To ensure that learning never stops, even during unprecedented times, educators around the world switched to virtual teaching. However, due to unequal access to online schooling, students from underprivileged families suffered a lot. In order to bridge this digital divide and provide the students equal access to learning, Ms. Deepika Kaushik, a special educator from Sri Venkateshwar International School, Dwarka, New Delhi, started a project titled Uddan to help underprivileged girls. She also learnt the sign-language and put in special efforts to teach a mute and deaf student who is enrolled in her school and ensured she gets equal access to online education as others.
Ms. Deepika recalls COVID-19 induced lockdown as a blessing in disguise. It is during this time that she collaborated with an NGO, Udayan Care, and started her very first project, Uddan. The project was a ‘one on one’ campaign that was aimed at promoting social inclusion. As part of the project, she selected around 50 girl students from Standard IX to XII who could teach the English language to underprivileged school girls of Class XII under her supervision.
The project was a big hit as the underprivileged school girls showed significant improvement in both written and spoken English. The project not only helped underprivileged girls but also inculcated the habit of 'Giving Back' to the society.
Ms. Deepika is elated with the response received by Project Uddan and is committed to starting another campaign with Udayan Care. The upcoming campaign aims at effectively teaching empathy, kindness, humility, self-confidence and leadership.
As restrictions on the movement of people were put in place, physical interaction with the students was impossible. This worsened the situation for special educators as students with disabilities require special attention for effective learning. Being a special educator herself, Ms. Deepika initially found it difficult to teach such students online. However, with time, she learnt to interact with disabled students through the virtual medium.
While teaching students with special needs, Ms. Deepika came across an opportunity to teach a student who was both mute and deaf. This set her on the journey of learning sign language to meet the special requirement of the student who was assigned to her. The deaf and mute student, as quoted by Ms. Deepika, shows immense interest in learning new concepts and responds positively to what she teaches which in turn, gives her a sense of satisfaction.
Deepika Kaushik is a finalist for Best Initiative (For Children with Special Needs [CWSN]) Because…
She maps the progress of every student with virtual conversations and focuses on learning through play-way methods. Another dazzling part of her teaching-learning process is parents' satisfaction. She believes that learning has no limit and being a special educator, Ms. Deepika is committed to learning new ways of teaching to cater for the needs of diverse learners.