Turning a Blind Eye? Removing Barriers to Science and Mathematics Education for Students With Visual Impairments.

Cicely Hayes, Michael Proulx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

With complex, visual concepts prevailing in science and mathematics curricula, these subjects are often inaccessible to students with visual impairments, leading to their underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. Whilst researchers have identified strategies that can facilitate students with visual impairments (VI) learning within special schools, less is known about how students with VI access science and mathematics within a mainstream context, even though this is where the majority are educated. This seems important to address given the additional barriers students with VI face within mainstream schools, including negative attitudes from mainstream teachers. Consequently, the current study was conducted to explore how students with VI access to and learning of science and mathematics can be improved within the mainstream context. Two interviews were conducted with qualified teachers of children and young people with vision impairment (QTVIs), revealing the importance of classroom adaptations, such as hands-on experience and increased lesson time, to facilitate students with VI learning of science and mathematics. These findings are discussed in relation to policy and practice, suggesting mainstream teachers should be trained to make small but effective adaptations in their teaching, and that students with VI are given the opportunity to learn skills needed to become independent learners.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Visual Impairment
DOIs
Publication statusAcceptance date - 14 Dec 2022

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