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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2584

A New Publication on Child Friendly Teaching Practices Launched

Colombo, 02 November, ( Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) launched the publication 'Psychosocial Wellbeing in the Classroom,' a resource kit on child friendly teaching practices on 01 November in Colombo.

According to NRC Country Director in Sri Lanka, Mr. Joern Kristensen, the resource kit provides any group interested in working with the development and protection of children in emergency situations, with a comprehensive, holistic and practical guide to child-centred teaching methodologies.

"Education is not only a basic human right; a good classroom environment also provides a sense of normalcy for children living in very difficult circumstances in any emergency situation," says Kristensen.

`Education in emergencies and transition phases' has been a very important base for NRC; as a humanitarian organisation NRC goes beyond the call of construction of physical buildings and extends its services in `building the builders' in difficult circumstances.

The resource kit co-authored by Mrs. Gethsie Shanmugam and Fr. Mervyn Fernando, who are both trainers with considerable experience of working with children and teachers living in difficult circumstances in Sri Lanka, aims to strengthen teachers' involvement with their students in a positive way to support children's development from both personal and social dimensions.

December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami left hundreds of schools along the coastline fully or partially destroyed. Apart from the physical damage to buildings, furniture, equipment etc., many children suffered from severe trauma, obstructing a return of normalcy in their lives. Therefore, according to a MoU with the Ministry of Education, NRC rehabilitated 24 tsunami damaged state schools in the six districts of Matara, Hambantota, Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Mullaitivu, benefiting more than 10,000 children and teachers. NRC's response was two-pronged: to reconstruct fully or partially damaged school buildings; and to train teachers to deal with the psycho-social aspects of the students in the classroom.

Around 80 teachers received training on teaching methodology to be better equipped to support the psychosocial recovery and wellbeing of students. The four module, eight-month training programme developed by NRC in consultation with a group of eminent Sri Lankan educators and local follow up activities in the schools are yielding positive returns throughout the six districts.

The programme has a long term objective of serving as the pilot for the Ministry of Education's efforts to develop training for teachers to provide a supportive classroom environment for children who have faced adversity.

The resource kit draws its content from the so called mediated learning methodology, field-based follow-up activities and participatory trainings conducted by NRC during the eight-month programme in 2005-2006. The book was published with support from the Canadian International Development Agency's Child Rights Project.

- Asian Tribune -

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