Lets make our education more innovative.Outdoor learning for special need children
‘The Future of Education’-Blogathon (Festival of Education)
There is a lot of talk about the inclusive education these days. Let us first try to understand the concept of inclusive education.
Inclusive education is a model where students with and without special needs are taught in the same classroom.
Government of India is putting a lot of efforts to execute this scheme successfully all over the country. And we wholeheartedly appreciate the effort of bringing all students under the same roof and providing single platform to all children to participate, learn and get equal treatment, irrespective of their abilities. This brings a ray of hope to many millions of parents with special need children who desperately want to have the best education and facilities for their wards.
However, we should realize that just the inclusion policies can never bring the best out of these special need children. To achieve the real purpose of inclusive education, the teaching practices used in the inclusive education system must be good and effective.
Children with special needs are often found to have low tolerance level, high frustration level. They have low attention span and can be distracted easily. They have difficulties in working with others. So apart from showing love and patience, teachers need to include some innovative ideas in their lesson plans to bring fun in their learning process. And outdoor learning can be one of the ways. It has been observed that most of the children with special need are more comfortable in visual-based learning. So teachers are usually using flash cards, printable, videos etc for teaching them. But instead of using these methods every time, sometime the best way is to get children outside and allow learning in the nature.
Many lessons for smaller kids such as basic identification of things around us or understanding weather or knowing domestic animals or vehicles or types of soils etc can be learned more effectively if children gets opportunities to learn through outdoor activities. A visit to farm, museum, playground or nearby park etc once in a month should be included in their curriculum plan. Children who are struggling in reading easily get bored and frustrated in conventional classroom settings. Reading outdoors will be fun, enjoyable and stress relieving for these pupils. A reading outdoor program in a quiet and open space can be conducted for them on a regular basis. If a school has a larger open space area, the authority can use some part of it for gardening purpose with special need children. Digging soil, planting seed, researching with plants, knowing about vegetables and fruits help these children to involve with many areas – from technology to science. Also waiting for a long time to see plants grow will actually help them to develop life skills like patience and tolerance. Outdoor activities like hide-n-seek and treasure hunt encourage them to learn many skills like counting, turn taking and instruction following.
Most of the children with special needs are struggling a lot in structured classroom. This outdoor activities encourages social interaction with peers and teachers that boost up their confidence and self-esteem. It helps them to relieves stress and anxiety and motivates in their learning.
Our goal should not be just be limited to modification of their syllabus but to incorporate modification in our teaching style so that they can reach to their full potential.