Today, I caught up on phone with an old acquaintance…the resource room teacher of one of the schools Brindavan Education Trust had helped set up a resource room in.
We reminisced about the year 2006 (July) when a team from Brindavan set up the resource room , encouraged by the very supportive management of that school. We spoke about the three years I was handholding this teacher, building up her awareness about Learning Difficulties, and educating mainstream teachers that , in a class of diverse learners, 10 % of students will have special education needs. All along, I was learning too about how learning difficulties look different from one child to another.
Cut to the present, October 2020, “the resource room is going strong” the resource teacher said. She herself was now equipped with a B.Ed in Special Education and Masters in Education. She was training other resource teachers. Help was being extended to students upto 6th standard, whereas when we started in 2006, we had designed the program to help children upto 4th std.
“So, everything is hunky dory”I remarked. “It’s good, except that we have 35 children in the resource room and that’s simply not on” she said. Every child with a behaviour issue in the classroom was being sent to the resource room, even if they were neurotypical.
My thoughts after this conversation
A resource room is for those students who need help in a small group setting or on a one-on-one basis for a portion of the day. Difficult behaviours in the classroom need classroom management strategies. Class Teachers need to prepare stimulating learning materials, and create an environment where the social and emotional learning needs of the child are met.
Any teacher, in a classroom or in a resource room, should know techniques to keep a student happy and motivated in class, which in turn reduces behaviour issues. Classroom management is one of the challenging parts of teaching. We are not talking of “compliance” , but the ability to facilitate and improve student engagement and learning. I will be talking again to the resource teacher to find out how they are empowering classroom teachers.