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INCLUSIVE EDUCATION OF THE LOW VISION STUDENT:

TEACHERS’ PEDAGOGICAL CONDUCT

Maria Elisabete Rodrigues Freire Gasparetto (1)

Edméa Rita Temporini (2)

Keila Miriam Monteiro Carvalho (3)

Newton Kara–José (4)

  1. B. Education, Doctor in Medical Science, Professor: Rehabilitation Studies and Research Center-CEPRE / Medical School / Campinas State University.
  2. B. Public Health, Doctor in Public Health, Professor: Dept. of Ophthalmology of Medical School / São Paulo University and Campinas State University.
  3. M.D. Professor: Dept of Ophthalmology of  Medical School / Campinas State University.
  4. M.D. Professor: Dept. of Ophthalmology of Medical School / São Paulo University and Campinas State University.

  

ABSTRACT

This research aimed to check teachers’ conduct regarding their work on adapting materials and environmental adjustments at regular school. The study was a descriptive, analytical, and transversal type, conducted at 23 public schools in the county of Campinas / São Paulo / Brazil, covering the academic year of 1999 and a population of 68 teachers. A self-applied questionnaire, developed from an exploratory study, was used as the data-collecting instrument. Teaching average practice was 20.8 years while experience with low vision student averaged only 1.7 years. Nearly half of the teachers declared to work on a continuous adaptation of both materials (48.5%) and environmental conditions (44.1%). Only a third (32.4%) recognized a continuous use of other teaching resources or educational strategies. About pedagogical conduct on adaptation of materials and environment in the classroom it was observed significance with the variables: COURSE YEAR, availability of information to work with the student. As a conclusion, in order to guarantee effective inclusive education, it will be necessary to provide support teaching materials’ and to address to the school clear ophthalmological reports about the low vision students.


INTRODUCTION


The inclusion issue represents an innovation on the educational system, a principle that should be present to cover differences even among sighted students. Inclusion, more than educate low vision children in regular school, represents the move against segregation by the recognition of individualities.

            Education of the visually impaired to comply with the same goals to the non deficient children. It is imperative to use special but non-discriminatory ways and specific material, remembering that regular material are often inadequate even for the sighted students.  And last it is important to emphasize that educational work for the low vision children is to be oriented towards his capabilities and talent and not to what is lacking in him (GASPARETTO, et al. 1997).

Teacher’s participation in classroom will be more effective when feeling the importance to “look” at the student’s, respecting their diversity and from this being able to identify their needs.

Low vision may be defined as “a severe vision loss, which can’t be corrected either clinically or surgically non with conventional spectacles (CARVALHO et al, 1994). According to the WHO “the low vision subject has a visual functioning impairment even after treatment or refractional correction and has visual acuity bellow 6/18 (0,3) and down to light perception but uses or is potentially able to utilizes vision to plan or develop a task (WHO, 1993).

Causes of subnormal vision are congenital or acquired. Many visual functions may be in the subnormal vision individual and can be improved by using both optical and non-optical devices (GASPARETTO & KARA JOSÉ, 2000).

Experience shows that subnormal vision individuals have differences in their ability to use the vision. Visual ability is determined by the eye pathology but also by the performance in the use of vision (GASPARETTO, 1997).

The student bearing subnormal vision may show difficulties for near and far vision. CARVALHO et al. (1994) do recommend, wherever the possible, that a low vision student improves his visual performance through optical and non-optical aids. Those aids were developed to help low vision people to perform daily tasks using their visual residue providing therefore ways for personal independence (WHO, 1993).

Visual performance is greatly affected by several factors like medicines, stress, anxiety, environmental conditions, and also, low vision students don’t have static vision. In a study, HILL (1990) reports that children have distinct ways in the ability to use vision and those having low vision do not make a homogeneous group but what they have in common is their visual deficiency. The author then questioned whether teachers are adequately prepared to interpret special needs, able to adapt the school environment to meet their low vision students’ demands and know about aids and other material available?

Considering the above, a research was conducted aiming to check teacher’s behavior related to materials and environmental adaptations and use of pedagogical resources to teach for low vision students included into the regular class. The results are important information for planning interactive actions regarding effective inclusion of low vision students.

METHODS

The study was a descriptive, analytical and transversal type, developed using a self-applied questionnaire directed to the teachers of the fundamental, in the area of  Campinas (~1.000.000 people) São Paulo, Brazil, having low vision students in regular class, during the academic year (February - December) of 1999. In that period these were 84 teachers under those conditions at 23 schools.

The survey covered 68 teachers (81% of the whole group) because of several impediments that avoided contacting the remaining.

The following parameters about the teachers were investigated: age, time of teaching, specialized training on visual impairments, time working with low vision students, school level, availability of instructions to work with low vision students, degree of materials adaptation, environmental alterations and use of other educational resources and/or strategies.

The self-applied questionnaire was developed upon an exploratory survey conducted at neighboring towns, in order to establish the present instrument for data collection (PIOVESAN & TEMPORINI, 1995).

Data for the present work were collected from December 1999 to June 2000, thus after the academic year of 1999 ended.

Data were processed through the tool Epi Info version 6 (DEAN et AL. 1995). Descriptive (The SAS System for Windows, 1996) and analytical descriptions were processed using Chi-Square Test with significance level of  0.05 (CONOVER, 1971).

RESULTS

The survey covered 68 teachers of both sexes and results show ages ranging from 25 to 64 and average of 44,2 years. Time experience in teaching ranged from 5 to 46 and average of 20,8 years. Regarding special training 92,6% of the teachers declared none on visual deficiencies. Average time working with low vision students was 1,7 years. All the above data are summarized in Table I.

Regarding school level, 38,2% of teachers were working in classes from 1st   to 4th series and 44,2% from 5th to 8th series of the fundamental.

Only 44,1% declared to have received clinical/educational information on how to work with their students.

Classroom teacher’s pedagogical behaviors regarding the low vision student are in Table II. The frequency of materials adaptation indicates that 29,4% of the teachers declared to perform that sometimes while 22,1% never. Environmental alterations were done sometimes or never by 55,9% of the teachers.

Use of alternative materials or educational strategies were used sometimes buy 29,6% of the teachers and 38,2% never used that.

Table III shows actions regarding materials and environmental adaptations and the use of alternative educational resources or strategies. Higher incidence is for individual help (79,4%), followed by relocating student in the classroom and instructing the students to place objects closer to the eyes (66,2%). The least reported action (5,9%) was changing classroom illumination, natural or artificial.

Table IV shows the crossing results among data on adaptations and school level. It is seen that more actions were performed by teachers working with 1st to 4th series, mainly that regarding environmental modifications (p £ 0, 014).

Table V results from crossing data on adaptations and information received by teachers about how to work with their low vision students. The information resulted in a significant increase on the classroom adaptations (p £ 0, 020).

DISCUSSION

            Inspection of the results revealed teachers did recognize they are not prepared to properly work with low vision students. According to TEMPORINI (1988), the teachers seldom have adequate preparation on school children health. Several authors, GASPARETTO et al. (2001), GUERRESCHI et al. (2000), GAMA (1999), HILL (1990), even surveying well developed regions as Brazil, Italy, Canada and USA, detected the same kind of lack of preparation, when studying inclusive education.

It is important to stress that this survey demonstrated a very short time, average I year and 7 months, experienced by teachers working with low vision students. Here, this short experience can be explained by a large exchange of teachers among schools and the small number of inclusive low vision students (Table I).

Less than half (44,1%) declared to have received some kind of information on procedure to work with low vision students. It is supposed that the remaining 55,9% either uncovered the needs of their students through working with them or didn’t use any special procedure at the classroom. Therefore it is understandable the difficulties and conflicts experienced by the teachers at the classroom because more than half have no specific training of information about low vision students (GASPARETTO, 2001). The same situation was detected else were, as reported by MCLINDEN (1990).

The inclusion of a low vision student may require changes and adaptations on the teacher educational behavior regarding the whole environment at the classroom analysis of Table II reveals a significant number of teachers who do not perform those adaptations therefore it is conceivable to assume the existence of a great degree of difficulties for the students under those conditions which can lead to failure, frustration and school abandon.

Because teachers working at 1st to 4th series do remain longer with their students it is possible to infer that they have the opportunity to adapt educational behavior, materials and environment, most frequently compared to those working at 5th to 8th series. In fact, analyzing Table IV higher frequency is observed for teachers in the 1st to 4th series acting on environmental adaptations. Those adaptations refer to student location and illumination in the classroom (p£ 0, 014).

According to GEARHEART & WEISHAN (1980), teachers of the regular class are reluctant to relocate the low vision student in the room, as this would make him feel different. That’s because such action have to be done carefully along with general and individual advice.

Table IV shows that the teacher who received orientations performs most frequently the adaptation of material at the classroom (p£ 0, 020). As emphasized earlier, it is very important to provide information and training to the teacher having low vision students in the regular class.

Table III shows educational behavior of teachers, mainly that work individualized for the low vision. This procedure is of utmost importance because helps to ease those special difficulties present in the low vision student and also helps the management at the students’ visual performance.

Considering the use of other educational resources, only a little of the teachers declared to use games for teaching strategies. Here it is important to reinforce that specific need from the low vision students can be cared for by special educational strategies which is dependant largely on the teachers’ creativity.

CONCLUSION

The education of an individual bearing impairment within the regular class is a recent conquest. Large efforts are being dedicated to offer equal opportunities but there is a lot to do. This change implies challenges and actions that take long to be established and the adequate qualify of teachers is one of the main tasks.

Success of educational inclusion of the low vision individuals will largely be dependant on the changes in the educational practice dedicated do supply the special needs of these students.

To assume effective inclusion, an adequate and specially tailored program for qualify teachers must be established. Also a detailed ophthalmological report about the low vision student has to be produced and provided to the school.        

REFERENCES

CARVALHO, K.M.M; GASPARETTO, M.E.R.F; VENTURINI; N.H.B., KARA-JOSÉ, N.- Visão Subnormal: Orientações ao Professor do Ensino Regular. Campinas, UNICAMP, 1994. 48 p.

CONOVER, W.J. – Practical Non parametric statistics. USA. John Wiley & Sons. Inc., 1971. 462p.

DEAN, A.G.; DEAN, J.A.; COULOMBIER, D.; BRENDEL, K.A.; SMITH, D.C.; BURTON, A.H.; DICKER, R.C.; SULLIVAN, K.; FAGAN, R.F.; ARNER, T.G. – Epi-info: a word processing, database and statistics program for public health, versão 6.04b. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC). Atlanta, 1997. 607p.

GAMA, A.S. – Avaliação da educação inclusiva de deficientes visuais nas escolas municipais de 1a a 4a séries das cidades de Campinas/ SP e Recife/ PE. São Paulo, 1999 [Tese – Mestrado – Universidade de São Paulo]

GASPARETTO, M.E.R.F. – Visão subnormal em escolas públicas: conhecimentos, opinião e conduta de professores e diretores do ensino fundamental. Campinas, 2001.  [ Tese – Doutorado - Universidade Estadual de Campinas]

GASPARETTO, M.E.R.F. – A criança com baixa visão e o desempenho escolar: caracterização do uso do resíduo visual. Campinas, 1997.  [ Tese – Mestrado - Universidade Estadual de Campinas]

GASPARETTO, M.E.R.F.; TEMPORINI, E.R.; CARVALHO K.M.M.; KARA-JOSÉ, N. – O aluno portador de visão subnormal na escola regular: desafio para o professor? Arq. Bras. Oftalmol., 64:45-51, 2001.

GASPARETTO, M.E.R.F. & KARA-JOSÉ, N. – Entendendo a baixa visão: orientação aos pais. Ministério da Educação. Secretaria de Educação Especial. Brasília, 2000. 36p.

GASPARETTO, M.E.R.F.; CARVALHO, K.M.M.; KARA-JOSÉ, N. –  Mainstream of low vision children in regular school.  In:  Xth WORLD CONFERENCE OF INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR EDUCATION OF PEOPLE WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENT,  São Paulo, 1997. Anais.  São Paulo, 1997.  (em disquete)

GEARHEART, B.R. & WEISHAHN, M. W. – Strategies and alternatives for educating the visually impaired. In:_____________ – The handicapped student in the regular classroom. 2. ed. USA,  The C.V. Mosby Company, 1980.  p.67-89.

GUERRESCHI, M.; POGGI, G.; COLOMBO, E.; SCOTTI, G.; CASTELLI, E.  – The education of low vision children: our experience in Italy. In: STUEN, C.;  ARDITI, A;  HOROWITZ, A., LANG, M.A.; ROSENTHAL, B.;  SEIDMAN,  K.R.; (edit.) – Vision Rehabilitation: Assessment, Intervention and Outcomes. New York: Swets & Zeitlinger Publishers, 2000.  p.464-67.

HILL, J.L. –  Mainstreaming visually impaired children: The need for modifications. J. Visual Impairm. & Blindness,  84:354-60, 1990.

MCLINDEN, D.J. – Beliefs about effective education among teachers of visually impaired children.  J. Visual Impairm. & Blindness, 84:465-69, 1990.

PIOVESAN, A. & TEMPORINI, E. R. – Pesquisa exploratória: procedimento metodológico para o estudo de fatores humanos no campo da saúde pública. Rev. Saúde Pública29(4):318-25, 1995.

TEMPORINI, E. R. – Percepção de professores do sistema de ensino do Estado de São Paulo sobre seu preparo em saúde do escolar. Rev. Saúde Pública, 22(5):411-21, 1988.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION – Management of low vision in children. In: WHO CONSULTATION, BANGKOK, 1992. Annals. Bangkok, 1993. 47p. (WHO/PBL/93.27)

Table I: Teaching experience and qualify on visual deficiency regarding the work with low vision students. Campinas, SP, Brazil, 1999.                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                               n = 68                                               

Teaching Experience

 

      

                                      f                    %

 

 

 

Years

 

 

 5  -  10                             

 

                                      9                  13,2                                        

 

11 -  20                             

 

                                    30                  44,1

 

21 -  30                            

 

                                    20                  29,5

 

31 -  46                            

 

                                      9                  13,2 

 

                                                 x = 20,8 years

 

Teaching experience with low vision students

               Years

 

 

 £  1

 

                                    44                  64,7

 

  [ 2 – 4 [

 

                                    18                  26,5 

 

  [ 4 – 11 ]

 

                                      6                    8,8

 

  

                                           x = 1,7 years 

 

 

Qualify on visual deficiency

 

 

None

 

                                    63                  92,6

 

Graduate   level course

 

                                      3                    4,4

 

Continued education

 

                                     1                     1,5

 

 Training

 

                                     1                     1,5

 

 

Table II: The behavior of teacher direct to the low vision student. Campinas, SP, Brazil, 1999.                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                  n = 68 

Behavior

 

  Always do  (2)

 

     f                   %

 

 

 Sometimes do  (1)

      f                 %     

 

Never do  (0)

    F               %     

 

 

 

 

 

 

Materials adaptations

 

 33               48,5

 

    20              29,4

 

  15             22,1

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental changes

 

 30               44,1   

 

    13               19,1

 

  25             36,8

 

 

 

 

 

Use of alternative educational resources and or strategies/

 

 22               32,4

 

    20               29,4

 

  26              38,2

 
         

Table III:  The behavior of teachers regarding the adaptations of materials and environment and use of alternative educational resources and/or strategies, directed to the low vision student. Campinas, SP, Brazil,1999.                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                        n = 68 

      

Behavior*

 

f                         %

 

 

Direct help

 

54                       79,4

 

Student relocation at the classroom

 

45                       66,2

 

Guidance for placing materials close to the eyes

 

45                       66,2

 

Materials magnification

 

39                       57,4

 

Use of contrasts

 

17                       25,0

 

Use of games as alternative materials

 

17                       25,0

 

Change of environmental illumination

 

4                         5,9

 

(*) multiple answers

 

 

Table IV: The behavior of teachers regarding the frequency of environmental changes as related to the school series taught. Campinas, SP. Brazil, 1999.

                                                                                                                 n = 68

School

series

taught

 

Environmental changes

 

 

 

 

Always do

 

Sometimes do

 

Never do

 

Total

 

 

f

 

%

 

f

 

%

 

f

 

%

 

f             %

 

1a  -  4a

 

16

 

55,2

 

8

 

27,6

 

5

 

17,2

 

      29

 

     100,0

 

5a  -  8a

 

14

 

35,9

 

5

 

12,8

 

20

 

51,3

 

      39

 

     100,0

 

Chi-Square Test           GL  2        p £ 0, 014

 

 
                       

Table V: The behavior of teachers, who received information about how to work with low vision student, regarding the frequency of materials adaptations. Campinas, SP. Brazil, 1999.

                                                                                                            n = 68

Received information

 

Materials adaptations

 

 

 

Always do

 

Sometimes do

 

Never do

 

Total

 

 

f

 

%

 

f

 

%

 

f

 

%

 

f            %

 

Yes

 

20

 

66,67

 

7

 

23,33

 

3

 

10,00

 

30

 

100,0

 

No

 

13

 

34,21

 

13

 

34,21

 

12

 

31,58

 

38

 

100,0

 

     Chi-Square Test           GL  2        p £ 0, 020

 

 
                   


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