A Different Way of Teaching

Traditionally, orientation and mobility instruction is offered on a one-to-one basis. Students at CSB generally receive this individual instruction on and/or off campus. However, the O&M staff at CSB has found many benefits to teaching small groups or pairing students. Some rationale are:

  • Allowing students to learn from each other
  • Allowing students to serve as role models for younger or less experienced students
  • Showing students that others have questions, fears, concerns or challenges related to learning O&M skills and concepts
  • Changing the emphasis from a strict lesson to a fun outing
  • Giving students the chance to take turns and practice language skills
  • The opportunity to see students in a different setting and with a different dynamic
  • The opportunity for teachers working together to learn from each other

At CSB, group lessons are conducted in a variety of manners. Examples are:

  • Classroom field trips: use of O&M skills for transit related field trips or for culminating activity after one or more students masters a particular trip or skill
  • Preschool, primary or transdisciplinary classes that benefit from use of O&M skills in real settings at real times
  • Extended school year: reduced staff and shortened school day dictates group lessons
  • Seminars: short term classes held to address a particular topic, such as “friend, stranger, acquaintance”

Examples of Extended School Year themes that have been offered are:

  • Service learning projects
  • Mobility Mentors
  • How driving rules affect visually impaired teens
  • Comparison of various forms of transit in terms of preparation, cost, time and skills
  • The Price is Right: comparison shopping, use of customer assistance, internet, phone to get prices
  • Preparation of a power point project to increase awareness of needs of visually impaired travelers for transit operators
  • Auditory and tactile scavenger hunts
  • Party Time: the mechanics of planning a party, shopping for the party, delivering invitations, conversation, clean-up
  • Swap Directions: Students are separated into 2 groups. Each group plans a trip for the other group, keeping the destination a secret. Students need to plan the transit route in the reading mediums needed (Braille, large print, tape) and do a dry run of the trip. Students get to evaluate the effectiveness of the directions they were given.

Small group lessons or having students paired for lessons can be fun and can be a truly effective means of applying skills, evaluating students’ learning and learning from each other.