An immersive, professional development program that connects teachers of blind and low-vision students to the lived experiences of blind people, equipping participants with knowledge about the skills and attitudes that can help blind students thrive in school and beyond.
The program is free to participants thanks to a partnership between the National Federation of the Blind and the Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Research Foundation.
If you are preparing for a career in teaching blind students, or if you are an early career educator looking to enhance your teaching, then the National Federation of the Blind invites you to apply for a spot in the first cohort.
Dates and Location
The training will begin in January and continue throughout 2021. Sessions will address Braille literacy, orientation and mobility, access technology, accessible STEM instruction, diversity, and other topics that participants wish to explore. Importantly, we center the perspective of the blind community, drawing on the expertise of blind mentors and teachers experienced in integrating this perspective into their work with students and families.
Who Should Apply
Individuals in the United States who are currently studying to be teachers of blind students or career teachers who are currently employed teaching blind/visually-impaired students in PK-12 settings.
Beginning in January 2021, program participants will join together in monthly group activities and learning sessions that address the following areas:
- Understanding Blindness from a Blind Perspective: Participants will learn how the blind have organized to instill self-agency and mobilize for collective action. They will also listen to tell-all educational accounts from blind adults and parents of blind children, create a philosophical framework that will aid the teachers in promoting positive identity development within the blind youth they serve, and stretching future educators to evaluate their attitudes about blindness by engaging them in nonvisual challenge activities.
- Introduction to Advocacy: Participants will interact with NFB members during the organization’s annual legislative program, (Washington Seminar), witnessing firsthand the power of consumer advocacy to advance opportunities for blind people. Through formal and informal interactions with a wide variety of blind people, the teachers will expand their knowledge base on blindness which will support them in educating blind youth.
- Successful Instructional Strategies from the Perspective of the Blind: Engagement with professionals at the Louisiana Center for the Blind and the Professional Development and Research on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University, consisting of hands-on demonstrations focusing on Braille, access technology, and cane travel skills for students, while exploring the benefits and controversies of using blindfolds as teaching tools.
- NFB Conventions: Teachers will attend the National Federation of the Blind’s national convention, the largest gathering of blind people in the world. They will participate in a variety of sessions, particularly those focused on education. The teachers will observe, and where appropriate, help facilitate activities for blind youth designed to foster positive attitudes about blindness. With access to thousands of blind people, parents of blind children, and teachers of the blind, members of the cohort will continue to build their professional learning networks. In addition, all members of the cohort will be encouraged to participate in an NFB affiliate convention in their state or a neighboring state. These events will provide teachers with further opportunities to learn about blindness from blind people, observe blind mentors working with blind youth, and make invaluable connections with local community members and resources.
- Educational Youth Program: Members of the cohort will participate in an educational program designed for blind youth of various ages. They will learn the alternative techniques blind people use to actively engage in their learning environments. Participants will talk with blind youth about how blindness impacts their education, social life, and hopes for the future. The teachers will witness the power of the mentoring relationship between a blind child and a blind adult and come to understand the qualities a good mentor must have. Cohort members will learn strategies for helping students establish a positive blindness identity through hands on activities.
Note: Due to current global health conditions, the training will be conducted using the Zoom platform. However, if conditions allow, we will transition to an in-person model. Transportation, room and board, and expenses would be covered by the National Federation of the Blind with support from the Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Research Foundation. Additionally, we will work with everyone’s schedules to identify dates and times that support full participation in program activities.
How to Apply
If you are interested in this opportunity, please fill out the online application that provides an opportunity to briefly describe your interest in this program. After applying, individuals will be contacted to set up a time for an interview, so we can get to know you. Individuals accepted into the 2021 cohort will be notified by December 2020.
Apply online today with our online application.
For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-659-9314, extension 2418.
The Teachers of Tomorrow Training Program is made possible by the gracious donation from the Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Research Foundation.