Should museums be forgotten?

One may say it is purely visual. Not at all!! Louvre Museum in Paris has got a Tactile Gallery, especially for blind and visually impaired visitors, where they can touch the sculptures.

More to read here:

http://www.today.com/id/23257166/ns/today-today_entertainment/t/louvre-exhibit-allows-visitors-get-hands/#.U2ef_1feT_M

Following that brilliant idea, I used some of my home decorations for a snappy warmer. I asked my student to touch the sculptures and name/spell body parts. In addition to that, there was a brief art-related introduction with naming some famous sculptures eg. The Venus de Milo.

sculptures

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Body language awareness

Social interaction “skills are essential if students are to develop friendships with their classmates and participate in activities typically associated with school-age students, whether educational or extracurricular. Having effective interpersonal communication skills is also highly correlated with employability in adults. For students who are sighted, social skills are primarily learned incidentally through interaction with family members and peers. Most of this learning occurs through observation, imitation and incidental experiences that are part of everyday routines. For students who are blind or visually impaired, this information must be provided through timely, insightful, and sequential instruction. Information associated with non-verbal communication (e.g., gestures, body language, facial expressions) or cultural practices (e.g., how close to stand to the person with whom you are speaking) must be made available to students who are blind or visually impaired. Furthermore, peers of students who are blind or visually impaired require specific instruction to increase their awareness of the implications of vision loss on social interaction if they are to become both comfortable in their interactions with their classmate who is blind or visually impaired and knowledgeable about how to include this student.”
From: http://www.vision.alberta.ca/resources/curriculum/social.aspx

Some students may present body language that is not readable by a culture. I believe it is a teacher’s responsibility to introduce and describe (with examples) the meanings of non-verbal body language. I introduced some of these aspects while teaching job interview skills and how to prepare for a job interview.

Additional input

In Touch by BBC Radio 4 every Tuesday in the evening:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qxww

Mobile applications

Yay! ICT will be used even more often! Or Will it?

My student expressed a need of having a smartphone. Fair enough – we live in the 21st century and everybody wants and uses them. My immediate thought was: we will use it for learning! I know all those fancy applications that can be used with students.

You can imagine my surprise when I got home and started searching for them on my Google Pad.

There are loads of general apps for mobility and communication, like podcasts, readers, social networking, blind SMS reader, blind sighted (detecting objects in close proximity), etc. (you have to pay for some of them). I was looking for something specifically for blind learners that would give students independence when learning English.

I will continue my searches grateful for any suggestions and recommendations. At the moment I will adapt and use the mainstream applications for ESOL students.

PS. There are some apps that seem to be good for VI students: Screen filter (that acts as a dimmer) or Big Launcher (with enlarged icons).

I have found it this week, worth listening: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03lph90

Using songs

All students like songs. That’s a fact. It’s a nice shift from “boring” coursebooks and grammar tasks. In a mainstream classroom, the possibilities of using songs are countless. What if you work with a blind student?

Q: How to choose the right song?

A: Ask your student for their preferences! Occasionally, this is what I do, I present songs that I like and want my students to listen to them.

Here are some ideas I have been introducing in my lessons and my students enjoy them very much.

1. Practising speaking:

– play the melody only, ask questions (eg. Do you know this song? Do you think it is old or new? How does this melody make you feel?, What do you think the title is/should be?, What is the song about?, etc.)

– Extension activities: eg. make up a story around the song theme, do a role-play with song’s characters

2. Practising reading and spelling:

– Lyrics in Braille

3. Practising pronunciation:

– Play verses one by one and ask the student to repeat what they hear

4. Practising listening comprehension

– ask various gist and detailed questions

5. Learning vocabulary

– have a list of new vocabulary/expressions in Braille (or ask the student to type up the list)

– making sentences / using the new words/expressions in context

TBC  🙂

Lexical approach

Quick task 1

photo party nef

Present Continuous practice

I thought I would share this quick idea on how to tweak a task that contains a picture, to be able to use it with a VI learner.

What’s needed?

          a voice recorder

          a picture eg. presenting people in their flats (New English File elementary, p. 69)

          www.youtube.com

          wooden blocks

          toy family members

          a wire

What to do?

          record short recordings of the sounds/conversations (moving furniture, partying, etc.)

          play these to the student and ask him/her what the situations are

          model a correct present continuous sentence using wooden blocks and the wire

          play the recordings again

          ask the student to make more sentences and point each part of a sentence when saying it

TIP: before you record the sounds/voices, check if the language is appropriate. I struggled with finding an argument without swear words 😉

present continuous sentence

 

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