Our Outreach Executive Khyati Datt writes about how v-shesh is using books to help develop language skills amongst children with hearing impairments.
At a workshop conducted for parents of children with hearing impairments, Kanchan and Tabassum, trained sign language interpreters, posed the gathering question:
“What do you see as the biggest obstacle in ensuring that your child’s learning is not restricted to the classroom only?”
Most parents spoke about the communication gap that existed between them and their child which often resulted in the child becoming withdrawn from the family. Kanchan and Tabassum gave them a simple solution for this:
“Read to your children.”
Kanchan and Tabassum have always enjoyed interacting with children. They work with v-shesh Learning Services, an award winning impact enterprise that assists persons with disabilities (PwD), with socio-economic inclusion. v-shesh works in the training and education space to assist PwD in accessing formal sector jobs.
The duo are closely involved in the implementation of a project which aims to assist children with hearing impairment develop English language competency. When they joined v-shesh in 2016, the project had just started, but overtime, being in the field made them realize the needs of the children.
“Most of our students were either pre-teens or teenagers. We found a lot of interest and enthusiasm amongst the students to learn the English language, but most teaching learning material and methodologies available were not age appropriate to teach basic concepts. This led to the need for continuous innovation and to build upon existing material to make it relevant for students and simultaneously address the core challenge of assisting them with the basics”, Kanchan shares.
Books and beyond
Kanchan and Tabassum have always believed that stories are an important tool in igniting interest in learning a language. They started looking for books that were simple, colorful and had captivating illustrations. While Kanchan decided to divide the children in groups and asked them to read to each other, Tabassum started giving out books as rewards to the children.
v-shesh is a big believer of the PVR (Preview, View, and Review) method of teaching. In this method, a book is introduced to children by giving them a general description of the topic. As a next step, they read the book with the students using some visual effects and end the discussion by asking the children to review the book and share their learnings with each other. Simple videos were also made to explain the concept to the teachers and parents as well.
Children reading in pairs in a v-shesh centre in Delhi
Tabassum shares how the books from StoryWeaver were, especially, loved by children with hearing disability; “The children would often read the books on their own and volunteer to talk about the story in the class. ”
Kanchan and Tabassum’s advice to the parents at the workshop ensured that learning did not stop once the children exited the classroom. The parents of Khushi, one of the students at the center, were the first to read a book to their child. Kanchan and Tabassum noticed a remarkable change in Khushi’s confidence and were happy to see that despite not knowing sign language, Khushi’s parents were able to connect with their child through books.
Kanchan feels that, “Books are the most effective and the most important means of igniting interest in language among the students . A beautifully illustrated book helps motivate children to read and learn a language like no other”.
Source: v- shesh centre in Delhi