WESC student Jack’s passion for Braille!

WESC learner Jack looking very excited to begin his Braille class teaching WESC learner Louis Grade 1 Braille
WESC learner Jack looking very excited to begin his Braille class teaching WESC learner Louis Grade 1 Braille, along with his teacher Jenny

Aspiring WESC learner Jack’s ultimate goal is to be a Braille teacher and he’s well on the way to achieving it by studying the Ascentis Level 3 Award in Education and Training, supported by work placements, at WESC Foundation.

Jack, 20, has an eye condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity and is registered blind. He has studied at WESC Foundation for the last three years and is a termly boarder. From his first day he always knew he wanted to be a Braille teacher and having the support from his teachers and support workers has enabled him to develop into the confident Braille user he is today.

The Ascentis Level 3 Award in Education and Training is an introduction to teaching course which explores the roles and responsibilities associated with a teaching position.

Throughout his course he has learned how to: plan and deliver sessions in an engaging and motivating way, how to teach young people with autism, ADHD, sensory impairment and physical disabilities, and also how to prepare lesson structures for people with disabilities, in particular, the routine and about planning the class around their special interests.

As well as completing his course Jack has weekly work experience sessions with WESC’s Braille Teacher Jenny Langley. Jack helps Jenny in her classes to teach Braille and by doing this it gives him the knowledge and experience of how to teach and support visually impaired learners. After a couple of years shadowing Jenny in her classes Jack was proficient and confident enough to take on his own classes. He now enhances two WESC students’ Braille knowledge by teaching them on a weekly basis in his own time to gain more teaching experience.

Jack helping Louis read his Braille news article
Jack helping Louis read his Braille news article

At the end of each of his lessons Jack likes to reflect on how the lesson has gone. He does this by recording the lesson on his Victor Reader Stream and then plays it back to himself. Jack finds this system incredibly useful for being able to monitor and improve his future sessions – he says he is well aware that teachers are ‘reflective practitioners’.

Jack commented: “It’s great to be able to study the Education and Training course as well as gain work experience at WESC. I have learnt a lot about how to teach from my Braille teacher Jenny. She has supported me a great deal along with my tutor, Nicola. What I particularly enjoy about teaching my peers at the moment is setting tests for them. I do this as part of my lesson preparation which helps me assess and support them with improving their Braille contractions.”

Jenny Langley WESC’s Braille teacher said: “I’ve really enjoyed having Jack for work experience and seeing him develop his skills. I find having Jack help teach in my classes invaluable as it motivates his peers to improve their Braille skills. The learners that Jack teaches alongside me aren’t so confident with Braille but by having Jack in the class it helps inspire them to achieve as they are his friends and they want to impress him. I love his enthusiasm for teaching – he always tells me what he has learnt on his course and it’s really great that he can now teach independently.”   

Jack is just about to embark on a new work experience placement at Countess Wear School, along with Jenny, to introduce basic Braille including the alphabet and pre-tactile skills to the students. They will be going once every half term which will help expand his teaching skills further.

Jack is currently a boarder at WESC Foundation. He has learnt mobility skills at WESC so he can navigate around campus independently and he is continuing his mobility lessons on public transport which will mean that he will be able to travel into Exeter city centre independently. He has also learnt living skills at WESC including cooking, washing and keeping his house tidy.

Nicola Smith, Jack’s tutor at WESC Foundation said: “I have been extremely impressed with Jack’s focus and passion for his braille teaching qualification. He works very hard and is always eager to develop his skills. His timetable this year covers a range of subjects, from his core skills, mobility, occupational therapy and work skills, but it is heavily led by his teaching qualification and work experience. He is coping fantastically well and can prioritise his workload independently. He is a kind, patient and friendly young man, putting him in great stead to becoming an excellent teacher of braille. Well done, Jack!”

Well done Jack for all your hard work – you certainly are an inspirational young man!

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