The tenth and final #TeacherTuesday this week comes from Indonesia, and a teacher called Siti who is
a special technical academic assistance
teacher to children with disabilities in
Harapan Elementary School – Bandung City in West Java. The focus of this blog post, and on Siti, is to explore inclusive education.
Tunas Harapan is an inclusive school appointed
by West Java Provincial Education Office that serves around 44 students with special needs, of that 29 children have a disability. The school has 10 special teachers who assist those 44
students both in inclusive rooms and stimulation room for. Save the
Children through IKEA project have been supporting to improve the stimulation
room, teaching-learning aids, and teacher skill on inclusive education service.
The school usually gets awards for the best dancer and singer in several student
performances like traditional dancing and music at the city and provincial level.
Siti talks about her teaching situation:
There are 44 children with disability out of 672 across 17
classes in the school that I teach in. They are aged 7 to 13 years old.
I am responsible for teaching grades 4, 5 and 6. I normally
go to school at 6am and I’m in school until 6pm. It is a very long day and I
teach 6 days each week.
I didn’t want to be a teacher at the start, but one day in
2001 I met with some street children who had disabilities – they had hearing
barriers – so then I was really eager to learn about disabilities so I took the
masters at university about special needs education. I became a teacher in
2005. I have been described as an architect for children with disability. I am now 29 years old.
I design the classroom in the shape of a U and I stand in
the middle in order to give all students attention and eye contact in the
classroom. By standing near to those who have disability – especially those who
are hyperactive – I can give them greater attention.
I handle children with ADHD, and many with downs syndrome.
More than half of the children with disabilities are girls.
I make sure my teaching is inclusive and use
techniques to do this. Usually at the beginning of the class we look at what is
expected from students in each subject. This is my most useful teaching aid – I
have a working paper for students so that I can monitor their progress from the
beginning until the end of the semester. We look at each of the names of the
children and what they have achieved. This means that those who have ADHD can
participate more. We decide what each student will achieve in each subject in a
year, so that each is reviewed at the end of each semester. It is useful to
show what each student has learnt.
In second grade there are
down syndrome students who have good achievements in dancing and singing. I always
try to increase their self-confidence so that the other students can see them
as part of their group. I sometimes divide the classroom into several groups,
making sure that the children with down syndrome are included in different
groups, and can participate in the process.
In my school there are no drop outs, but in general there is
no accurate data on how many children are dropping out and how many cannot
access school because of their disability. Even the government does not have
data on that.
There are many different backgrounds in the school – from
poor right up to the rich. The schools don’t have any special requirements to
receive students as long as the students want to learn there, then they can.
Our school is in an urban setting, so mostly the parents are from middle class
What is being done in Siti's school and country to support students with disabilities:
It is still true that at district level there is no
systematic training for teachers in teaching children with disabilities. My school
has an initiative to have a sort of press conference to look at case by case in
schools of each students – to assess and identify each child’s disability.
The in-house training at my school is twice a week. This is
independently organized by the school and is training given by friends who have
experience, a sort of network of other teachers. It’s very informal.
There is no systematic training for teachers to improve
their skills and knowledge, but some areas, such as West Java do have some
There are many schools in Indonesia which have already been
appointed at district levels as inclusive schools and can directly receive
children with disability. Otherwise, it’s not automatic that teachers have
training in inclusive education.
Teachers in West Java have tried to change the paradigm of
inclusive education, to change the culture in schools and make them child
friendly. This is because we can all see that many children in the community
cannot have access to education. This is true for older children too. There are
no ramps in schools, and for cerebral palsy students there is no funding for
them. And there’s a misperception by
teachers sometimes – they deny the students with disabilities and just send
them to special schools. Some schools will only receive a limited number of
children with disabilities every year. There are many children with
disabilities who are not in school.
The government is trying to increase the access, by
increasing funding from the national to the district and provincial level, and
to create more inclusive schools, and start training programmes for teachers. Things
are improving in some areas – such as West Java – but in general, a very small
proportion of children with disabilities are going to school.
There are often school committees with parents, including
the parents of those with disabilities. This is only in pilot schools in
Indonesia at the moment.
Looking towards the future:
An inspiring moment for me was when one of my students with
ADHD received a paper back and they had got 100%, they were so excited and they
couldn’t believe it!
My first piece of advice for teachers arriving at the school
is that they must first work out what the exact learning barriers the children
in their class are facing so that they can help with their learning. They must
get to know each student. The second advice is to make sure they know about
inclusive education so all children are learning.
My hope for the future is that there will be no such label
as special inclusive schools as instead all schools in Indonesia will be
A UNESCO fact sheet provides more information about the global situation with disabilities and education.
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