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Training of Teachers of the Visually Impaired in Europe
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Group 3: How to prepare teachers to work in different educational environments. The individual educational plan as a tool for including a MIVI student in a regular setting.
Content of this report:
- Emmy Csocsán (D)
- Solveig Sjöstedt (Fi/Ko)
- Vladimir Radulov (BUL)
- Elena Gaston Lopez (E)
- Griselda Tubau Molina (E)
- Zsuzsa Angyalossy (H)
- Malgorzata Paplinska (Pl)
- Ingrid Zolgar Jerkovic (SL)
- Marianna Buultjens (UK)
- Monika Toth (H)
8 countries with 10 representatives attended this workshop. At the 1st session we went through all the aims which had been sent out before the conference started. These aims are the following:
- To compare the structure and organisation of the training of teachers in MIVI in different countries in Europe. Analysis of the features of development
- Overview of theory, practice of the training and of current literature about MIVI
- Developing effective methods to work out IEP (individual education plan) for children with MIVI
- Co-operation of experts in the fields of research, developing learning materials, further education
The discussion started by introducing different systems, TT programs on VI or/and MIVI in these countries. Each of the participants introduced their situations according to the following aspects:
- Giving a short description of the structure and organisation of the training courses for teachers and other specialists in MIVI in your country (number of subjects, terms/semesters, BA, MA, credits etc… pre -and postgraduate courses)
- The relationships between theory and practice of the training in MIVI
- Sort and quality of co-operation between teacher training institutions and schools of MIVI learners
- Access to further education and enlarged know how and knowledge of colleagues working in the practice
- ONCE is the only one National Organisation for the Blind in Spain. It was established in 1938. Until the last 10 years the government did not participate directly in working with VI persons nor supporting TT programs.
- ONCE and the Central & Local Administration have different kinds of agreements to be involved in the education and in other fields.
- ONCE has 5 resource centers, 4 schools for the blind and 50 supporting teams. These team members are psychologists, social workers, special teachers and/or other professionals.
As to professional training, we have to distinguish between what ONCE organises and who ONCE co-operates with.
1. ONCE training plans
- Offered for professionals working in the resource centers, schools of ONCE, supported teams even if they are workers paid by the Administration
- Every 4 years ONCE sets up the priorities on professional training and puts them into the annual training plans
- There are more or less 15 courses with 30 participants and 30 hours/course for 3 credits which means that approximately 450 teachers are trained in the courses. Some of the training courses are certified by the Administration and more than one local administration has to be involved. The training has to be organised during the holidays or weekends. There are other courses run by ONCE during the school periods as well.
- ONCE offers TT on deaf-blindness
2. Professional training at the University
- The requirements needed to become a teacher working with VI students are only 3 years teacher degree study, with specialisation in special education.
- In the mainstream teacher training program the students do not have the chance to take even one term subjects about special ed. and even less about VI.
- If the students choose special ed. they get 90 hours on VI and if studying pre-school ed. the students can take 60 hours on VI.
- TT program: in some Spanish universities the students can take 80 credits if they choose special education in general aspects of education and 70 credits in special education. The main subjects in special ed. are:
- developmental and educational aspects in mental, motor, visual and hearing disabilities
- psycho-pedagogical bases of special education and organisational aspects of special schools
Speech therapist: at Roman Llull University of Barcelona speech therapists have 6 credits in " language and blindness"
- In some other Spanish universities in the frame of permanent training there are several courses and seminars for professionals working in the field of VI
- There are some courses at certain universities around 30-40 hours, but no certification for it
- ONCE co-operates providing professionals to several university courses
3. ONCE co-operation with external training programs
- ONCE and the Administration are co-operating at the present to organise courses for those teachers who are members of the supporting teams
- ONCE and the Administration are trying to establish minimum standards for TT on VI
- ONCE also co-operates with some secondary schools giving courses on studying leisure activities and baby care
- ONCE is helping other institutions
Priorities at the present are:
- Teaching those who are already in the field working with VI
- Training teachers in the mainstream schools who have VI pupils in their classroom
Poland/ Academy in Warsaw
There are two majors of studies at the Academy of Special Education: Education and Special Education. Within Special Education there are five year studies and extramural studies. There are the following MA specialities:
- Ed. of deaf and hearing impaired
- Ed. of blind and VI
- Speech therapy
- Early Intervention
- Ed. of mentally retarded
- Prevention of social maladjustment
- Ed. of mobility handicapped and chronically ill
- Integrated pre-school education
- Ed. of talented children
There is no separate speciality for teachers of MIVI. There are only subjects on different disabilities for example in the Education of the Blind and VI special course there are 3 subjects on MIVI (out of the total 20 subjects). These are the following:
- Early Intervention - 3rd year, 2 semesters, 30 hours
- Individual revalidation - 4th year, 1 semester, 20 hours
- Rehabilitation of children with MIVI - 4th year, 1 semester, 20 hours
There is no postgraduate program on MIVI, although there are subjects related to MIVI during postgraduate studies.
The education at the Academy is mostly based on theoretical knowledge. Every student gets information on medicine, psychology, theory and methodology of education. The students have 2 or 3 practical contacts with MIVI children during the studies. The teacher practice which everyone has to accomplish is not extensive and it does not have to include practice with MIVI children.
There are 2 institutions in Warsaw, Centre of Diagnostics and Rehabilitation and Centre for Teenagers and Adults with MIVI. The co-operation with these centers based on:
- visiting them
- volunteer work of the students
- organising special conferences/meetings on MIVI together
The system/structure of the university courses is being revised due to the Bologna Declaration.
UK, Scotland / University of Edinburgh
- Part time postgraduate award at Masters level can take 4-5 years. The student takes 6 modules for the diploma award. For the MEd award a further research module, followed by the dissertation is necessary. There is not a separate award for MIVI but there is a module on curriculum and assessment for MIVI for those who wish to specialise in this area.
- Teachers studying for the diploma are already working in schools or sensory services. The theoretical aspects and practical aspects come together in the written assignments for each module and in the final dissertation. At present there is no assessed teaching practice.
- Part of the MIVI module is delivered at Canaan Campus of the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh. Also, there are contributions from teachers and other professionals supporting inclusion in mainstream as well as special schools
- On-going staff development is obligatory for Scottish teachers (5 days/year). Teachers may attend courses given by a range of providers like: Scottish Sensory Centre(SSC), RNIB, local authorities
- There is good co-operation between schools, services and universities.
- More access for specialist VI training is necessary for classroom assistants is still missing.
Hungary /ELTE Budapest, Special faculty of VI
- The aim of the training is to prepare the students for working with persons with VI of different age groups and levels of functional vision as teachers, therapists or rehabilitation professionals.
- The department provides competence and skills in the following fields:
- early screening and intervention of children with VI
- skills development and remedial therapies for children with blindness and low vision in special or inclusive nurseries, kindergartens, schools and vocational schools
- functional vision assessment & low vision training
- information techniques
- braille and access technologies
- environmental adaptations and electronic aids
- orientation and mobility instruction
- rehabilitation and activities of daily living
- education, ability and skill development and guidance of persons with MIVI
In the faculty of VI the field specific training starts during the 3rd semester. The end of the 4th semester the students can choose again whether to continue their studies on teacher or therapist level. The specific training starts during the 5th semester.
Both teachers and therapists have to take the subject called " Introduction to MIVI" which is included in the following additional subjects. The students have to take 2-3 of them / 45 hours.
- Theory of teaching persons with MIVI
- VI with physical disabilities
- VI with learning difficulties and intellectual disabilities
- VI with severe multiple disabilities
- Education of persons with autism
Since 1995 there is an opportunity to carry out the teacher practice in this field involving special departments of the special schools in Budapest.
Bulgaria / University of Sofia
- The TT at the University is based on the general subject of VI
- The BA - 3 semester
- There is a credit system but one of the problems is that it is very theoretical and does not cover the reality in the country
- The school practice concerns mainly O&M and low vision therapy
- After the 3rd year the student can continue studies accomplish the MA degree.
- The University provides a degree on MA level
- Early Intervention
- Dance & Music therapy
- The teacher practices at the MA level every week 4 hours/day
- After the degree and having accomplished the practice the candidate becomes a resource teacher
- (Finnish speaking population, see Tarja Hännikäinen group 2)
- Concerning the Swedish speaking population in Finland they can attend the Finnish courses carried out at the University of Jyväskylä or Swedish courses in Sweden.
- There is no training for teachers for the VI learners. ?bo Akademi has its Faculty of Education in Vasa where specialist teachers are being trained. The normal number of lectures on VI is 6 (six!). There has, however, been offered a 5 study week (1 study week 40 h) additional course on VI where one study week has been on MIVI.
- The remedy for this lack of official training has been extensive in-service training at the Swedish School for the Visually Impaired in Helsinki involving several courses carried out by Dr Lea Hyvärinen (Finland) and Lilli Nielsen (Denmark).
- An important part of this training has been a pilot project to test impaired students in other special schools and classes in co-operation with Lea Hyvärinen. The aim has been/is to find a pedagogical solution on how to use the existing competence in the municipalities to carry out inclusive education for the MIVI learners.
Germany / University of Dortmund
The new Teacher Training Course (2003) in Special Education lasts 9 semesters
The structure of the course:
- General training in educational sciences
- Training in two fields of sciences related to school subjects (mathematics, German language etc.)
- Training in two fields (specialisation) of special education
- Obligatory field: Rehabilitation and education of persons with learning difficulties
- Chosen field (one of the chosen fields is Education and Rehabilitation of persons with VI).
There is no obligatory Module in education of children with MIVI but the students have the possibility to choose subjects dealing with MIVI during every semester. The offered topics are:
- basic principles of educational acting and didactics for persons with MIVI
- Assessment of individual educational needs
- Establishing a suitable learning environment
- Planning of IEP
- Following and analysing learning processes
The main goal is to analyse the child and her/his environment.
Some of the students are working in projects in schools led by the colleagues from the university.
The methods are: analysing of literature, films and case studies.
The ISaR web-based project of the university plans to enhance its support concerning all persons involved in the education of persons with MIVI.
During the second phase of the teacher training (after the first state examination) in Germany the students are working in schools. Many of them work in schools for children with MIVI. The local teacher training seminars in the various states of the Federal Republic are responsible for the professional guidance. There are many institutions - schools for children and young people with VI - having further educational programs for teachers and professionals working in field of education of MIVI.
- Small country within the history of education.
- In the former Yugoslavia at the University in Belgrade and the University in Zagreb the Faculty of Special Ed. used to have a TT program on VI
- At present concerning special education there are 2 specialities on BA level which can be chosen by the students: 1. Learning disability and Mental Retardation 2. Deaf and Speech therapy
- During the university study VI subjects can be included in 1 semester/45 hours. Beside the theoretical knowledge, 15 hours of teacher practice can be included. The problem is to find centres or institutions in the country as the number of this kind of places are limited. The practice is mostly based on observation
- The knowledge is on a basic level regarding VI related to pre-school and regular teacher settings
- Due to the Bologna Declaration changes have been started
- The university has connections with 2 schools for the blind. Most of the pupils (70%) are, however, integrated in the country.
- Special teachers as well as teachers in mainstream education can take special courses at the University related to VI and other specialities of Special Ed.
- There is a good co-operation between university and professionals in the School for the Blind/VI and experts from abroad to organise TT programs
- In the former Yugoslavia at the University in Belgrade and the University in Zagreb the Faculty of Special Ed. had a TT program on VI
- Now a second post graduate 1.5 year long Professional Development (PD) program course in special education for teachers is being carried out at the University of Pristina with a total of 60 ETCS. 2 terms theoretical and 1 term practical work.
- A Masters program in special education is being offered and presumed to start in the near future.
- A Doctoral program is being planned in co-operation with the University of Jyväskylä, Finland
- Ongoing in-service training "Towards an Effective School for All" (TESFA) is carried out in all regions in Kosovo including an advanced course in VI.
- With some exceptions the countries do not have separate TT programs on MIVI.
- The universities offer certain subjects related with MIVI even though most of them are optional
- Teacher practice and the theoretical knowledge do not always go hand in hand. In some countries they are missing, and the opportunities for practice are thus limited
The inclusion of children and young persons with MIVI is one of the real challenges all over Europe. There are countries where these children are not even enrolled in the school system whereas other countries have a high percentage of children and young persons with MIVI included in the general school system.
The (in many countries) new challenge for the TT at the universities in Europe is thus to provide the university students with a diversified knowledge and skills not only to support the MIVI learner but also to support the staff around the learner wherever they are placed. The students may later work as special school / resource centre teachers, as itinerant teachers, in educational administration or as highly specialised experts at universities.
The "staff" working with the MIVI learner may be parents caring for their child at home, or, in some institutions, non-skilled carers, or specialists in impairments other than the combination MIVI, and classroom teachers. It is thus vitally important to harmonise the knowledge and skills that are needed for the teachers to give appropriate service to the pupils as well as to those in close educational contact with them. The Bologna Declaration makes it important to do this on a European level and bring "young and old" inclusion countries closer with regard to the education of children and young persons with MIVI.
Our group has prepared a core curriculum analysis (see below) on MIVI. In order to structure the work, a matrix on "General core curriculum / blind" was used. It was created on the initiative of Markku Leskinen, PhD, from the Finnish Support to the Development of Special Education Sector in Kosovo II and carried out by Solveig Sjöstedt under the supervision of Emmy Csocsán.
- During the first session we went through the sample core curriculum which was developed for general TT on VI.
- We evaluated it, made the changes and added the special knowledge and skills concerning TT for MIVI learners
- The workshop group was divided into 3 working groups.
- The curriculum matrix is based on 4 aspects and along these aspects it is structured on 4 levels.
- Background context
- Teacher profile
- basic knowledge: the program could be offered for teachers in mainstream schools
- advanced knowledge: the program could be offered for special teachers in special schools
- in-depth knowledge: the program could be offered for resource teachers
- specialization: for experts or/and persons involved in teacher training programs
- Each of the working groups made its own evaluation and model for TT on MIVI
- The working groups continued their work on the curriculum matrix.
- After filling out one column each group presented the results of the brain storming
- It was agreed that all requirements are not to be listed in every column as the skills and knowledge of each column is to be built on the former ones. Additional skills and knowledge was added on the level in question
The representatives had been asked to collect a list of literature on MIVI used at their universities.
The lists could be downloaded as text documents (rtf format) in national languages:
The last point on the agenda was the discussion on what kind of co-operation the representatives desire for their work in the future.
The list was as follows:
- Research on this topic could be offered to PhD students/candidates
- Looking for international projects and grants for research
- Offering PhD scholarships and providing sponsorship for students on an international level lead by universities which can take the responsibility
- Recommendation for IsaR to collect and list all the available literature and learning materials and devices related to MIVI
The first table is a revised core curriculum which was the basis for the work.
The core curriculum / training program for professionals working with MIVI and/or working in any fields related with MIVI. This is just an outline without any details. The general and most essential aspects of the curriculum with regard to MIVI were included. It needs, however, to be more detailed, more structured, more precise.
Core curriculum - general/blind
||Basic knowledge (Regular teacher)
||Advanced knowledge (Special school teacher)
||In-depth knowledge (Itinerant teacher)
|I Background context - Prerequisite
The system of education
|The history of the education of the visually impaired;
Development of the education of the visually impaired and the system of inclusion
|The role of the legislation, society, NGOs etc in changing the educational system towards inclusion.
||The social and health legislation as an instrument for segregation - inclusion;
||Knowledge and experience in how the child with VI uses his/her senses, the impact of the visual impairment on the motor development and the cognitive learning strategies;
Awareness of the communication between sighted and visually impaired learners: Facial expressions, gestures, verbalisms, during dialogues and participation in group discussions etc.;
To learn methods to facilitate the child's communication process in co-operation with experts;
Knowledge about the elements of social inclusion:
- behaviour of the visually impaired student;
- behaviour of the classmates;
- behaviour of students, teachers and staff;
- attitudes of the parents;
- social cooperation in class
|Knowledge in Visual impairment
- Visual abilities;
- Light and colour perception;
- Visual field etc.;
And its impact on the visually impaired learner;
Awareness of learning conditions and individual needs;
Assist teachers and professionals and make recommendations regarding the vision of the individual child in the classroom in the following fields:
- Cognitive development;
- Motor development;
- Social inclusion
|Carrying out and using theories and classifications of visual function:
- Visual abilities;
Awareness and knowledge of educational implications of the environment and environmental clues for VI learners;
Deliver methods to in ensure cooperation between teachers, students, parents and school staff in assessing the social situation in the class / school / home environment.
|Take part in, conduct and design intra- and trans-disciplinary research and carry out projects on special topics:
- Learning processes;
- Cognitive development;
- Sensory developmental integration;
Provide teachers on all levels with instructions on how to handle the issue;
Through research / projects on social inclusion produce instructions on social behaviour management regarding inclusion of visually impaired children and young people;
Preparing and carrying out plans and seminars
Work under supervision
Practice in co-operation with different experts
Working in research projects
|IV Teacher profile
||Competence in research and development
A. Basic knowledge / teachers in mainstream education
I. Background context
- short overview of potential and challenges facing pupils with MIVI
- knowledge about the educational services & system / awareness of relationship between inclusion and special education (e.g. the pupil moving between special and mainstream or shared placements)
- Cognitive development
- Emotional development
- evolution of parental partnership
- Motor development
- Social inclusion
- Independent Living Skills / ADL
- sensory development in pupils with MIVI / effects of MIVI
- general information on learning process of pupils with MIVI
- general principals of communication, how to assess communication support needs of pupils (along with experts), general knowledge about communication aid/devices
- appropriate learning environment - methods & materials
- knowledge about the elements of social inclusion (how to make the physical and social environment of the school more inclusive)
- basic knowledge of how to develop an IEP in co-operation with experts
- together with experts + classroom assistant carry out a relevant program for the individual pupil
- co-operation with experts
- giving tools for self-observation + teacher's reflections
- observation of other teachers / analysis
- workshops for teachers to share classroom experiences
- support + supervision
IV. Teacher profile
- interpersonal communication skills
- capacity to work in a team
- individual approach
- ability self-observe - psychological as well as task-based activities
B. Advanced knowledge / special teachers in the special schools
I. Background Context
- more detailed look at what MIVI means
- knowledge of organisations and services for the VI
- history and development of education of VI and education of people with MIVI
- system of inclusion
- knowledge of visual functions (including cerebral visual functions) / eye conditions
- effects of different pathologies
- understanding medical diagnosis
- knowledge of assessments (functional assessments of all developmental areas)
- IEP / Individual Educational Plan
- knowledge and skills to promote literacy (using appropriate methods)
- how to adapt teaching methods to take into account sensory impairment & combined with multiple disabilities
- how to develop skills of haptic perception
- knowledge of aids to low vision - technical & non technical - as well as how to use them
- communication systems (alternative and augmentative)
- behaviour understanding and management
- functional curriculum model
- teacher practice
- teacher preparation of IEP for each child
- use of modern technology
- use of professional materials / literature
IV. Teacher profile
- sensitive to the child's needs
- knows when to ask for help
C. In-Depth knowledge / resource teachers
I. Background context
- knowledge of legislation & policies and system of education of MIVI
- knowledge of early intervention provision and how to support the child and the family
- the importance of the parental role in the life of their child (parental autonomy / empowerment)
- knowledge of a range of issues involved in supporting successful transition between primary and secondary school
- how to use the results of ongoing assessment to recognising the needs and possibilities for employment or further studies
- knowledge and skills to:
- communicate to others how to develop or modify an appropriate learning environment and to analyse the learning process
- provide and evaluate adaptive materials and equipment, and advise on the most appropriate
- awareness of the importance of social skills for inclusion
- skills in giving advice to other teachers, parents and other professionals
- curriculum management
- knowledge of different therapies
- advising teachers, parents and other professionals on the educational support needs of pupils with MIVI
- task analysis
IV. Teacher profile
- consultant management skills
- ability to work in a collaborative way with a multidisciplinary team
- capacity to organise a multidisciplinary team
Something more to add to the 4th level :
D. Specialization / Specialists or university teachers
I. Background context
- up to date knowledge in sciences concerning MIVI
- conduct and carry out research in different up to date topics like neurology, ophthalmology, technology…
IV. Teacher profile
- Have the skill to empathise with adult student
- Have the skills to teach and inspire other adults
- Competence in research and development
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