A. Best Practice: Training on Selective Adapted Games for Developing Motor Skills for Persons with Disabilities
Although basic physical access to sports facilities in India has improved significantly in recent years, the majority of existing sports facilities still do not fully meet the sports and recreational requirements of Persons With disabilities (PWD). At present, there are limited opportunities available for PWD’s to participate in Sports. As result, abled PWD’s couldnot contribute to Sports and Games. This inadequacy needs to be overcome while providing more opportunities for PWD’s and encourage them to participate in adapted sports and games. Adapted games are conventional games that are modified to suit to the unique needs of PWD’s.
- To transmute conventional games into adapted games for PWD’s.
- To organise on/off-campus awareness programme for PWD’s, coaches, parents, and care givers on adapted sports and appropriate training in adapted games suitable to the players of the disabled.
- To empower the teacher trainees to get familiarised with the rules and regulations of adapted sports and games.
- To orient and train the coaches, players and athletes of various categories of disabilities about the latest and updated rules of various adapted games.
Owing to the limited opportunities for PWD’s to participate in adapted games, there is a greater demand for exploring the alternative models to be augmented to offer challenging and competitive sport experiences. Adapted games are one among such unique play activities. Considering the significance and importance of adapted games, the faculty identify and create adapted games for PWD’s based on the requirements of various types of disabilities and give them opportunities to develop physical & motor skills, experience joy and participate in sports competitions.
- Disabled students in special schools and colleges, who are willing to participate in adapted games, are identified.
- After necessary orientation, they are categorised for various games based on their prerequisite skills and talent
- This training is conducted for 4 weeks with initial and final assessment of performance. Based on the outcome of assessment, reinforcement sessions are conducted for two weeks to improve their performance.
- Teacher trainees are involved in giving this training using the following approaches:
- Supervised exercise training is provided for developing physical fitness among persons with disabilities.
- Fundamental motor skills and sports specific training modules on adapted sports and games are designed and implemented using the principles of sports training.
Evidence of Success
- Increased muscular strength and endurance of PWD’s
- Improved quality of life, including mood and well-being, socialisation, independence
- Enhanced functional capacity and ability to effectively complete activities of daily living
- Increased understanding of parents of the disabled regarding the importance of adapted sports and games for their children
- Limited availability of adapted sports equipmens
- Lack of transportation facilities for PWD’s
- Lack of trained sports trainers.
- Human resources like qualified and trained para-professionals, special education teachers, and social workers.
- Infrastructural facilities accessible for PWD’s.
B. Best Practice: Rural Living and Learning Experience (RLLE)
Objectives of the Practice
RLLE is a rural immersion programme where the students of Agriculture and Rural Development course are sent to the remote villages for nearly two weeks each in March and September every year. They stay in the village, learns from the villagers, and try to apply both contextual and classroom learning to bring in positive changes in the rural communities. The programme was initiated to actualise an alternative, liberating pedagogical approach to make classroom teaching meaningful it was also meant to inculcate the value of ‘service to the society’ in mainstream education.
There were two contexts for launching the RLLE programme. First, evidence suggests that the complexities of rural realities are best understood in the villages only and overdependence on the textbooks limits the ability of students to learn and act meaningfully in solving the agrarian problems. Experiences drawn from the history of rural development across the globe show that positive changes in rural areas happen when the development agents have the skill to understand and facilitate the process of self-mobilisation in a community. RLLE aims to develop such qualities among the students. Second, the experiential learning in real-life context expands the scope of learning and development from ‘self’ to ‘others’, thus opening up the possibility of ‘learning through changing others’. A self-critically aware mindset is instilled in the students and the villagers, which is, in essence, a liberating pedagogy and aligns well with Swami Vivekananda’s principle of ‘empowerment through participation and learning’.
As a part of RLLE, all the students of agriculture and rural development course, are mandatorily sent to rural areas for nearly two weeks, every year. The village stay is divided into two segments – a) Community Study Segment – The students gain experience of the village life and its people, study the rural system in its entirety and try to understand the areas where their learnt knowledge may be applied. b) Community Action Plan – here, the students prepare a community action plan for the villagers to expand their vision and solve some of the existing problems. The students also act upon the plan and document the process in the form of a report.
The RLLE report is submitted to the IRDM Faculty Centre, and the Community Action Plans are sometimes submitted to the grassroots-level organisation to whom the students are often attached. The whole process is monitored by the faculty mentors and evaluated rigorously at the Faculty Centre. Since the students are placed (2-4 in a group) at 4-6 different locations with limited/no electricity or internet/telephone connectivity, monitoring becomes a severe constraint. Moreover, since the programme is not funded, the mobility of students also becomes difficult. Also, implementation of the community action plans sometimes requires small funding supports for meaningful intervention (procurement of agri-input, materials required for preparation of Information-Education-Communication materials), which is often not forthcoming.
Evidence of Success
RLLE was launched primarily to immerse the students into the rural setting for gaining first-hand knowledge of the ‘real India’. We did not set any explicit target for the programme, and confined the evaluation to students’ educational outcomes. We evaluate the students rigorously through formal procedures where they have performed persistently well over the years. In the students’ feedback, they have expressed the importance of RLLE in their course curriculum.
With time, we started encouraging our students to submit the study outcomes (field study and draft community action plans in the form of project proposals) to the attached grassroots organisations so that they can take the process forward in the visited communities when the students come back. We now plan to study the impact of RLLE on the students and communities through evidence-based research.
Every year, the students teach novel agricultural techniques to hundreds of farmers, generate awareness of women and rural youth, and teach school children about diverse issues related to life-skills. Since its inception, more than 300-unit students have visited nearly 100 communities and reached more than 10,000 villagers directly and indirectly.
Problems encountered and resources required
The most significant problem of engaging students in remote villages is their safety and security. Also, close monitoring of the students and assessing the impact of the programme on them and communities is tough to maintain along with the regular teaching-learning process. Despite established informal linkages with grassroots-level organisations, meaningfully engaging students for nearly two weeks asks for improved institutional capacity to mentor, monitor and measure the programme impact.
For successful implementation of RLLE, an institution would need sound orientation of students regarding the rural realities. A written guideline is also needed to help students understand the programe philosophy and the modalities of its implementation. A dedicated resource-pool (human and financial) is also required to assist students during the field placements to create more impact on the communities and strengthen students’ educational outcomes.
We plan to start evidence-based research to assess RLLE’s outcome and develop a community-outreach centre involving a NGO-network to scale up its impact.