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Perspectives

Introduced to JVIB readers in the February 2004 issue of the journal, the Perspectives column is intended to offer members of the blindness field the opportunity to express their points of view on important, sometimes controversial, issues affecting the field.

July 2008

Two Experts State Their Positions on Literacy

The Nature and Future of Literacy: Point and Counterpoint—Phil Hatlen and Susan Jay Spungin

Although we know that literacy is crucial for students who are blind or visually impaired to succeed in school and in their future lives, there is still not agreement on what constitutes literacy. Is listening literacy? What is the effect of large print on literacy? What has been the impact of technology on literacy, and what will it be in the future? In this Perspectives column, two renowned experts engage in a point-counterpoint discussion on these and other issues about one of the most crucial topics in the education of children who are blind or visually impaired.

JVIB's Perspectives column is intended to offer members of the blindness field the opportunity to express their points of view on important, sometimes controversial, issues affecting the field. Do you agree with what you've just read? Readers are encouraged to visit the JVIB online message board, <www.afb.org/jvib_message_board.asp>, and voice their opinions on this important topic.

April 2008

Reading Instruction for Students with Visual Impairments: Whose Job Is It?

Reading Is Rocket Science—Karen Blankenship

Reading Instruction: Best Practices and Realities in Canada's Largest School District—Carol Farrenkopf

Teaching Reading and Writing to Students with Visual Impairments: Who Is Responsible?—M. Cay Holbrook

Reflections on Teaching Reading in Braille—Anna M. Swenson

In its narrow form, the central question of this Perspectives column can be interpreted to mean, "Can braille instruction be separated from reading instruction?" But, as the responses from these commentators demonstrate, the question has much broader implications not only for teachers of students with visual impairments and classroom teachers, but also for personnel preparation programs, school administrators, researchers, and ultimately the students themselves.

JVIB's Perspectives column is intended to offer members of the blindness field the opportunity to express their points of view on important, sometimes controversial, issues affecting the field. Do you agree with what you've just read? Readers are encouraged to visit the JVIB online message board, <www.afb.org/jvib_message_board.asp>, and voice their opinions on this important topic.

December 2007

Three Leaders Reflect on the Field of Visual Impairment and Blindness as They Depart from Center Stage

On the Future of the Field of Education of Students with Visual Impairments—Anne L. Corn

A Profession with Pride and Dignity: From Where I Stand Now—Phil Hatlen

Reflections on the Career of a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist: 1975-2007—Paul E. Ponchillia

The year 2007 saw three of the foremost experts of the field of visual impairment and blindness, and frequent contributors to JVIB, depart from center stage as two retired and one went on leave. Given this unprecedented loss, JVIB seized the opportunity to grant these esteemed individuals a platform from which to offer their perspectives on the many changes they have witnessed in the field over the course of their careers and to imagine the future of the field to which they have dedicated their lives.

JVIB's Perspectives column is intended to offer members of the blindness field the opportunity to express their points of view on important, sometimes controversial, issues affecting the field. Do you agree with what you've just read? Readers are encouraged to visit the JVIB online message board, <www.afb.org/jvib_message_board.asp>, and voice their opinions on this important topic.

November 2005

The Effects of No Child Left Behind on the Education of Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

An Opportunity Slipping Away?—Jane E. West

Civil Rights Legislation—Eugene McMahon

Highly Qualified Professionals—Karen E. Blankenship

Improving Measured Outcomes through Quality-Driven Programming—Clare Irwin

The Effects of NCLB—Kay Alicyn Ferrell

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001, signed into law by President George W. Bush in January 2002, substantially reconfigured the landscape of education in the United States. To reassess its impact after nearly four years, this Perspectives column poses the following question: What have been the effects of NCLB on the education of children who are blind or visually impaired? With responses from educators, administrators, teachers, and parents, this column provides a range of views on the opportunities and risks posed by this landmark legislation.

JVIB's Perspectives column is intended to offer members of the blindness field the opportunity to express their points of view on important, sometimes controversial, issues affecting the field. Do you agree with what you've just read? Readers are encouraged to visit the JVIB online message board, <www.afb.org/jvib_message_board.asp>, and voice their opinions on this important topic.

February 2004

Should a unified braille code be adopted for use across English-speaking countries?

A Braille-Using Scientist Embraces the Unified English Braille Code—Bill Gerrey

The Need for a Unified Braille Code—Chris Gray

Politics and the Braille Code—Marc Maurer

My Take on the Status of Braille—Abraham Nemeth

Adopt the Code—Sandy Ruconich

The Problem with Using English Braille Codes in Developing Countries—W. Aubrey Webson

The inaugural Perspectives column comes on the eve of a key decision regarding the adoption of the Unified English Braille Code developed by the International Council on English Braille, whose members are expected to meet in March 2004 and vote on whether or not to adopt the code for use around the world. Our respondents, each of whom uses braille as a literacy medium, offer rich and insightful perspectives on this important question. These commentators include two leaders of consumer organizations of persons who are blind, an educator, a mathematician, a scientist, and an international consultant.

The responses provide a capsule of the varied positions in the field. Some of the respondents believe the unified code should be adopted. Chris Gray, president of the American Council of the Blind, writes "The need for a unification of braille codes in North America is as real and as palpable as is the need to educate blind children to read and use braille as the cornerstone of their literacy." In contrast, Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, responds "I think it would be best to make some changes in the braille code to eliminate ambiguities, but most of the braille code should be left alone." In his offering, Abraham Nemeth, retired professor of mathematics and creator of the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Science Notation, emphatically states, "I am very much opposed to the UEBC. Its principal and fatal drawback is its insistence on the use of upper numbers."

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