Pragya Teacher Training At Tamil Nadu
Vision Empower conducted a Pragya Teacher Training workshop in collaboration with the Department of Special Education, Avinashilingam Institute for Home Science & Higher Education for Women in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu under the able guidance of Dr Victoria Naomi, Dean of Special Education, School of Education at the Institute.
The two-day training conducted on 24th and 25th August 2022 was attended by 25 teachers from 15 special schools in 13 districts of Tamil Nadu. The training aimed to equip the teachers of visual impairments with the proper knowledge and resources to make STEM education accessible and fun for students with visual impairments.
Teachers were introduced to several learning resources like tactile diagrams, braille books, Teacher Instruction Kits, and games through various hands-on activities and interactive sessions. for teaching science, mathematics and computational thinking concepts to the students.
Through the maths TIK session, teachers were trained to draw shapes and angles using the geometry kits. The VE Coordinators conducted activities using Jodo Gyan blocks, sticks and cups. They shared the current methodologies they use in teaching numerical geometry concepts to students with visual impairment and showed keen interest in implementing the new learnings. “We understood that spatial sense is very much important for a child to know before introducing geometry”, shared a teacher from the group.
Through the Science TIK Session, the teachers were taken through an experiential way of teaching the modules on ‘Plants’ and ‘Water’. Activities on science included a Nature walk, understanding using real plants and objects through experiments, introduction to VE’s resources like textbooks with tactile drawings, DIYs, models, etc. Both the days of the session were very interactive with teachers sharing their insights as well as understanding the need for an experimental learning approach using accessible learning resources.
During the session on Project VICT (Computational Thinking for Visually Impaired), the teachers engaged in playing various indoor games like Sequence, go fish, pallanguzhi, connect four, noughts and crosses, etc. and outdoor games like feely bag, treasure hunt, market, connect, etc. The VE coordinators highlighted the key learning areas of numeracy and computational thinking of each game being played.
The teachers were also trained to use Hexis- Refreshable Braille Device. Five reading samples in Tamil were created prior to this and uploaded on the Antara platform from which they were subsequently downloaded on each of the devices. The teachers were divided into groups of 4-6 and made to sit at separate tables. Then they were made to open the stories folder to navigate and read the downloaded content. This was followed by an Antara session where the groups were shown how content is created and uploaded on the platform. A sample story consisting just of the phrase ‘hello everyone was created then and there and uploaded on the platform.
Needless to say, the teachers had a great time learning and having fun. VE is excited to see how this will be forwarded to students with visual impairment in the special schools of 13 districts of Tamil Nadu.