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  • Writer's pictureShilpa Rao

Breaking Down Barriers: How Shadow Teachers Promote Inclusion in Schools

In the present dynamic educational landscape, the concept of inclusive education is a necessity that cannot be ignored. But inclusive education has certain limitations for children with special needs. A teacher alone will not be able to suffice the requirement of the classroom, this is when "shadow teaching" emerges as a powerful tool in breaking down barriers and fostering inclusivity within schools.

In this article, we delve into the essential role of shadow teachers in promoting inclusion within Indian schools, examining their impact, benefits, and the key strategies they employ to create a more accessible and equitable learning environment for all students.

What is a Shadow Teacher?

Shadow teachers, play a pivotal role in supporting students with diverse learning requirements, enabling them to fully participate and thrive in mainstream classrooms. By providing personalized assistance, individualized instruction, and fostering a nurturing environment, shadow teachers empower students to overcome challenges and unlock their true potential. Shadow teachers are also referred to as para-professionals, student aides, and special needs tutors.

What is the Role of a Shadow Teacher in the classroom?

The role & responsibility of a shadow teacher depends on various factors like the child's individual needs, the school’s policies, and the educational context. Below are some of the responsibilities of a shadow teacher.

  • Provide one-on-one support to a student with diverse learning needs, providing assistance specific to the student’s requirement.

  • Help students with special needs understand and engage with the curriculum by assisting with note-taking, organising materials, and reinforcing the concept with additional explanations.

  • Collaborate with teachers to modify instructional materials, assessments, or activities to accommodate the student's learning styles and abilities.

  • Assist in managing the student's behaviour, implementing strategies that promote positive behaviour and minimize disruptions, and ensuring a conducive learning environment.

  • Serves as a liaison between the student, parents, teachers, and other professionals involved, facilitating effective communication and collaboration to address the student's needs comprehensively.

  • Support the student in developing social skills, facilitating interactions with peers, and promoting inclusion within the classroom and school community.

  • Track the student's progress, collect data, and provide feedback to the student, parents, and teachers, assisting in identifying areas of improvement and implementing appropriate strategies.

  • Offer emotional support and encouragement to the student, promoting their self-confidence, resilience, and overall well-being.

Qualities of a Good Shadow Teacher

A shadow teacher should have skills and qualities that are understanding & exclusive to be able to work with children with special needs.

Following are some of the qualities that a good shadow teacher should have.

  • A shadow teacher should have compassion, empathy, and lots of patience, as working with children with special needs may be challenging and require a lot of attention.

  • Should be flexible and adapt to each individual’s personality. They should be able to modify teaching methods to suit every child’s unique learning style.

  • A shadow teacher is usually a link between the child, parent, teachers, and other professionals involved in the child’s development and education. They should have excellent communication skills to effectively communicate between all the parties involved.

  • A shadow teacher should be able to think quickly and creatively to solve any issues related to the child, as many times situations will arise that might require immediate intervention.

  • Should have the knowledge and be up to date regarding special education methodology & practices, tactics for various behavioural problems, and teaching methods. They should also know thoroughly about learning disabilities & other problems.

  • Shadow teachers should be passionate about education and teaching so that they can help students with special needs reach their true potential.

A shadow teacher plays an important role in making school adaptive and inclusive. They can be a ray of hope for children with special needs and their parents as they help them lead a regular life with an equal opportunities like regular kids.

It is beneficial to go for certified shadow teachers who are trained regarding the requirements of children with special needs. At Nele, we are introducing a Shadow Teacher Program which is a 12 weeks certificate program that covers both theoretical and practical aspects of shadow teaching. Register for the same at the earliest.

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