Enlightening education: inspiring projects for blind and visually impaired students

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By Andrea Buring
Enlightening education: inspiring projects for blind and visually impaired students

Blind and visually-impaired people have long had to overcome challenges in education, as they do in many aspects of life. The World Health Organization says there are some 280 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted and their access to education is often restricted. In this edition of Learning World Maha Barada presents three stories about innovative learning projects adapted to meet the needs of people with vision problems.

Brazil: in touch with ballet

Becoming a ballet dancer would, at first, seem an impossible dream for blind people. But that perception has been proved wrong by a dance teacher in Rio de Janeiro whose school caters for blind or partially sighted people of all ages. Her method is based on close physical contact and sound cues, allowing the students to make the most of the other senses. As we see in this story it is an uplifting and emotional experience for the dancers and their teacher.

USA: feel the beat

Beatboxing is a highly technical vocal skill that has made its way form the street to the class at a school for the blind in the Bronx, New York. The ‘beatboxer’ primarily mimics the sounds of drums using just the voice, blending it with backing tracks or other vocals. The beatboxing class at Lavelle School is hugely popular with students. The teachers say it allows them to express themselves in a new, exciting way and helps the more reticent students come out of their shells.

Cambodia: Phalla Neang

Phalla Neang is a pioneering teacher of the blind in Cambodia, a country where people with disabilities are often marginalised in society. In this story we meet the inspiring educator, who was nominated for a top global teaching award, and some of her students. Her classes have given her young learners a sense of fulfillment and the hope of finding a job in later life, to the extent that they no longer feel like outcasts.

A hero's welcome home! Arriving home, top 10 #TeacherPrize finalist Phalla Neang has been welcomed as a national hero by...

Posted by Global Teacher Prize on Saturday, 21 March 2015

Watch the video to see these stories in full.