Teaching French to a non-sighted undergraduate: enhancing everyone’s learning

Geraldine Enjelvin


In September 2006, during induction week, the French language tutors at the University of Northampton discovered that, John (not his real name), a registered blind student, had enrolled on their post A-level course. Although they had attended a session on accessible documents, the tutors concerned had no previous experience of teaching a non-sighted student. As expressed by Dickinson in 2005, it is ‘one thing to go on training about disabilities, [it is another] to have a blind student’ (836). This article therefore sets out to illustrate how the French tutors concerned adjusted their (online as well as offline) practices with a view to (1) creating a supportive, enabling, and inclusive teaching/learning (T/L) environment and (2) fostering independent learning (during, and outside of, lessons). Last but not least, this paper also offers suggestions for future, anticipatory adjustments to teaching strategies and (T/L as well as assessment) offline/online materials in line with the lessons learnt from the 2006-2008 academic years.


Blind; differentiated T/L; Higher Education institutions (HEI); independent learning; Modern Foreign Languages (MFL); non-sighted students; reasonable adjustments; visually impaired (VI).

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14234/elehe.v1i1.8