University of Edinburgh

The Importance of Art in the Curriculum for Blind and Visually Impaired Children and Young People

Presented on Tuesday 4 March 2008

10 Points for Teaching Visually Impaired Children

1. Do not assume prior knowledge.

2. Most VI children have not had the experience of their sighted peers. It is important to provide experiences.

3. It is often impossible to demonstrate a skill to a blind or VI pupil. Spoken communication and instructions are of particular importance. Choose your words carefully and make your instructions clear.

4. Grade your atttendance to your pupils be dealing with the most able first; by the time you have explained the procedure 3-4 times the least able will have had the advantage of hearing the instructions several times and the more able will not be bored.

5. Put suggestions in such a way as to make the pupil consider their own ideas by questioning and encouraging the pupil to make choices.

6. Involve children in critical appraisal of each other's work in a positive manner.

7. Do not always assume that the way you do a practical task is necessarily the easiest. Pupils can often come up with a method more suitable for themselves.

8. Allow them to make mistakes. Don't be afraid to point out mistakes and use them as a learning experience. 'Happy accidents' can often make attractive artwork.

9. Encourage pupils to be realistic about what they can and cannot do; also be realistic in your expectations.

10. Allow the pupil to work out which part of the task they can complete and which part will require assistance. Negotiate who does what. No matter how boring and time consuming, allow the pupil to perform their chosen task.

Have fun!