Teachers and parents are helping to remove the barriers of fear that prevent discovery for blind and visually impaired students. While children without eyesight take on the challenge to learn, parents and teachers look to enhance classroom learning toward gaining independence and self-sufficiency.
Students with blindness in the classroom
It’s a proven fact, we all develop skills by using them daily. In raising infants or toddlers, they learn to stand and walk one step at a time. Parents hold their hands to support the forward moment until they can stand on their own.
Teachers initiate similar routines for blind students in the classroom, but this subdivision of education includes another aspect of learning. Blind or visual impaired children must learn how to use other sensory skills to comprehend classroom information.
Central points of the classroom lessons are focused on developing a set of skills and the use of tools adapted for blindness. Re-enforced with encouragement to practice these learned skills daily, individually begins to emerge. The transformation enables life changes, strengthening the connections between friends, relatives, and teachers.
For all of these reasons, teaching methods need to incorporate sensory activities into the lessons. Hearing becomes the predominate characteristic used, followed by touch, smell and taste. By engaging the senses, students are able to associate how they can use these skills to function in all environments.
A few teaching methods to incorporate:
- Descriptive images create imagination.
- Touching objects explains textures and shapes.
- Auditory material share emotions and expressions.
- Physical workshops and play-time will build bonds.
Language education should include special reading formats (Braille) so students can become proficient readers and realize higher academic skills. Reading provides an opportunity to explore the world within a safe environment, but it also provides a platform to motivate a student’s interest.
Instructional (verbal) learning on how to maneuver through the classroom, or other environments using a cane or mobile device can help break down barriers of isolation. These activities help motor and cognitive development. Cognitive skills help students understand information, whereas motor skills control body movement. Learning how to use and manage these functions makes it possible for a blind child to interact in a physical world.
Even if teachers spend ample time during the day with a student, there are home situations that can affect a child’s learning ability. Teachers need to meet with the parents to gain an understanding of the student’s learning patterns. Joint efforts between teachers and parents account for amazing contributions to a child’s development.
Younger children need and expect some help in the classroom. Introductions based on game strategies can break the ice. Laughter and giggles make everyone more comfortable. Ensuring safety for the student is manageable. Create classroom activities that involve moving around the classroom or walking tours of the school. Rules have a purpose.
Start with the basic classroom and introduce new ones as the class progresses:
- Raising a hand to respond or signaling for help.
- Learning where things are in the room.
- Listening to the movement in the room.
- Hands-on learning.
If a noticeable change in independence and confidence occurs in older students. It is time to raise the bar.
How to raise expectations:
- Instigate higher expectations.
- Provide access to information to explore.
- Allow mistakes to happen. It can be a good lesson for the future.
- Organize the desk by placing the supplies, classroom materials, and subject content in easy to locate positions.
Personalize the classroom activity by addressing each student by name. Remember there are no visuals in a blind world – a teacher’s voice becomes a trusted resource for learning. Be sure verbal instructions and responses are clear to avoid frustrations or temper tantrums.
As dedicated as teachers are to make sure students have the tools and materials they need to learn, there are times when it requires shared efforts. Educational programs for blind or visually impaired students often struggle with limited resources.
Communities can bridge the gaps through different provisions for teachers working with visually disabled students. Your contribution assures the course materials are geared for these students, who are eager to learn more. With additional funds, teachers can reach out to professional experts in the field for study updates and new teaching strategies for meeting the educational levels and reaching the academic results.
The goal is to provide an equal quality of education and opportunity for all students, whether they are blind, visually impaired to fully sighted. These students deserve the assisted of learning tools. Are you ready to help?
- Improved classroom learning techniques.
- Develop healthy social interactions.
- Raise the ladder to higher personal achievements.
What you need to know about blind learning
By engaging in conversations with students, teachers learn what works best for the class. Unless you are in the classroom, it is difficult to explain the multiple roles of the teacher. First, they understand the difficulties these students experience.
- Consistently identify tasks that others help a student to complete.
- Recognize opportunities for the student to accomplish another challenge.
- Re-evaluate the learning materials, methods, and results.
- Match the lesson to the student’s level of progress.
- Define the skills needed for employment.
Too often, perceptions of blind students involve being mentally impaired, this is not always the case. The truth? A blind student has one additional step in the learning process compared to a sighted child. They have to create the unseen image first and plot the course of action next to complete the task.
Blind students do require more time to absorb new subjects of study. Even when the student is working with a Braille workbook, students have to decipher the writing and instructions before responding or computing the solution. Teachers become clock readers for these students providing verbal updates on the remaining time.
Parents need to take a few minutes and consider how teachers affect the life of a child through learning. Moments like these are why teachers teach.