Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 22
The CBSE has announced to revamp ‘physical space’ of classrooms to facilitate inclusion under its new policy for inclusive education. Earlier, the emphasis was laid only on introducing disabled-friendly infrastructure on the school premises such as barrier-free entry with the help of handrails, ramps and disabled-friendly toilets.
With this, the physical appearance of classrooms will be changed to cope with children with special needs (CWSN). The CBSE, in its teachers’ capacity building manual on inclusive education, suggests that small groups (2-4 desks per group) should be placed so that all students have opportunities for cooperative learning, collaboration and discussion. Besides, the teacher’s desk should be placed on the periphery of the classroom.
According to CBSE, the centre of a classroom must appeal to various learning styles and also be accessible and open at the same time. The study material should also be made easily accessible to the students.
Inclusion in classrooms
A student on a wheelchair is limited to higher access, thus books should not be placed on high shelf. Alternatives to sound cues such as bells to mark ends of the period for children with hearing impairment. Low sound work areas for children with ADHD and children on the autism spectrum. Ensure adequate space for all students to move safely around the room. Special tactile cues for children with visual impairment. Clear bulky items, stabilise furniture, tape down wires and cables and place signs/symbols around the room that points out exit/entryways in case of emergency. Seating the student close to the blackboard and the teacher. Taking assistance of classmates to monitor and change behaviour.
Meeting spot in classrooms
The manual of the CBSE suggests that a particular area of the classroom must be created where the students can come together to hold discussions, develop social skills and participate in large group activities. This space must have enough room for all students to gather, said the board.
No use of bright colours
Not just the accessible classroom spaces, they have deliberated on the colour of classrooms. As per the board, an inclusive classroom needs to be decorated in a way that does not create a distraction and sensory overload. Too many bright colours, posters, clutter and furniture easily distracts even the most-focused child.
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