Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Putting Theory into Practice: Two Teachers' Experiences with Wormsley's Meaning-Centered Approach to Braille Literacy

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Putting Theory into Practice: Two Teachers' Experiences with Wormsley's Meaning-Centered Approach to Braille Literacy

Article excerpt

Recently, when I was in a medical waiting room, I noticed a table where a half-finished jigsaw puzzle was displayed. I couldn't resist the urge to put a piece in place when I noticed one with a distinctive shape. Then I was committed: The puzzle occupied my time until my appointment. When I left my physician's office, however, I felt a twinge of disappointment that I would never get to see the finished puzzle.

Perhaps my experience with the puzzle is a metaphor for what professionals experience when they have brief contact with a person who has a visual impairment. We have the privilege of being part of day-to-day learning, but we often do not get to see the long-term results of what we do--we don't get to see the completed puzzle. Instead, we only see the part of the picture that has been completed when our time with the individual is over. Contact between a professional and a learner may last as little as a month or two, especially in a rehabilitation setting; teachers may work with a student for just a year or two before the student is assigned a new teacher or school setting. Many of us occasionally think, "I wonder whatever happened to ...?" Sadly, these questions will never be answered, due to time, place, and confidentiality.

This month's JVIB offers a unique opportunity to see the big picture, including two long-range views from teachers who followed their students over time. Diane Wormsley's feature article in this issue, which immediately follows this column, provides an overall picture of the Individualized Meaning-centered Approach to Braille Literacy Education (I-M-ABLE). The approach informs readers about the theoretical foundations of meaning-based instruction, a promising strategy for developing literacy in complex learners. This Practice Perspectives column features articles by two teachers who successfully applied I-M-ABLE in the instruction of two students who had not been successful in learning to read using conventional approaches.

In a story from North Carolina, Amy Campbell's student, Sarah, changed from an uninterested prereader to a student who was anxious about being late for school because she did not want to miss her braille lesson. …

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