Daune Ellis Teachers in Action Project

Category: Education

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Teens in Transition


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Teens in Transition An Eye Opening Experience:

Teens in Transition An Eye Opening Experience Daune Ellis daunee2009@knights.ucf.edu April 6, 2012 EEX 4070

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The Center for the Visually Impaired Private nonprofit agency dedicated to providing training and support to persons who are visually impaired. Services provided in Volusia, Flagler, Putman & Brevard Counties. Their mission is to empower and provide opportunities for individuals who are blind or visually impaired to reach their highest personal, social and vocational potential through quality education, practical experiences and support services. Programs provided are the teen transition program, the independent living program, technology training, counseling groups, and orientation and mobility training.

Engagement Activities:

Engagement Activities I engaged teens in transition to help them learn more about the topics of money management, jobs, careers, organizational, and orientation skills. Visually impaired teen from Brevard, Volusia, Flagler, and Putnam counties who were enrolled in the teen transition program. I met with 15-20 teens (depending on who could attend) on two separate Saturday’s in March. We met at 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. Our first activity was an orientation activity, the second focused on jobs and careers.

Participant Demographics:

Participant Demographics The teens who participate range in age from 14-19 years old. They participate voluntarily in the program. The goal is to learn new skills and strategies to help them cope when they graduate from high school and move on to a job or college. The 15-20 teens that participate in the program are identified as having one or more disabilities . They fall under the IDEA act because of their visual and motor impairments. Some of the children also have some degree of mental retardation.

Service in Action:

Service in Action

Orientation Skills Project:

Orientation Skills Project Boys vs. Girls! This was a great project designed like the television show Amazing Race. Orientation challenges, maps and clues were given. Students had to navigate without help to checkpoints to receive their next clue. Winning team won bragging rights and a cash prize! Goals: build independence and confidence, refine orientation and navigation skills, review time and money management.

Job Skills & Interview Project:

Job Skills & Interview Project Students were divided into three teams. Each team had a team leader. The students were transported to the Daytona Beach Mall to complete the project. Students were given the task to find four different people to interview. No two people could have the same occupation. Every student in the group had to ask a few of the questions from the interview questionnaire. Return to the center to work on job research and resume skills. Goals: Build self-confidence and interviewing, research, computer, and money management skills.

Perceptions of Differences:

Perceptions of Differences Always look forward to field assignments. Interested in working with the visually impaired. My brother is legally blind. Chose visually impaired students, nervous about mental disabilities. After first day with students, fears and nervousness disappeared. Inspired by the students. Impacted by their bravery and how they interacted with their peers and adults who were strangers to them.

Connections to Your Course:

Connections to Your Course EEX 4070-Teaching Exceptional Students 1. Students with visual impairments I learned that legally blind means that people qualify for services if their vision is less than 20/200. The students I worked with had a wide variety of visual impairments. Some had no vision at all, while others had varying degrees of sight. (Source: Teaching Students in Inclusive Settings, Wood, Judy. ,5 th ed. 2006.) 2. Classroom Accommodations and Instructional Techniques Classroom accommodations and adaptations to lessons are needed to service students with visual impairments. During our activities verbal instructions were given and special software and hardware manufactured for the visually impaired was used. (Source: Teaching Students in Inclusive Settings, Wood, Judy. ,5 th ed. 2006.) 3. Orientation and Mobility Some students will gather information automatically; others will need carefully planned instruction to maintain orientation and travel confidently. During the orientation exercise we addressed these skills specifically. The goal of the exercise was to build the student’s confidence and skills so they can navigate unfamiliar territory with confidence. (Source: Teaching Students in Inclusive Settings, Wood, Judy., 5 th ed. 2006.) I understand this course better because of the hands-on, interactive time with the children . I believe no amount of reading textbooks and listening to lectures can replace real experiences. Every time I have time in the classroom working with teachers and students I learn many new strategies and techniques that I will add to my teaching toolbox.

Civic Engagement:

Civic Engagement I’ve always supported civic engagement and volunteerism. I’ve been involved with giving back since childhood. Civic engagement is important to society. Provides services to all members of the community that social agencies can’t or need support to provide. Service learning can be a fantastic way to learn more about whatever is interesting to you while you give back to the community. This experience motivated me and members of my family to continue to be actively involved with the visually impaired. I would encourage all teachers and students to embrace service-learning. The reward of giving without any expectation, outside of a experience, is priceless.

Final Thoughts & Reflections:

Final Thoughts & Reflections The most important thing to do is to face fears and apprehensions and get involved. It doesn’t take long to understand a disability. To help others become involved provide fun and easy opportunities that people can be involved with. Teachers have an unique opportunity to educate young people about the differences and similarities in all of us. Teaching in a responsible and ethical manner contributes to the greater good in every child they teach. There are many programs to choose from in the community that need volunteers. I believe the key is to find an organization that offers services that have personal meaning to you. Giving your time is just as important as giving a gift of money. The beauty of volunteering is that you become richer for it!

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