The possible causes for turning a child into backward may be divided into two broad categories – internal, lying within the individual and/or external, lying in his environment.
(1) Causes Lying within the Individual Child:
The child may become backward on account of the factors or things lying within his body structure as:
I. Child may have poor health or suffer from physical ailments and chronic diseases etc., and it may obstruct him to harness the actual potential of his natural abilities.
II. Child may suffer from some bodily defects like defective vision, faulty hearing, speech defects, left handedness etc. These defects or improper functioning of the body organs, particularly connected with sense organs, may prove a stumbling block in attaining what could have been otherwise expected from him.
III. Child may not be utilising his intellectual powers like power of concentration, reasoning, thinking, observation and imagination etc., as he should otherwise do for actualizing his basic potential on account of some defects in his brain system or its functioning or on account of some emotional and psychological pressure generated as a result of his personal and social maladjustment.
(2) Causes Lying in the Environment
The external environment may also force the child to turn into backwardness like:
(a) Defective Home Environment.
The uncongenial and improper environment prevailing in a family or home has a negative force in the educational progress of a child. Such negative factors present at one’s home may be termed as:
I. Tensions, conflicts and quarrels at home between the parents and among the members of the family.
II. Improper behaviour with the child due to over protection, negligence, jealousy, rivalry etc.
III. Noisy environment and inadequate physical facilities for the study.
IV. Poverty, illiteracy and intellectual inferiority of the parents or guardians.
V. Over engagement of children in household activities or family occupation.
(b) Defective School Environment
Conditions prevailing in the school with regard to men and material facilities and the child’s adjustment to the available school environment contribute much in the attainment of what is allowed to the child by his natural abilities.
The adverse and unfavourable conditions and improper environment lead the child to educational backwardness. These unfavorable conditions and factors may be of the following nature:
I. Lack of discipline and poor administration.
II. Lack of trained and qualified teachers.
III. Lack of material facilities like as of accommodation, furniture, library, laboratory, teaching learning aids and equipments, and other things helpful for co- curricular activities.
IV. Defective inter-personal relationship among the staff members and students.
V. Lack of proper guidance and counselling services.
VI. Defective curriculum, uninteresting and wrong methods of teaching and lack of proper Evoluation system.
VII. Indifference or improper behaviour of the teacher.
VIII. Lack of proper attention for the regular attendance and supervision of the drill and homework.
(c) Other Negative Social Influences
Apart from the defective home and school environment there may be other negative influences and undesirable forces present in the surrounding school environment of the child.
He may have an adverse and unfavorable neighborhood, evil company of the playmates and other members of the society and day-to-day quarrels and disturbances perturbing his peace of mind he may be tempted by what is available in his social environment and may pick up bad habits like smoking, playing cards, gambling, taking drugs, reading improper and cheap literature, seeing too much movies, playing truancy at the school hours and watching excessive T.V. etc.
All these things, perpetuated by the negative environment influences, are quite forceful to affect the whole life style of an individual child including ways of thinking, motivational process and habits of work and studies.
These may divert his attention towards undesirable social activities in place of school studies and thus prove a potent cause for putting the child into educational backwardness.
Remedial Programmes of Education for Backward Children
Remedy and treatment of backwardness is always dependent upon the nature and extent of backwardness present in a particular child and the diagnosis of the probable causes for such backwardness.
Children may differ in terms of the nature, extent and possible causes of their backwardness; therefore it is unwise to plan for any uniform remedial education for all of the backward children. Every case of backwardness must be treated as a unique case and therefore tackled with specific individual care and attention depending on the nature and causes of backwardness. Let us illustrate some such remedial measures.
For the cases where backwardness is caused on account of some specific physiological and sensory defects, the remedy lies in the proper rectification of these defects, for example a child suffering from defective eye sight, speech or hearing impairment may be properly treated for overcoming these defects.
For the cases where defective home environment plays a role in making a child backward, it may need the counseling of the parents or members of the family or placing the child into a suitable environment providing desired love, affection and security or providing necessary economic help, social and emotional support to the child and members of the family.
Evil effects of the neighborhood and other social agencies need also to be checked. It should be well cared that the child should not fall prey of the bad company and unsocial elements. In case he becomes a victim, then effort should be made to get him freed from the evil influences.
School environment should also be so designed as to help the child in his proper adjustment. Most of the backward children are often victims of what goes inside the school.
Care for making environment of the school quite healthy and congenial for the task of effective teaching and learning by taking due notice of the cases of indiscipline, truancy and non-attendance.
Provision of maintenance of proper progress record and keeping the students and parents informed about the same.
Besides above mentioned remedial measures the teacher should, keep in mind the following remedial measures also:
1. Short and Simple Method of Instructions
Educationally backward children require short and simple methods of instructions based on concrete living experiences with concrete materials.
Verbal instructions must be reduced excursions, play activities; dramatization or even games should be introduced specially for these children.
2. Retention of Self-Confidence
Habits of success must be developed if the child is to retain the self-confidence which is so vital for him/her. The teachers should lead him/her very slowly, making sure that each step is thoroughly mastered before the next is introduced.
3. Participation in Extracurricular Activities
The educationally backward children should be encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities of the school according to their interests and abilities.
4. Individual Attention
Individual attention should be paid to such matters as health, social conditions, while teaching in the class. So also, there must be more of individual instruction than is necessary for normal children.
5. Desired Outcomes Must is known
The desired outcomes should always be kept in mind. Interesting but important matters may be given brief attention; more energy should be expended on that which is important and essential. Certain abstract technicalities which characterize each subject should be excluded for the backward child.
6. Stimulation of All Senses
The class work must be stimulating to all the sense organs. The class teacher should seek the help of specialists, if possible, to remedy the defects of speech, hearing and sight.
7. Teacher’s Patience
The teacher must have great patience and a firm determination, never, to be discouraged while at the same time recognizing the child’s limitations. Moreover the teacher must respect the child.
If the teacher looks down upon the child as being inferior since the latter will not attain as the average child can, then the teacher cannot give the child what he/she needs and is likely to be doing her/him real harm. A backward child needs praise, continuous help, sympathetic consideration of his/her difficulties and sustained interest on the part of his/her teacher
8. Free Discipline
In the education of backward children, discipline should be free as far as possible character training rather than mere intellectual tuition should be given greater importance than is actually given.
9. Special Organisation
When a number of backward pupils are found together, a class may be organized specially for them. Sometimes such children may be retained longer in lower grade or may be specially sent to lower grade for learning skills which they lack.
10. Time Table and Syllabus
In the time-table for the backward class, the old lines of demarcation between one subject and another should be dropped or cut across. The syllabus, to a large extent, will have to be planned in terms of projects rather than of subjects.
The school should be so organized that there is plenty of activity and reasonable freedom of movement of the backward pupils.
11. Medical Check Up
A special medical checkup should be arranged at the outset and facilities should be available for remedying the ailments or defects so discovered.
12. Specific Backwardness Treatment
In the case of specific backwardness in specific subject area, remedial teaching has proved very useful. The co-operation of the specialists is highly necessary in dealing with specific backwardness.
Thus, by means of systematic observation, and interviews with the parents and also by administering the tests, the child’s outstanding physical and mental characteristics should be examined; and the analytical study will be followed by a comprehensive and synthetic study which aims at reconstructing a detailed character sketch of a child as a living, growing, conscious individual.