Class Teaches How to Teach the Blind

Class is in session for these students, who are learning what it's like to be blind.  

"It has been enlightening," said Madonna Hammer, who flew down from Wyoming to take the class.

"It gives you a whole new perspective on living life not being able to see," said Jason Cardenas, from Austin.

The Texas Tech class of 18 has students from across Texas and across the country. Their goal is to teach the blind and visually impaired how to travel independently.

"When we are working, one of us is the instructor and one is the student. So we are learning what it feels like to be a student as well as how to instruct," said Hammer.
Through the five week course, they've progressed from indoors to busy streets. These students say they've learned a lot.

"Just using the cane correctly, if you don't use it correctly you'll run into a lot of objects, so we've had a lot of practice running into things as well," said Reeva Barnett from El Paso.

"I think that it definitely gives you a better perception of what is going on in their minds so when you are working with them you can go, you know what I kind of know what that feels like," said Hammer.

Students have different reasons for joining the program. Some are teachers that want to be able to better understand their visually impaired students.

"I have a special ed student that is visually impaired, and I was at a loss of what to do to help and so that was part of the motivation," said Hammer.

"I actually had a visually impaired student for the first time this year and I've been teaching for about three years. And just building a relationship with him and you know wanting him to be successful as he progresses through his life, got me just kind of searching for what I can do to help him live a better life even though he is blind, so I found this program at Tech and I jumped at it," said Lora Barron, another student in the class.

The instructor of the class has been teaching this since the late 1970s. This session ends on Friday.

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