Providing Learning Support for Blind or Visually Impaired Students Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities
The Available Options
Individual and group work
Tutors and students will need to take a strategic decision, preferably well before the fieldcourse begins, on how much work will be undertaken on their own and how much will involve working with others. Fieldwork investigation frequently involves small-group data collection in the field, but this approach may be appropriate for a wider range of activities, including those that are traditionally undertaken by students working on their own.
- Negotiate role specialisation (e.g. leadership or co-ordinating role) among visually impaired and sighted students to maximise strengths and minimise weaknesses. Tutors should avoid jumping to conclusions as to which roles might be most effectively played by visually impaired students — they may surprise you, and their peers.
- Inform all staff involved in the field course on the membership of student groups, so that the right set of students are dropped off and picked up by minibus each day.
- Visually impaired students might benefit from working with their peers in the evening follow-up sessions, both to share information and evolving thinking about what has been studied during the day.
- If students work consistently in groups on the fieldcourse, then it might be appropriate to consider assessing them on a group basis.
For a discussion of some of the practical issues involved in buddying, see the accompanying document on Buddies. Tutors would benefit from discussing this important issue in awareness raising sessions (see the accompanying document on Raising Staff Awareness.)
© Geography Discipline Network/authors, 2001
ISBN: 1 86174 115 4