The role of the resource teacher vision


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The role of the resource teacher vision

  1. 1. The Role of the Resource Teacher Vision
  2. 2. Background to this presentation This presentation was created after interviewing: • 2 x Senior RTVs (25 yrs and 8 yrs experience) • 1 x RTV (7 yrs) • 3 x Managers of Visual Resource Centers (5 yrs, 7 yrs and 8 yrs experience) • 1 x Orientation & Mobility Instructor (7 yrs experience) • 1 x Specialist Consultant in Complex Needs Education (20 yrs experience)
  3. 3. What is a Resource Teacher of Vision? A specialist teacher who assists students who are blind or have a vision impairment. They work closely with parents, teachers and other specialists to help students prepare for, start and settle into an early childhood service or school. They continue the support throughout school and the assist in the transition to life beyond the classroom. Their focus is upon: EQUITY ACCESS INCLUSION
  4. 4. “As Resource Teachers of Vision we follow a child‟s journey through life. We‟re very privileged in that way…” RTV, 2013
  5. 5. The Child is at the centre of all we do… We begin by meeting the child, and the whanau. Gathering information about their observations and experiences, what they have found works (or not!) and ascertaining their hopes and aspirations for the future. We strongly believe in a whanau-centric approach to service delivery; by supporting the family, we support the child. Our main aim is to improve the child‟s ability to learn and access the curriculum, so they can meet their potential. This involves… Working closely with teachers to upskill, plan activities and adapt their teaching methods to maximise access to direct & indirect learning opportunities. Identifying and setting up technology and, equipment within the classroom/school environment to allow maximum participation and independence. Planning an liaising with a variety of professionals (e.g O&M, ADL, PT, SLT) to allow access to the Expanded Core Curriculum. Working closely with families and children one to one to support their learning, teach independence skills and specialist skills such as how to read alternative formats Finding, adapting and providing resources to meet the special (tactile) needs of students.
  6. 6. “It is important to remember that the parents and whanau are the prime educators in their child‟s learning and they are at the centre of all collaboration…” RTV, 2013
  7. 7. Cultural Responsiveness & Effective Practice  An understanding of the concept and role of culture  Recognising your own cultural values, practices and beliefs  Understanding the concepts of biculturalism and multiculturalism
  8. 8. The BLENNZ Culture The Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ employs approximate 125 Specialist Teachers who are based in 12 main centres. BLENNZ is working hard to overcome the geographical distance to create a common culture across the organisation, which is supportive of all our students, families, staff and interdisciplinary colleagues.
  9. 9. The culture within the BLENNZ Community of Practice
  10. 10. Cultural Responsiveness RTVs promote equitable learning outcomes for all our learners, within Aotearoa‟s increasingly multicultural population. This means that that RTVs put considerable time into professional development to become aware of and gain knowledge/understanding of, as well as respect for, the different languages, heritages and cultural expectations of our students and their whānau. The special place of tangata whenua within Aotearoa is recognised in all decisions made by BLENNZ which in turn, influences the daily work of RTVs nationwide. Collaboration with Ngati Kapo o Aotearoa and other specialist groups such as local iwi , marae and group such as Te Whanau o Homai is a vital component of all strategic documents and planning. Time is allocated each term to up-skill staff in te reo, tikanga, the history/principals of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and current Maori Achievement policy documents such as Ka Hikitia.
  11. 11. Examples of supports for cultural responsiveness Partnership Protection Participation • Blennz work in partnership with Ngāti Kapō o Aotearoa and local kaumatua and Marae when creating all planning documents; inviting them to all events. • Blennz supports Te Whānau o Homai and seeks their input into policy making. • Students from Blennz Homai campus & satellite classes visit local Marae to form links and reinforce their learning of te reo. • Assessments, resources and translations in Te Reo (which are appropriate to iwi preferences) are provided for Maori learners, whanau and schools. • All RTVs aim to develop and maintain a sense of manaakitanga in the classroom and their communities of practice. • Hui/IEP are based on Hauora Māori concepts to allow Whānau to feel more comfortable. • RTVs are encouraged and expected to undertake PD in Te Tiriti, te reo and tikanga annually – this includes training on the history of Te Tiriti, Ka Hikitia implementation & biweekly waiata practice.
  12. 12. “…it is often taking a step back and gaining a better understanding of a family‟s story [and culture] before we leap in and make decisions [which] can often give us a better richness to assist us with what we are trying to achieve, which is successful outcomes for all learners” VRC Co-ordinator, 2013
  13. 13. Contextualised Practice  Historical and current perspectives on special education, inclusive education, disability and diversity  Knowledge of human development and learning theory  Legislation, policy and curriculum documents
  14. 14. History of Service Delivery In the past students with a vision impairment were encouraged into special schools run by the Foundation of the Blind in Parnell and Homai. Overtime, there was a worldwide theoretical shift and a move towards inclusion occurred within New Zealand. The increase in „mainstreaming‟ resulted in the need for a greater number of RTVs to work with students in their new school settings and to liaise between teachers who were insufficiently trained in special needs, student‟s families and other specialist support staff. The RTV became the key advocate of the vision impaired learner. The streamlining of services and collaboration between BLENNZ and the RNZFB is still occurring. The specialist teacher component of ORS funding has been transferred to BLENNZ, as have much of the Orientation and Mobility services provision. Considerations now focus on teacher aide resourcing and other funding, which would see RTV‟s role become even wider, effectively becoming a true „jack of all trades‟ and lynchpin in all transdisciplinary teams.
  15. 15. Inclusive Practice A major part of the RTV role is promoting and facilitating inclusive education. This means that we encourage others to value all students in all aspects of school and identify/remove barriers to their participating and achievement. We encourage educators to find ways to allow students to take part in all aspects of education alongside their peers, whilst ensuring that their individual learning needs are addressed. A large part of this is strengths based practice. Research such as that by Joy Zobala on SETT alongside studies into the physical and technological utility of universal design indicate that inclusive education best supports learners if there are enough resources, support and professional development provided – at present this is inconsistent across schools so in some instances students can better access resources/support in non-inclusive settings e.g. special schools for deaf-blind students. Views on non-inclusive settings are mixed. Many suggest that the way forward is to not focus on the promotion of inclusion, but rather focus on engagement instead because if “a child is included they are engaged, when they are engaged they are learning” (Specialist Consultant on Complex Needs, 2013)
  16. 16. Enablers & Barriers for Inclusive Education Enablers for Inclusive Education Barriers for Inclusive Education • BLENNZ‟s increasing profile which allows for the creation and promotion of strong and successful supportive connections between the student, whānau, school and other professionals. • Ensuring the teacher/peers look at the student first before their disability. • Changing the attitudes of teachers/school leaders through mentoring and professional development which is underpinned by educational research and evidence based practice. • Fostering positive attitudes towards high expectations and achievement for vision impaired students. • Providing support for meaningful assessment. • Providing culturally responsive teaching for students. • The team need to include issues around inclusion in IEPs and when planning classroom programmes. • Negative school culture and organisation • Deficit thinking and attitudes including categorising/labelling students which emphasises difference and defines students by their disability. • Classroom teachers time-poor, limited time to meet with RTVS, discuss and plan for students needs. • Lack of teacher training/on-going professional development • Schools unwilling to pay for teacher aide professional development/release time • Lack of resources and time to create them. • Teachers passing responsibility for adapted teaching programs to teacher aide and spending too much time working in withdrawal from the classroom • Geographical location can make it difficult for students to access services and teachers to access support.
  17. 17. What does an RTV need to know and do? Role Assessment Teaching Professional Development Administration The role of the RTV is a mix of hands on, flexible teaching, problem solving, administration and liaising with a wide range of people involved with the student. Stewart, 2013
  18. 18. What skills and knowledge do RTVs have?  knowledge of normal and delayed child development  knowledge of blindness and vision impairment  skill in managing blindness and vision needs in a variety of settings  knowledge of psychology and education theory and child development  knowledge of community and family support services  excellent communication, teaching, research, planning and administration skills.
  19. 19. One of the job‟s challenges is to change people‟s perceptions of what blind and low vision children can do…” RTV, 2013
  20. 20. Knowledge of Learner Development Project Prism‟s research suggests that whilst there is some delay in the achievement of childhood milestones for those with a visual impairment, those who are receiving services/support may have less of a impact than initially believed. They seem to be losing 1/10th of a month per month as they age up to 3 years. Findings suggest that the degree of visual disability is not the issue in a visually impaired child’s development, rather the way we teach the skills and overcome deficit thinking – this is the message that RTVs share with others. Ferrell, 2013
  21. 21. Project Prism‟s findings support many of the theories of learning and development which guide the work of RTVs, including: • Lev Vygotsky‟s socio-cultural theory • Lillli Neilson‟s Active Learning theory • Jan van Dyke‟s Child-Guided Assessment theory These are then combined with a variety of other educational and cultural-guiding documents to determine policy and evidence-based practice: • Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success • Pasifika Education Plan • Tātaiako: Cultural competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners • BLENNZ Maori Strategy Plan 2013 • Te Whariki: Early Childhood Curriculum, The New Zealand Curriculum Framework and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. We are also strongly guided by an informal skills based program known as „The Expanded Core Curriculum‟.
  22. 22. Expanded Core Curriculum The Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) facilitates access to the New Zealand Curriculum for students who have a vision impairment. It teaches specific skills required to access the curriculum and aspects of daily life, which sighted students may learn through indirect methods. There are 7 key areas of the ECC, these are:
  23. 23. The most visible aspect of this can be seen through the creation of alternative formats creation, through the RNZFB Library, and specialist teaching of Braille. It also includes speaking and listening skills and concept development. Communication Modes To see an example of this click here
  24. 24. “Availability does not always mean accessibility….” Boguslaw Marek, 2013
  25. 25. Development of Visual Efficiency Skills This may include the completion of a Functional Vision Assessment, Learning Media Assessment, Visual Environmental audit/adaptations and specific Visual Efficiency Skills training. This may include specific training on using optical aides, using augmentative/alternative communication devices and maximising the residual vision that they possess.
  26. 26. Physical Abilities This includes skills required for students to enjoy physical and leisure-time activities. Most often this involves strategies and recommended teaching adaptations to allow students to actively participate in physical and social activities, following rules in games and maintaining their safety when undertaking PE (especially team sports and fast ball games). Equipment Image Preferred colour in shade Preferred colour in direct sunlight (on concrete) Preferred colour on grass Other environments Square based cones Orange Yellow Yellow - Round flat cones Yellow Red Yellow - Soccer Ball Blue Blue Blue - Ping Pong Paddle Red Red Red Hula Hoop - Blue or Green Blue or Green Red Hall: Blue or Green
  27. 27. Developmental Orientation and Mobility “Orientation and Mobility is about knowing where you are, where you are going and getting there safely” Arrian, 2013 O&M is not just cane skills, it also includes: Concept Development – body and spatial awareness, positional and directional concepts, environmental and object knowledge etc. Motor Development – movement, gross and fine motor skills, balance, posture and gait Sensory Development – tactile, aural/echo location, smell, temperature, kinesthetic, proprioception, haptic etc Social Skills – interacting with others, body language, soliciting or refusing assistance, personal safety Mobility Skills – guiding techniques, self protective and positional techniques, use of mobility devices and canes. To find out more about O&M click here To see an example of this click here
  28. 28. Social Skills Social skills are learned through visual observation, imitation, experiential learning and play. Students who have a vision impairment at an early age tend to miss out on many of these learning opportunities unless they are directly guided and encouraged to physically explore the world around them. (Sacks & Silberman, 2000) Because visually impaired students may have a decreased understanding of the context of social interactions and an inability to read non-verbal cues, their ability to choose appropriate initiation or responses can be compromised which then has flow on effects in their relationships with others. Therefore it is vital that visually impaired students are directly guided in the five elements of social behaviour: Sharing Turn-taking Joining groups Participating in groups Acceptance of others‟ opinions (Palmer, 2013) Parents and professionals need to work together to develop these social behaviour strategies, so that eventually they become part of the child‟s natural behaviour and interaction.
  29. 29. Living Skills These are specific daily living skills which are taught to allow the student to function as independently as possible at school and at home. It may include areas such as: • Personal hygiene and grooming • Time management, goal setting etc • Cooking and cleaning • Money Management • Career planning, responsibilities, job experience To see an example of tertiary transitioning click here To see an example of daily living skills click here
  30. 30. Technology Recordable Voice Labels This involves teaching how to use and maximise devices such as computers, tablets, speech software, daisy readers and other equipment such as labellers to make it easier to function at home and school. A lot of access to braille comes in electronic format and therefore it is vital for students to be digitally literate if they are to engage with their academic potential. Similarly, for those with a minor visual impairment, learning skills such as touch-typing allow for maximised use of equipment and prepares them better for employment once they leave school. To see an example of this click here
  31. 31. “I keep telling one of my students that he‟s going to be a taxpayer. That‟s the aim for all our students…its another way of saying that we want them to be part of society and to be independent.” RTV, 2013
  32. 32. Professional Learning & Identity Development  Digital literacies  Social Learning Networks  Well-being approaches  Academic Learning
  33. 33. RTVs need to be digitally literate and willing to constantly up-skill, to ensure they are up to date with current assistive technology and accessibility options . New Zealand has a small number of RTVs servicing a small population of vision impaired learners. BLENNZ staff are working hard to share dialogue and offer assistance, allowing geographically isolated RTVs to access the knowledge, skills and resources of RTVs nationwide. This need is met through 2 online resources: The BLENNZ Development site – a closed group for staff, to allow internal knowledge sharing, problem solving, dialogue. The BLENNZ Learning Library – a public site, sharing real stories about learning and assessments. To access new theories, research and evidence based techniques, global networking, particularly online is essential. RTVs rely heavily on the work of The Texas School for the Blind, Perkins Institute and others, but are increasingly receiving feedback that BLENNZ online contributions through the Learning Library are being utilised by professionals overseas for their own up- skilling and course material…therefore, NZ RTVs are contributing to an international dialogue.
  34. 34. The BLENNZ Learning Library A public site, sharing real stories about learning and assessments for students aged 0-21 in all educational settings. Stories are divided into age groups and key competencies, covering both the Core and Expanded Core Curriculum.
  35. 35. How do RTV’s upskill their knowledge? Completing the ESVI/ Postgraduate Diploma Sharing ideas/dialogue on the BLENNZ Development Site Utilising the BLENNZ Communities of Practice and knowledge of my colleagues Attending fortnightly PD sessions at VRC meetings Reviewing best practice on the BLENNZ Learning Stories Site Attending the biannual SPEVI conference Searching online at sites such as Ted Talks Attending conferences such as Ulearn & The BLENNZ Tech Expo
  36. 36. Ethical and Reflective Practice  Becoming an ethical and reflective practitioner  Codes of Practice
  37. 37. RTVs are guided by several codes of ethics and guiding principals, these include: Teachers code Spevi Principals Ethics are extremely important for RTVs because their role means they are always in someone elses‟ space (i.e classroom, home etc.) They are also privy to a lot of personal information about students and family dynamics that other teachers and professionals do not have access to. By working in both the home and school, we can be placed in very vulnerable situations so RTVs need to be very clear about their ethical and professional boundaries.
  38. 38. What does this mean in practice? Autonomy – treating people with rights that are to be honoured and defended Justice – sharing the power and preventing its abuse Responsibility - caring, doing „good‟ and minimising harm to others Truthfulness – being honest with others and self Respect – for the student, family and other professionals, also respecting the special rights endowed by Te Tiriti o Waitangi. When reflecting upon our effectiveness, we consider 4 main areas: Commitment to the learner Commitment to society Commitment to the parents and whanau Commitment to the teaching profession
  39. 39. Inter-professional and Evidence Based Practice  Sharing professional knowledge and skills  Reflecting on and contributing to communities of learning and practice  Knowledge of evidence based and effective teaching and learning practices
  40. 40. Interprofessional Practice RTVS work with a wide range of people, some of these include: • Student • Whānau • Classroom Teacher • Teacher Aide • Senco • Principal • Accounts/Financial Staff • Reading Recovery Teacher • Librarian • BLENNZ National Assessment Team Members • GSE • MOE Technology Co- ordinator • NZQA • Resource Teacher Learning & Behaviour • Resource Teacher Deaf • RNZFB Social Workers • CYFs • RNZFB Alternative Formats Library staff & transcribers • Opthalomologist • Optician • Orientation & Mobility Instructor • Paediatrician • Occupational Therapist • Speech Language Therapist • Physical Therapist • Music Therapist • Audiologist
  41. 41. What does this look like? Sharing knowledge of simple adaptations – using a yellow high vis ball for sports. Providing professional development/formal training to teaching staff
  42. 42. What does this look like? Collaborating at IEPs, progress meetings, on ORS and Assistive Technology applications. Working beyond the classroom/ home collaboratively on O&M programs, attending medical clinics etc.
  43. 43. Professional Practice  Knowledge of assessment models and practices  Comparing assessment practices across specialist areas  Knowledge of assistive technologies
  44. 44. Assessment To raise student achievement, RTVs must ensure that they are facilitating and utilising effective assessment. There are a variety of different types of assessment which we deal with on a daily basis, these include: Medical and Visual Assessment Academic Assessment Informal (observational) and Functional (Daily Living) Assessment • Opthalmology/ Opticician reports • Functional Vision Assessments • Paediatrician Reports • OT/SL/PT etc Assessment Summaries • National Assessment Team Weekly Assessment • Running Records, STAR • Probe, IKAN • AsTTle, PATs • Burt • Orientation and Mobility Reports • Technology Assessments • Learning Media Assessments • Classroom/home observations • Discussions with student, whānau, teachers and others involved in the child‟s life • Oregon Project
  45. 45. Functional Vision Assessments Assistive Technology Trials (low & high tech)
  46. 46. Summary: What does an RTV do? Support the student and whanau at home and in the school Work collaboratively with a range of professionals Planning goals through IEPs Advocate for the unique needs of learners and families of those with a vision impairment. Assist the student to access the curriculum through alternative formats/environments & modified resources Support transitions across educational settings and from school to post-school life Give objective, accurate feedback verbally and in written form. Apply for Assistive technology and ORS Participate in trans- disciplinary assessment and planning. Facilitate professional development courses for individuals and schools on vision impairments and inclusive practices
  47. 47. References Arrian, S (2013) Teaming O & M and Teaching, Powerpoint Presentation], 2013 SPEVI Conference, Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland, 14 January 2013 Ferrell, K (2013), Longitudinal Study of the Development of Children with Visual Impairment, Powerpoint Presentation], 2013 SPEVI Conference, Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland, 13 January 2013 Higgins, N. and Stobbs, K (2013), Improving educational services for kapo Maori: What does our research suggest [Powerpoint Presentation], 2013 SPEVI Conference, Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland, 17 January 2013 Marek, B (2013), From a tactile graphics primer to confident use of raised drawings, maps and diagrams [Presentation Notes], 2013 SPEVI Conference, Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland, 14 January 2013. Ministry of Education (2012), Working in Special Education: Resource Teacher of Vision, Ministry of Education, Wellington. Palmer, C (2013) Social Behaviour: Developing skills and reducing difference [Powerpoint Presentation], 2013 SPEVI Conference, Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland, 17 January 2013
  48. 48. References Perzylo, N (2013), The Penfriend: Not just your ordinary voice labeller, [Powerpoint Presentation], 2013 SPEVI Conference, Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland, 16 January 2013. . Sacks, S.Z., & Silberman, R.K. (2000). Social skills. In A.J. Koenig & M. C. Holbrook, Foundations of Education, 2nd edn. Volume 11: Instructional strategies for teaching children and youths with visual impairments. New York: American Foundation for the Blind. Stewart, N (2013) The Role of the Resource Teacher of Vision [Powerpoint], presented at the BLENNZ Low Vision Inservice Day, Homai Campus, Auckland. Story, M. (1998) The Universal Design File: Designing for People of All Ages and Abilities, North Carolina, USA, NC State University Press. Zabala, J.S (2005)Using the SETT Framework to Level the Learning Field for Students with Disabilities, retrieved from
  49. 49. Images: All images in this presentation were taken by Aimee Peterken throughout 2012-2-13 unless specifically stated below. Slide 5: Left image: Unknown Author (2009) Child reading braille [image] retrieved from Parent of a Child with Albinism, content/uploads/new-photos/dsc04575sm.jpg Slide 29: Heck, J.D (2010) Pouring into a cup [image] retrieved from Lighthouse for the Blind Verbal permissions received from all parents of children shown in this presentation.