Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What a wonderful day.  My friend Odgerel is trained in special education, specifically education for the visually impaired.  She began her career as a teacher at the School for the Blind in UB.  She is currently working with a Mongolian Education Alliance on a project to teach English to children with visual impairments.  She took me along for the afternoon.  We first visited the School for the Deaf.  Both buildings are on one campus.  We stoppd in to see an old friend of hers.  She teaches first grade.  She welcomed me with Mongolian Sign Language.
There is a fabulous Home Ec / Shop program here at the School.  Below you can see the products that the students have created - out of wood, bone and horns.  They are truly talented.
A fish from a cow bone.
My very favorite.  A horse made from a camel bone and fitted into an old stirrup.  Incredible.
  Odgerel displaying horns that will soon become works of art.
Then we went to the School for the Blind.  Another friend of Odgerel's who teachers 8th grade.  Above is a diorama fashioned by her students while learning about nomad life.  Below, the Braille Alphabet.
We began teaching our first group.  They practiced greetings with me, and then worked on conversations with each other.
Some children write in Braille, others in regular print. 
These two are quite good conversationalists.  They have learned a good bit of English in a short time.  They are conscientious, and fun students.  Below, a study in paying attention!
We went into the hall to learn the Hokey Pokey!  Great way to learn body parts and have fun at the same time. 
This is our second group.  Each group was 2 hours - the best four hours I've spent in a while!
There are 400 students in the School for the Deaf, and about 70 in the School for the Blind.  The visually impaired students have a dorm within their school building.  These two buildings are dorms for the hearing impaired students.  A study was conducted a while back to find out why there were so many hearing impaired children in Mongolia.  They found a genetic answer.  Dorms are needed because so many students come from the countryside.  The schools educate children from 6 - 18 years of age.
In the fall, this pre-school will open for both hearing and visually impaired young children from UB only.  It was a cold, windy and gray day, but I found great warmth and brightness in these two buildings.

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