(director of the Centre of Education and Upbringing for Blind Children in Laski)
Plenary session 4, Thursday 13 July 2000, 14.00 - 15.30
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends
This conference gives me, first of all, the opportunity of contacting people, their ideas, considerations, output and experience.
I tried to hear, to see and to touch as much as possible with hope that I would find many complete suggestions or inspirations for my work and for the work of my school.
Thanks to a possibility of direct contact with the authors of interesting addresses and innovatory concepts I can meet them in person, get their e-mail or any other way of contact so that, having come back home and composed myself after impressions of the conference, I can choose what is mostly needed and then, if it is possible, I can try to order material/ article / paper, buy educational aid or invite an author to our school.
I think, that, firstly, to answer what is the opinion in Europe and in the world as regards the most proper forms of education for children and the young with dysfunction of sight.
How do the ways of lives of blind students, in the countries where early support of development and integrative education is a general rule, develop?
I think that the conference confirmed the directions of our activities with respect to the development of assumptions for the place of special education in a reformed system of education in Poland. (I do not say more about that subject as you have much information about the system of learning and special education in Poland in the conference materials as well as in the inauguration lecture.)
I also think that the experiences of other schools in Europe acknowledge the thesis that transformation of special school into a school for some group of students and enter of Special Education represents the right solution.
Special school should adjust to the new reality by evolution. It should still be the school for some students and fulfil, at the same time, or first of all, its role by preparing the students for integration and self-dependence and to support the blind and weak-eyed students, their parents and teachers in the mass schools. It means the transformation and not liquidation of the existing centres and their achievements.
At this conference, I wanted to find out what is the opinion about the usefulness of the Braille type in today's computerized world. I was satisfied to state that even the outstanding computer people participating in our conference are for the Braille type and recognize its irreplaceable value in education and in lives of the blind persons.
I would cite an expression used in one of the addresses: "Each of us sees a piece of world but we all see the whole world." And therefore I would like to have a place in internet where we could collect information, developments and addresses of persons and institutions dealing with this interesting subject-matter. It does not certainly mean, that when it will be possible to find everything or to discuss in computer, it will not be worthwhile to arrange such conferences as the present one.
During personal meetings with participants of our conference, I heard many times about the need for meeting and exchanging the experiences amongst the teachers of the English language. I suggest to choose our school, located in Laski near Warsaw, as the venue of such meeting.
If I would say "with what I will come back" to my school , I think, I am sure, that we have great colleagues all over the world who are anxious to create world more friendly to the blind people, to be their friends and to learn from them.
In the team of teachers from our centre, who participated in this conference, we planned to arrange, at the beginning of a new school year, a meeting in which we sum up our impressions and decide how to use the experiences gained in this conference.
When taking the floor, I would like to extend our thanks to all persons who were so kind and helpful to us in the time when information and modern equipment was hardly accessible in Poland. I extend my gratitude to Herman for all friends who gave us their help in that time.
I thank all participants of the conference for what I received from you by lectures, discussions, materials and meetings.
Institute for the Blind
Laski, 05-080 Izabelin, Poland
Fax: +48 22 752 21 05
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