The Critical Need For Visual Impairment (VI) Teachers

VI Teacher helps a boy learn to braille.
VI Teacher helps a boy learn to braille.

Universities across the nation are a dramatic decline of students seeking an education major. Add the lack of college students pursuing a career in teaching to the already significant shortage of teachers in the US, and the crisis is alarming. This shortage has many school districts relaxing criteria to obtain a teaching position like VI teachers.

The need for VI teachers is great

Why are VI teachers important?

Letter cubes that spell “education” on a desk with books in the background
Letter cubes that spell “education” on a desk with books in the background

Why is teaching braille important?

What about audio and dictation technology? In most cases, teachers use audio and dictation when a student cannot read or write braille. But, auditory learning is not literacy. Sighted students are not considered literate if they used audio and dictation and neither are students with visual impairments.

While assistive technology that utilizes audio and dictation are helpful tools for people with visual impairments, it is important to have a choice in how you consume your information. That is why many people with visual impairments like having the option; they get the best of both worlds. And, without TVIs, many people will not have a choice because they are unable to learn braille and become literate.

Make a difference for a student

Cay Holbrook, a professor of TVIs at the University of British Columbia, told Good Morning America, “Sometimes it’s a misunderstanding on the part of sighted people who think why can’t some people just listen to information? We have audiobooks, we have recorded information. But until we stop teaching print reading and writing to children who are sighted, we have no justification for stopping braille reading and writing instruction for students who are blind or visually impaired.” And, TVIs provide that education.

Students who can read and write proficiently have better outcomes financially and professionally than illiterate students. The same is true for students with visual impairment.

According to the American Printing House for the Blind’s 2017 Report, 22.3% of students with visual impairments dropped out of school and only 15.7% of students obtained a Bachelor’s degree or higher.

Close-up view of a child using a slate and stylus tool to create Braille
Close-up view of a child using a slate and stylus tool to create Braille

Incentives for becoming a VI teacher

If you are looking to make a difference in the world think about becoming a VI teacher.

This post was written by Christine Sket.

Originally published at https://brailleworks.com on January 30, 2020.

Providing ADA compliant materials for your customers. Braille, Large Print, Audio & Accessible PDF Services. https://brailleworks.com/

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