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TEACHERS.NET GAZETTE
Volume 3 Number 5

COVER STORY
Harry & Rosemary Wong urge, "If you are a teacher applying for a job, it is essential that you ask the question at the interview: Does this district have a new teacher induction program? "...
COLUMNS
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong $50,000 to Replace Each Teacher
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall Using Breath Management for Better Listening And Voice Preservation
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon It's All About Transfer!
Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber Eight Winning Ways to Wrap Up the Year
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno A Natural Ham
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman Virtual K-12 Schools
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover The Life of a Teacher
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac Theme Sites
Part 2
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall A Special Request & Writing Help for ESL Students
Visual Impairments by Dave Melanson Sight Impaired Child Benefiting From Change in Modern Schools
Index of Articles
Index of Regular Features
Index of Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:


About Dave Melanson...
Dave Melanson is located in Montreal Canada. He has five years experience presenting seminars and sensitization training to elementary schoolteachers on mainstreaming and integrating visually impaired and blind children into the regular classroom. During the past 2 years he has begun to branch outside of the Montreal area and is now covering other Canadian Provinces as well as the U.S. When giving seminars Dave brings with him a briefcase of 10 pairs of simulator glasses, each allowing the wearer to experience a different type of visual impairment.

Dave will provide a tape of a previous seminar to any school district interested in booking a presentation in order to demonstrate the topics he covers with regard to integration and mainstreaming a sight impaired or blind child.

You may contact Dave for more information by e-mail at melanson@teachers.net or by telephone: 514 7683264. Dave can also be found in the Teachers.Net chatroom many evenings during the week, logged on as Dave/Montreal.


Special Ed Chatboard...
Teachers.Net has two resources dedicated exclusively to Special Ed teachers - the Special Ed Chatboard, and the Special Ed Mailring. Join a community of Special Ed teachers and mentors from around the world, and help make your start in teaching effortless and painless! The Teachers.Net community specializes in teacher peer support, bookmark the Special Ed Chatboard and join the Special Ed Mailring and start your career off on the right foot.
ASL/Sign Mailring...
Join the Teachers.Net ASL/Sign Language Mailring! The ASL/Sign Mailring is part of the Teachers.Net Language Center, and provides teachers of mainstream as well as special needs students a place to discuss using and teaching American Sign Language and other sign languages in the classroom. Subscribe today at the Teachers.Net Mailring Center.
 
 
Visual Impairments
by Dave Melanson
Sight Impaired Child Benefiting From Change in Modern Schools
As many of you know, I have just started writing my second resource manual for the classroom teacher on mainstreaming and integrating sight impaired and blind children into the regular classroom environment. This book will consist of interviews from classroom teachers who have actually had sight impaired and blind children mainstreamed in their classrooms. In effect, this book will be what teachers themselves are actually saying about "inclusion today" with both the positives and negatives, as well as where there needs to be improvement in support services for these students.

During my second interview, conducted with a first grade teacher at Our Lady of Pompei Elementary School in North End Montreal, I learned some interesting things about how their school operates today. One of the major changes which surprised me greatly was that the children at this school do not have to line up when going into school in the mornings, following recess, and at lunch...they simply file into the school when they hear the bell ring. This made me think of several things which I shared with Stephanie, the first grade teacher I was interviewing that day.

First, lining up in the schoolyard brought back memories of when I was in elementary school and the problems and challenges I faced at that time. At Riverview Elementary School where I attended, we all had to line up 2 by 2 before going into school. This always involved finding a partner to walk with. Since I am visually impaired, I could never see who was without a partner and no one would come and ask me to be their partner. Therefore, I would stand off to the side and just wait for the line to file in. I would fall in at the very back of the line without a partner. This was very embarrassing and I felt that I was not really obeying the rules or following the norm since I never had a partner.

Today, the policy of Our Lady Of Pompei School would eliminate this problem for the site impaired or blind child. They would simply file into the school either on their own or with a friend but the tension and pressure would no longer be there for them to feel "left out."

Stephanie also explained that the school tries to pair physically challenged children with a "responsible student" who in effect would be their buddy to look after them or otherwise be there for them.

This program has worked very well and has allowed the children to understand from an early age that a child who may appear different from the others still belongs in the regular classroom environment and should be treated with the same respect and dignity as everyone else.

Another positive change I've learned about from teachers in various schools is that they no longer punish the entire group collectively if 1 or 2 students misbehave. This tends to reward those children who do behave well and might not even understand what happened, while punishing only the offenders.

In conclusion I would like to emphasize the importance of "the school community" which seems to be working very effectively these days to support every child regardless of his or her special needs. More than ever schools make it their goal that very child who attends their local school feels a part of the "community," and all students can feel that they are able to contribute something to their school in their unique ways. In this way there is less stress and pressure on certain students who otherwise might feel "left out" or rejected.


I would like to invite any teachers who have had a sight impaired or blind child mainstreamed in their classroom to please email me at melanson@teachers.net if you would like to be interviewed for my second book. The interviews can be done by email. I am also trying to connect with teachers here in the Montreal area who have taught sight impaired and blind children. So, if you are a teacher in the Montreal area who reads this, please email me.


David Melanson, frequent contributor to the Teachers.Net Gazette, has just self-published Integration: A Rewarding Experience, a manual for educators on the topic of working with sight-impaired students. As a sight-impaired person whose parents persisted in having their son placed in "regular" (public school) classrooms, David's experiences, perspective, and advice are particularly interesting and helpful. The manual is interesting and worthy of reading even if one does not currently have a sight-impaired student in class.

The cost in the U.S. is $10 plus $2 .45 for postage. In Canada: $15 Canadian plus $1 .45 postage. Money orders are preferred. To order the manual, contact Mr. Melanson by e-mail: melanson@teachers.net. Should you have difficulty reaching Dave directly, contact Kathleen Carpenter kathleen@teachers.net with "Melanson Manual" in the subject line.

To access monthly chats on the topic of working with sight-impaired students, moderated by David Melanson, visit the Teachers.Net Archives.

  • Working With Sight Impaired Students, April 24, 2002
  • Sight Impaired Students , January 17, 2002
  • Sight Impaired Students, December 12, 2001
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, October 23, 2001
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, August 6, 2001
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, July 19, 2001
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, May 7, 2001
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, February 15, 2001
  • Sight Impaired Students, January 17, 2001
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, December 6, 2000
  • Working With the Sight Impaired Students, Sept. 21, 2000
  • Accommodating the Visually Impaired Child, May 2, 2000
  • Integration Of Visually Impaired And Blind Students Into The Regular Schools, December 8, 1999

  • I have developed several audio tapes from previous seminars I have given on the topic of mainstreaming and integrating sight impaired children. I am willing to sell these tapes for $10 U.S. each. If there is any school district that is interested in purchasing a tape, please contact me:

    Email: melanson@teachers.net
    Postal Address:

      Dave Melanson
      702 Riverview Ave
      Verdun Quebec Canada H4H 2C1
     

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