Published: 26th April 2019
Now, any teacher can learn how to work with dyslexic kids through online course on IIT Madras portal
The president of Madras Dyslexia Association talks about their recent launch of an online portal that helps raise awareness on dyslexia
Hit movie of the year 2007, Taare Zameen Par just broadened minds and perspectives on the mysteries of dyslexia. What that movie didn't fail to highlight was also how difficult it is to identify dyslexia in a child. Well, all thanks to Aamir Khans's character Ram Shankar poor little Ishaan (Darsheel Safary) had his days of redemption from torture.
Launch time: Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, launched the course at the campus
Now, flipping back to reality did you know that around 10 per cent of the children in India are deemed to be dyslexic? Shocked? What is worse is that it isn't recognised right off the bat and most people still remain unaware of this condition in their children. While most of us read these statistics and continue on with our day-to-day lives, some people decided to take it upon themselves to bring about awareness and make a difference one child and one teacher at a time.
Madras Dyslexia Association has launched a free online programme, e-Shikshanam, to train primary school teachers on providing remedial support to children with specific learning difficulties. The programme has been launched along with IIT Madras on their online learning portal NPTEL - which means any teacher, anywhere in India can use it and get certified.
The objective is to train teachers and other stakeholders to spot, diagnose and help children with dyslexia, "e-Shikshanam was earlier a face-to-face programme, with a whole lot of teachers and we realised that for an organisation like ours moving places and conducting workshops at various schools was more time consuming and not feasible. So for the sake of a wider reach, we decided to collaborate with IIT Madras and compress our content and make it available to teachers across the country in the form of an online module. This is open to any teacher at any nook and corner of the country and is more of an online certification course," says D Chandrasekhar, President, Madras Dyslexia Association.
For most of us, a face-to-face discussion would sound more appealing than sitting in front of a computer right? So how will this online portal be welcome by the teachers you ask? "Well first of all this online portal is to convenience teachers so that they can take the course in their free time. Secondly, it's free of cost. Third, it has every teacher's best interest in mind especially when the video content is created with exercises at the end of every session. These sessions address mainstream teachers who teach at the primary school level. Each teacher is taught how to identify dyslexia and how they go about patiently dealing with children who show symptoms of dyslexia," says Mala Raju, the project leader of e-Shikshanam.
Madras Dyslexia Association partnered with NPTEL and IIT Madras in order to compress 27 years worth of content and knowledge in the form of videos for teachers to learn from, "We initially didn't know where and how we were going to go about recording audios and videos for our content. But being an IIT alumna I was able to get permission from IIT Madras director Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi on being able to access their studio and he graciously gave it to us without incurring any cost. Now with that help, we created content for 7 sessions that will happen over a span of 7 weeks for teachers on dyslexia," adds Chandrashekar.