Governing Ourselves informs members of legal and regulatory matters affecting the profession. This section provides updates on licensing and qualification requirements, notification of Council resolutions and reports from various Council committees, including reports on accreditation and discipline matters.
Teaching Students who are Deafblind, Blind or have Low Vision
“Our son was born in 1992. Everything was perfect. We had a second child called Melodie in 1995 and then our world came crumbling down. Our daughter was born with many medical conditions including severe brain damage. Being a young parent and not having any familiarity with deafblindness it was quite a shock for us… Even though the hospital said that this was the worst case they had seen in 10 years we were committed to [helping her]. We discovered that playing music 24 hours a day helped to stimulate her brain…
“I began my journey in deafblind education by enrolling in the Deafblind AQ when Melodie was five years old. I later had the opportunity to take and develop the part two and specialist DeafBlind AQ courses in French. As a parent and an educational consultant for the deafblind at the Centre Jules-Leger, I know how important the proper intervention is. Without it, Melodie would probably be spending most of her days in a stupor. The original medical prognosis of her being vegetative would have come true. It’s the same with all the children I work with. If it weren’t for the great [and highly qualified] teachers who work with them, these students wouldn’t make the progress they are making. Deafblindness is a highly specialized field. That’s why the AQ is so important.”
—Pierre Beaudin, OCT
Teachers are deeply committed to engaging in additional teaching qualification courses that help them to more effectively respond to the unique and specific individual needs of students who are deafblind, blind or have low vision. Highly specialized Additional Qualification (AQ) courses such as Teaching Students Who Are Deaf-Blind and Teaching Students Who Are Blind are developed in collaboration with parents, educational partners, the teaching profession and the public.
The development of these AQ courses are facilitated using comprehensive and specific methods that ensure the necessary teaching knowledge, skills and ethical practices are identified and included in these specialized AQs. These important AQ courses enhance the advanced and extremely sophisticated professional knowledge, skills and practices required of teachers who support students who have complex and multi-faceted needs.
The College employs a set of dialogic development processes that honour the diversity of perspectives of the many groups with an interest in these AQs — students, families, teachers, principals and community groups. These dialogic development processes range from background research (literature reviews, conversations with experts, online questionnaires), policy development (writing teams) and provincial validation processes. Examples of dialogic methodologies used include consensus workshops, appreciative inquiry, narratives and focus groups. Technologies such as Adobe Connect, SharePoint and Facebook are also leveraged to enhance these dialogic processes. The use of these methodologies and technologies support inclusion, accessibility, validity and transparency.
The impact of the College’s collaborative and dialogic AQ policy development processes is far-reaching for students. Dawn Clelland, a parent and advocate for blind education in the province, stressed the significance of the College’s rigorous, responsive and relational policy processes in recent correspondence with the College:
“Thank you for your responsiveness to the concerns raised. It is exemplary how your caring and openness has turned into positive change for our children’s teachers. It was very considerate of you to take out the time to contact me, sharing the changes in the AQ course material. We are going over it, carefully, and see an entirely different curriculum than the original, which includes the items of concern raised. [The direction you are taking] excites me as having well-trained teachers is the foundation of all children’s education. Without this strong foundation, building confident, capable blind and visually impaired adults becomes an unnecessary struggle for everyone — teachers, children, parents and school systems.”
Highly specialized AQs emphasize specific professional knowledge and skills for teachers, foster critical inquiry into professional practice, and support the shared goal of helping all students realize their potential.