Helping Tutors, Teachers, and Other Service Providers
and Their Organizations to Better Serve Blind and Visually-Impaired Adults
Learning English as a Second Language (ESL),
Focusing on Literacy Acquisition
six-session series of information and discussion
This series was presented in May and June of 2003. It was funded primarily by a grant from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). In 2002, the presenters, Sylvie Kashdan, Robby Barnes and Cecilia Erin Walsh, attended a three-day training presented by the American Foundation For The Blind National Literacy Center, entitled Bridging the Gap: Best Practices for Instructing Adults Who Are Visually Impaired and Have Low Literacy Skills. Following this training we were invited to submit a proposal for sharing what we had learned. Hence, this series, Extending the Bridge. Other funding sources were St. James ESL Program, Kaizen Program for New English Learners with Visual Limitations, and Washington State Office of Adult Literacy. We also received help from volunteers with research and organizational tasks.
One: The Basics:
Challenges and Possibilities for Blind and Visually Impaired Immigrants
Presenters' introductions, and
Recognizing Roles and Skills
(including A Note on Referrals)
Personal reflections on
experiences with people with visual limitations
Orientation to blindness and
visual impairment (including:
Our students are...
Some basic facts about vision
Debunking Some Myths About People Who Are Blind or Visually-Impaired
to Do When You Meet an Immigrant or Refugee Who is Blind or Has Low Vision
(including Cultural conventions)
What are the special problems
and challenges of new English learners with visual limitations?
What can be of help to new English learners with visual impairments?
Basic Definitions of Compensatory Skills
Open discussion: Questions and evaluation
Two: Literacy for Adults who are
Visually Impaired or Blind with an Emphasis on English as a Second Language
How eye conditions affect
learning and literacy
Modifications in environment
Importance of literacy for
visually impaired and blind people, with emphasis on those learning English as a
How literacy affects learning
opportunities and quality of life
Three: Braille and Large Print
Low-tech tools samples and use
Making reading and writing
accessible for low vision and blind people
Four: Many Ways of Knowing:
word about roles, responsibilities, and referrals
What does it mean to have “many ways of knowing?”
When have you been aware of having to use your sense of hearing more than
your sense of sight?
of research-based approaches
and teaching grounded in the use of multiple senses, multiple intelligences,
suggestions for new language acquisition instruction
Open discussion and evaluations
Five: Strategies for Effective
Instruction and Learning
A Note on Referrals: For
specific tools for making learning more accessible consult appropriate
Lojban interactive activities
Lessons, Activities, Adaptations, and Resources
Total physical response
Value for all students of combining senses and learning capacities: listening, speaking, reading, writing
* How prior experience furthers new learning
* Intake and assessment: getting to know your students
Adaptations of standardized tools
Adapting the Learning
Environment: Environmental adjustments
Six: Collaboration and Cooperation:
intra- and inter-agency
activity: Mapping internal and
external daily and routine contacts; round-robin sharing:
What are the main, most important tasks in a typical day?
If serving blind or visually-impaired students, what outside agencies or
contacts are most helpful in making your work easier?
inside our agencies: What do we do?
With whom do we do it? What
would we want to do?
Reaching out to form Interagency Collaboration: Kaizen + St. James = Enhanced ESL, Kaizen-St. James collaboration
* Learning for SJESL
* Learning for Kaizen Reaching in to facilitate Intra-agency Cooperation
Changes in mainstream ESL Program
can we go from here?
list: given no restrictions of any
kind, what would make the biggest contribution to making your work more
efficient and effective?
and solutions: Round-robin--each
one share one challenge, others offer solutions
discussion and Evaluation
New English Learners with Visual Limitations
810-A Hiawatha Place S., Seattle, WA 98144, U.S.A.
phone: (206) 784-5619