How to Teach Braille?

Louis Braille formulated the Braille system in 1824. The 15-year-old French boy was blind himself. He developed this system of reading and writing for the blind. The system allows the blind or partially sighted to read with the help of touching raised dots.

Braille – The Language

Louis Braille formulated the Braille system in 1824. The 15-year-old French boy was blind himself. He developed this system of reading and writing for the blind. The system allows the blind or partially sighted to read with the help of touching raised dots.

This system helps the blind read numbers, alphabets, and punctuation marks. The Braille cell consists of six dots in a rectangle and are referred to by the number as per their position in the cell. The first ten alphabets represent numbers that are preceded by the numerical. For example, number ‘2’ is the sign written along with the alphabet ‘b’.

This language for the poor can be written mechanically and by hand. The Braille writing machine serves the purpose of a normal typewriter. This machine has only six keys and a space bar. Various combinations of keys need to be inserted to generate dots in the Braille cell. Many softwares are available to convert text to Braille with the helps of embossing devices. To write Braille by hand, a slate and stylus are required. The stylus is used to push the dots through the paper while the slate serves the purpose of a guide.

Teaching Braille

Special training needs to be given to teachers and parents who would be teaching Braille to people with visual limitations. Many adaptive technologies are available to assist the visually disabled. Moreover, many twin version books that contain both print and Braille are being written.

Teaching Braille is definitely not an easy task. However, if taught at an early age, it is not as difficult as what it would be for an adult. For young children, learning the Braille is just learning to read print. They need to learn the meaning of symbols and how when put together, they form various words and sentences.

To teach Braille to young students, use pretty much the same methods that are used to teach print to other child. However, some small modifications would have to be made. It is best to choose the method and pace that, the person is comfortable with.

According to a paper by Harley, Henderson, and Truan, there are twelve thinking processes involved in reading.[1] These processes are critical to structure an understanding of what is being read.

  • Discovering the main theme with supportive ideas,
  • Recognizing a sequence of events,
  • Predicting outcomes and anticipating reactions
  • Retaining details from material of high concept density,
  • Recognizing stated or implied cause and effect,
  • Recognizing pivotal words that act like cues to sequence, cause, and effect,
  • Distinguishing between fact and opinion,
  • Appreciating meanings expressed by various words,
  • Accessing values and exercising judgement,
  • Evaluating sources of information,
  • Adjusting listening patterns,
  • Selecting and summarizing material.

Methods for Teaching Braille

The four methods mentioned in the article have been specified in a paper by Blake. [1]

Basal Reader: This traditional teaching method has helped many visually impaired students. This basal reader helps sequencing presentation of skills. The disadvantage of using this teaching method is that the method heavily relies on pictures and its lack of consideration of difficulty of Braille contractions.

Patterns: This method was developed by the American Printing House for the Blind to represent elements of the Braille code in a sequential manner that focused in the experience and the need of these students. Using the patterns method is advantageous for the blind. However, the disadvantages include the need of a teacher on a regular basis. Students cannot learn the Braille independently.

Whole Language: This method has become quiet popular recently. The method involves less usage of the basal reader and more of real literature. It makes most of learning experiences, as students are encouraged to read independently and respond by both writing and speaking. The teacher must use materials to teach new words and students are encouraged to share their writing with each other. This teaching method requires a lot of time for the teachers to prepare the materials.

Language Experience: This method helps students learn through their own language and experience that is used to create reading material. The method allows students to observe how the writing is actually produced and read.

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  1. Wonderful information….

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