation benefit students with Visual Impairment?”  Adaptation fir Inclusive environment so classrooms are safe and maximal learning can occur. (Smith and Tyler, 2010)

The following principles should be kept in the mind while adapting the curriculum for Children with Visual Impairment in inclusive classroom:

·       The adaptation should not change the original concept of the curriculum used because the objective of adaptation is to provide the some learning experiences to both normal and CWVI.

·       For providing same experiences, compensatory activities should be planned in such a way that the child gets a holistic picture of the concept taught in the regular classes. The objective of the instructional materiel should remain same for both normal and CWVI.

·       Modification in the instructional material should not disturb the majority of normal children in IED classes. The teacher has to be alert in providing modifications in the learning experiences in such a way that it motivates both normal and CWVI.

·       The adaptation in instructional material and methods is done in the light of the educational needs of disabled child studying in the IED class, in such a way that the interest of the majority of normal learners is sustained in the classroom participation. 

·       A possible strategy of adjustment in the instructional material can be outline the proposed teaching and learning points, analyzing the needs and type of adjustments at various level, preparation of supportive materials and planning of group activities. (Sharma, 1988)

Guidelines for Adaptation: 

The following things should be done while adapting the plan in the classroom setup:

·        More auditory and tactile aids should be given to compensate for visual deficits.

·        More verbal cues should be provided while explaining the concept in class.

·        Three dimensional teaching and learning aids should be provided ti the children to provide a whole experience of the concept.

·        The management of the class should be determined in the light of child’s limitation .

·        A multi sensory approach should be used to provide complete learning experience to the child.

·        The teacher should take care of words in instruction like ‘see’, ‘look’ etc. and at the time of use of these word a special attention may be given to the CWVI e.g.  By calling the name of any CWVI, deal the point or facts as well as provide the tactile TLM to him/ her.

Rules for Curriculum Adaptation to Children with Visual Impairment:

In our country there is any separate or special curriculum for children with Special Needs. So the students who are either studying in any setup of schools have to study the curriculum which is draft to the so called abled children. While adopting the curriculum for Children with Visual impairment one have to follow a set of rule which is frequently termed as MODS i.e. Modification, Omission, Duplication and Substitution.

·        Modification: In it teacher usually have to do some small correction in the content of the topic or lesson like “See above given picture and tell what is going on?” by this  “Have this picture and feel and tell what is going on?”

·        Omission:  When there no any rule of modification, duplication and substitution work then teacher usually omit that vary content.

·        Duplication: In many case the content printed in general book is not available in the Braille book or large Print book, then either teacher itself or some time other  develop that vary content, is termed as duplication. 

·        Substitution: In Elementary level curriculum there is lots of use of concrete ideas. When it turn a bit difficult to  transit to the CWVI. Then teacher replace that vary content for CWVI and taught them another content having similar experience. This process is termed as substitution.

Learning occurs best for Students with Visual Impairments when they are actively involved in the task. In India NCERT’s have developed the exemplar syllabus  at Elementary level highlighting the curricular adaptations:

o   Language (I - VIII) 

o   Environmental Studies (III - V)

o   Social Science (VI - VIII)

o   General Science (VI - VIII)

o   Mathematics (I - VIII)

Some Adaptation should be done as per the nature of the subject. It is as below: 

Language: Learning language does not pose extract ordinary difficulties for the Visually Impaired. However - 

o   The student with Visual Impairment should be provided language book in Braille, or enlarged print along with the tape recorded version. 

o   Most of the teachers use oral-aural method of teaching. Some of them write on the blackboard which may pose difficulties. The teachers should be encouraged to speak while writing. 

o   The teachers should also inform the students regarding the text being used in the next few days so that s/he can bring only the required text to classroom as the Braille Books are bulky and the students need to read and write. 

Environmental Studies (EVS):  This covers area like Family and Friends, Food, Shelter, Travel, Things what we make and do. The Children with Visual Impairment have no problem with the verbal content of the EVS regardless of the media they use. However- 

o   Non-verbal content which includes pictures, maps, globes, diagrams etc. may pose problems. It can be taught by using supplementary material in Braille, Tactile Aids, and verbal descriptions of the graphic material.

o   The Visually Impaired Students can be included in all activities like discussions, stories, singing, actual visits to places etc.

o   Some concepts need to be explained more in detail because of lack of experience.

Social Sciences:  It covers topic like History, Geography, Social and Political Life, Diversity and Interdependence, Democracy and Equality , rule of Law and Social Justice. So The students with Visual Impairment would not face any problem with the verbal content. However, the Geography mostly and History partially relies on maps and globes. Also the textbooks may contain graphs, diagrams,and tables that related relevant data.  It is important that The students with Visual Impairment must be given the concept of Maps from an early age.

Mathematics:  A number of skills are involved in learning mathematics and variations exist in mastery levels depending on factors like intelligence, aptitude etc. Braille Books are not available and also depend upon a different Braille Code which again causes difficulty. 

o   In addition to Textbooks, educational aids are important for learning mathematics.

o   Oral Mathematics need to be practiced and use of calculator with speech outputs, enlarged displays is helpful.

o   Teachers should give only representational samples of home works and very long assignments as the child may required a long time to do the computational work.

Science: In classes from VI  VIII, the concepts covered under science are Food, Materials, The World and the Living, Moving things, People and Ideas, How things work, natural Phenomenon, Natural Resources. Teaching of concepts under this would involve a number of experiments, demonstrations and other activities. Children with Visual Impairment need to be taught using the multi sensory approach that involves all modalities other than vision. 

Source: This is the modified form of lecture given by Rajinsh Kr. Arya during CRE programme sponsored by Rehabilitation Council of India, New Delhi and organised by AAKANKSHA, Lions School for the Mentally Handicapped, Avanti Vihar, Raipur on dated 22nd November, 2013

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