Inclusive classrooms 101: Visually Impaired Students
Diversity & Inclusion

Inclusive classrooms 101: Visually Impaired Students

Creating inclusive classrooms where every student can thrive is our job—but what happens when we are short on resources, support, or even qualifications to approach certain challenges? In this blog post, we explore the ways we can create an inclusive classroom environment that caters to visually impaired students in our EFL classroom.

Disconnection from peers, low self-esteem, and lack of motivation may be common occurrences when classroom environments fail to accommodate different learning styles. What can we do to make our classrooms friendlier to visually impaired learners?

Tasks and activities to avoid when you have visually impaired learners in your EFL class:

  • spot the differences
  • describe one’s surroundings
  • match the vocabulary to the definition
  • comment on the chart or diagram
  • comment on or play with flashcards (unless large size for visually impaired)
  • complete picture-based exercises
  • fill in the blanks
  • unscramble the words
  • avoid addressing the teaching assistant—if there is one. Instead, involve your student.

What to do instead:

  • establish frequent communication with the student’s family
  • use tactile teaching material and realia
  • don’t rely on the information written on the board—highlight the lesson’s points orally and frequently
  • address students by their names and complement  nods and other gestures with verbal instructions
  • opt for Flipped Lesson classroom approaches so students have the time to work on videos and exercises ahead of time
  • minimise background noise
  • partner your students! This will not only foster a culture of collaboration among peers, but it will also help your students support each other.
  • permit lessons to be recorded and/or provide enlarged copies of classroom notes when possible
  • seat the student appropriately in the classroom (e.g. in the middle towards the front)
  • make sure lighting is suitable

Visit Paths to Literacy to learn more about teaching ESL to learners who are blind or visually impaired. Learn more, today!

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