THE EDITOR: Parents and teachers in TT are living and working in a world of constant change surrounding the implementation of inclusive education. Children who learn differently and have a special need are dropouts, gifted and talented, have social, emotional or behavioural challenges and learning disabilities.
It is very difficult to successfully address the needs of every child during this ongoing school reform of inclusive education without effective training and education. So, if parents and teachers do not have the knowledge and understanding of how and when learning occurs then children will be left behind.
“My heart starts to race, my mind freezes, and my body goes numb.” This is how some parents and teachers have described the panic they feel when they are not equipped to help children in their care who learn differently.
The Ministry of Education has shared in several past and current research reports that it sees a need in our education system and has a plan to fill that need. Yet it has provided a limited number of effective educational programmes and training that will raise the level of awareness and skill of parents and teachers regarding the psychosocial well-being and education of children with special needs.
Parents, administrators, early learning directors, teachers, curriculum developers and policymakers are lacking the knowledge and basic skills needed to establish a differentiated learning and living environment for children with multiple abilities and special needs.
This can be accomplished through the understanding of active planning for learning differences, using available resources, and incorporating effective strategies used to engage children from various backgrounds, skill levels, and interests.
Effective training programmes can use scenarios, role-playing, and multiple hands-on exercises to challenge and guide parents, educational professionals and the ministry on the continuing journey towards a seamless education system.
DR KARINE CLAY, educational psychologist, organisational health consultant