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INSTRUCTORS' BIOGRAPHIES

Robby Barnes, B.A.  Modern Languages and fine arts, M.A.Ed. in English as a Second Language (E.S.L.), Teaching Certificate, and E.S.L. Endorsement

Robby Barnes has been assisting new English learners since 1971, including teaching arts and crafts and academic tutoring in settlement houses in low-income neighborhoods in New York City.  In all of these positions a high proportion of the children, teenagers and young adults he taught came from places where English is not spoken as the primary language.  He has been tutoring and teaching adults and families in English as a second language programs in the Seattle area since 1988, and taught E.S.L. students in the public schools from 1993 to 1998.  He was a volunteer tutor mentor for the St. James E.S.L. Program in 1995.  From 1997 to 1999 Robby worked as an independent professional E.S.L. tutor for clients of the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind.  He is presently a professional instructor of blind and visually-impaired new English learners with the Kaizen Program. In April 2002,  Robby attended and completed the training in the American Foundation for the Blind workshop, on the impact of low literacy skills on the quality of life of adults who are visually impaired.  The workshop was titled:  Bridging the Gap:  Best Practices for Instruction of Adults Who are Blind or Visually Impaired and Have Low Literacy Skills.  One of the purposes was to form partnerships between rehabilitation professionals and literacy service providers with the expectation that cross training will alleviate some of the difficulties associated with instruction.     Another purpose was to improve the literacy skills of adults who are visually impaired by helping trainers to improve the skills of other literacy instructors. The workshop was part of a series which trained 100 trainers to change the way literacy instruction is delivered to adults who are visually impaired and have low literacy skills. They are now both certified literacy trainers with a specialization in training teachers who have visually-impaired students, as well as presenting issues to a variety of other groups, including the general public.

Sylvie Kashdan, B.A.  Sociology/Psychology, including training in Group Dynamics and Group Leadership, M.A.  Sociology and Social Philosophy, 200 hours of English as a Second Language Methods training workshops, certification to teach braille in the state of Washington 

Sylvie Kashdan has been assisting new English learners since 1969, including as an instructor of working adults in basic and advanced sociology courses in the Evening Division of Brooklyn College, a part of the City University of New York, as an assistant to the head of the Arts and Crafts Department of the recreation program at the New York Lighthouse for The Blind, and as a facilitator of arts and crafts and current events classes in senior citizens' centers in public housing projects in New York City.  In all of these positions, a high proportion of her students were people from places where English is not the primary language.  Sylvie has been tutoring and teaching adults and families in E.S.L. programs and for private groups in the Seattle area since 1988.  She was a volunteer tutor mentor for the St. James E.S.L. Program in 1995.  since 1997 Sylvie has worked as an independent professional E.S.L. tutor for clients of the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind.  In April 2002, Sylvie attended and completed the training in the American Foundation for the Blind workshop, on the impact of low literacy skills on the quality of life of adults who are visually impaired.  The workshop was titled:  Bridging the Gap:  Best Practices for Instruction of Adults Who are Blind or Visually Impaired and Have Low Literacy Skills.  One of the purposes was to form partnerships between rehabilitation professionals and literacy service providers with the expectation that cross training will alleviate some of the difficulties associated with instruction.     Another purpose was to improve the literacy skills of adults who are visually impaired by helping trainers to improve the skills of other literacy instructors. The workshop was part of a series which trained 100 trainers to change the way literacy instruction is delivered to adults who are visually impaired and have low literacy skills. They are now both certified literacy trainers with a specialization in training teachers who have visually-impaired students, as well as presenting issues to a variety of other groups, including the general public.  She is presently a professional instructor of blind and visually-impaired new English learners with the Kaizen Program. 

In April 2002, Robby and Sylvie both attended and completed the training workshop held by the American Foundation for the Blind, on the impact of low literacy skills on the quality of life of adults who are visually impaired.  The workshop was titled:  Bridging the Gap:  Best Practices for Instruction of Adults Who are Blind or Visually Impaired and Have Low Literacy Skills.  One of the purposes of this workshop was to in crease participants' capacity to train other literacy instructors who work with blind and visually-impaired students. The workshop was part of a series which trained 100 trainers from all over the country to change the way literacy instruction is delivered to adults who are visually impaired and have low literacy skills. Robby and Sylvie are now both part of the American Foundation's corps of 100 literacy trainers. As ESL teachers, they specialize in training teachers who have visually-impaired students, as well as giving presentations on related issues to a variety of other groups, including the general public.

On September 20, 2002, Robby and Sylvie, along with Cecilia Erin Walsh of St. James ESL Program, gave a presentation at the American Foundation For The Blind National Symposium on Literacy for Adults with Visual Disabilities, titled:  "Visually Impaired and Blind E.S.L. Students:  Problems and Possibilities". The Objectives of the presentation were  to enable participants to understand problems visually-impaired E.S.L. students face in programs for sighted learners, and in programs for visually-impaired proficient English speakers; and offer some methods to help them develop English oral communication and literacy; as well as some ways of making community-based E.S.L. programs more accessible to immigrants and refugees with visual limitations.

 

KAIZEN:  Program for New English Learners with Visual Limitations

810-A Hiawatha Place South

Seattle, WA 98144-2824

phone:  (206) 784-5619

email:  kaizen_esl@literacynet.org 

web:  http://www.nwlincs.org/kaizen/