ERIC Number: EJ906289
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Reference Count: 6
Teaching (Dis)Abled: Reflections on Teaching, Learning, Power, and Classroom Community
Green, Nicole E.
English Journal, v100 n2 p86-92 Nov 2010
Born with a rare form of ocular carcinoma that left her with no vision in her left eye and severely limited vision in her right, this author has lived her life precariously balanced between two worlds--too blind for the sighted community and too sighted for the blind community. From this vantage point--first as a student, then as a teacher, and now as a graduate student--she has been able to gain unique perspectives on learning, pedagogy, and, most importantly, the valuable role of student-teacher relationships and classroom community. From her seat in the front row of the classroom she learned about both the discouraging and motivating power of low expectations, the paralyzing fear of being different from her peers, and the frustrations of not being heard by those in power. Simultaneously, though, she saw the remarkable potential for generosity in her fellow students, how a truly dedicated and altruistic educator can change a life, and how writing can give a sense of competence and power to those who feel powerless to change their circumstances. From her position standing in front of the classroom, she learned even more. She learned about the challenges of finding new ways to do common tasks and about the epic amounts of time it takes to grade student papers that one must squint to read, and how it feels to have her abilities questioned by education department faculty and school staff because of her vision. More importantly, however, she learned about the remarkable adaptability of students, the importance of "seeing" students for who and where they are, and what a powerful effect a sense of community can have on a student's learning. In this article, the author describes the challenges she has faced as she developed a successful pedagogy that centers on shared power and collaboration.
Descriptors: Teacher Characteristics, Student Characteristics, Barriers, Student Attitudes, Visual Impairments, Power Structure, Blindness, Classroom Environment, Teacher Expectations of Students, Peer Relationship, Altruism, Teacher Student Relationship, Writing (Composition), Teacher Competencies, English Instruction, Student Needs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A