Fortell in this issue is focused on the pedagogical status, needs and future of the disabled. A much ignored area not a long time ago, identification and meeting of specific and different learning needs of the disabled, specially language, has picked up pace at the national level. Yet, the existing position and actual experience speaks volumes for the attention and work that pedagogy for disabled needs from both able-bodied and the disabled. This need of the hour reflects in the overwhelming response we received to our call for papers on ‘Pedagogy and Disability’ for this issue.
The articles in this issue assess the current pedagogical methods and suggest changes that will set the future course more positively. Kirti Kapoor traces the milestones in the journey towards inclusive education for the disabled. It sets the tone for this issue by giving an overview of the historical development of pedagogical frameworks and policies for the disabled through segregated, integrated and inclusive phases. Lakshmana Rao Pinninti takes the cue for sensitizing people to inclusive pedagogy for students with disabilities citing examples of students with visual impairments. The article underscores the need to develop inclusive attitudes and values among the non-disabled so that an inclusive ethos can be created both inside and outside learning environments. This is reinforced in Guntasha Kaur Tulsi’s field based research that provides a glimpse into actual state of special schools as they exist. Richa Chilana brings the issue of disability and pedagogy to fore, and examines critically the implementation of alternative teaching methodologies, even as it makes a case for inclusive curriculum and classroom. An insider’s experiential perspective as a stakeholder in the exercise, Shubhangi Vaidya complements Archana Parashar’s article where she elucidates on use of alternative communication methods to enhance learning in autistic learners. The interview with Hemachandra Karah attests the concerns outlined as he takes us through his own educational journey as a disabled and emphasizes on addressing specific problems in disabled pedagogy head-on.
In our general section too, stereotypes are challenged with Ashok Celly’s rhetorical questioning of the traditional supremacy of the schools of rationality and reason which have always opposed liberal humanities specially the study of Literature. M R Vishwanathan makes a strong case for native Englishes have come of age while Ramanujan Parthasarthy talks about facilitating language learning by adopting peer-feedback as an apt tool to give feedback to students on their performance.
Overall, the issue discusses pertinent and relevant issues in English Literature both from the vantage point of the disabled and able-bodied. It was a pleasure to compile it. We hope the issue will be a milestone in the long road ahead of us!
Chandra Nisha Singh