An immersive, professional development program that connects teachers of blind and low-vision students to the lived experiences of blind people. The program will equip the participants with knowledge of the skills and attitudes that can help blind students thrive in school and beyond.
This program is free to participants.
Dates and Location
The program will begin in the fall of 2023 and continue throughout the 2023-2024 school year. Participants will engage in several in-person activities, including a kick-off weekend in Baltimore, Maryland, the weekend of September 29-30, and our 2024 Washington Seminar, which will be tentatively held January 28-31, 2024.
The program will culminate in a gathering at our 2024 National Convention, which will be held July 3-8, 2024. Sessions will address Braille literacy, orientation and mobility, access technology, accessible STEM instruction, diversity, and other topics that participants wish to explore.
Importantly, we focus on 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.
Beginning in the fall of 2023, program participants will participate in monthly virtual group activities, as well as periodic in-person gatherings.
The group will meet once a month via the Zoom platform for two to three hours on a weekend. Additional in-person events will be held throughout the year in various places across the country.
Transportation, room and board, and expenses will be covered by the NFB. We will work with everyone’s schedules to identify dates and times that support full participation in program activities.
The following are just some of the topics and goals that we will cover in events throughout the year:
- 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 listen to tell-all educational accounts from blind adults and parents of blind children. They will create a philosophical framework that will aid the teachers in promoting positive identity development with the blind youth they serve while 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 based 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. Topics will include hands-on demonstrations focusing on Braille, access technology, and cane travel skills for students. Participants will explore the benefits and controversies of using blindfolds as teaching tools.
- NFB Conventions:
Teachers will attend the NFB’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.
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 work with blind youth, and make invaluable connections with local community members and resources.
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/low vision students in PK-12 settings.
How to Apply
Applications for the 2023/2024 cohort are now closed.
For more information, contact us at [email protected] or 410-659-9314, extension 2418.