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Vocational English Teaching for Visually Impaired People
Start date: Dec 1, 2009,

If blind or visually impaired people (vip) want to learn a language, they face a problem: usually, they learn a foreign language either as children in special schools for vip or in the framework of rehabilitation training. If they approach training centres later in life, they find out that these centres are usually not equipped for vip. This problem was highlighted in various European studies, amongst which one was carried out in Italy by the partner Unione Italiana Ciechi ed Ipovedenti Firenze. This study emphasises the need for teachers (of both private and public schools) to receive adequate training and materials. This is also very true for language teaching. Most training materials are based on printed materials or visual information (pictures, whiteboard, beamer, etc.). Audio material is available, but almost always designed as an add-on for books and papers. Therefore, if vip approach language schools, they are usually refused because the teachers do not have training materials, nor are the teachers prepared or trained for coping with vip. The project wants to encounter this problem with a combined package of: 1: a train the trainer course for language teachers on how to deal with vip and how to use and create teaching materials for this target group; 2: adaptable computer-based training modules for business English designed for blind and visually impaired adult learners. To achieve these goals, the partnership consists of adult training institutions, language schools, and schools for the blind. Central to the project is the training technology developed in the Socrates ALLVIP project. This technology uses a force-feedback joystick for haptic feedback and user interface control that offers true interactivity. The adaptability of the modules to include new content or learner languages and the design of the train the trainers course as a Grundtvig course favours a broad interest and dissemination.
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