Students on the Seminole campus recently experienced a unique active learning situation in a Diverse Populations classroom setting of Dr. Jennifer Lechner. A sensory experience affects a human’s senses: sound, sight, touch, smell and taste. To help navigate different areas of the campus each visually impaired student was paired with another student for safety.
Students participated in a sensory deprivation activity by using earplugs for simulating a hearing impairment. The use of blindfolds simulated visually impaired. Students were exposed to the frustrations of someone who is hearing impaired and experienced how isolating this could be in conversations. Eating lunch forced students to do more hands onto prepare what they would eat.
Sensory Experience Provides New Perspective
After the exercise, they had a new appreciation for navigating a public bathroom, using an elevator, a computer and even eating food. One take-away the students discovered was that they could leave the classroom and escape the disability; whereas, those who have a hearing or visual impairment never get a reprieve.
Student responses supported this as a valuable and exciting learning experience. Although it is impossible to gain a complete understanding of what being the blind or deaf world is like, process simulation activities, at the very least, make learning concrete and help students to be receptive and empathetic by contributing to a better understanding of the problems and feelings that occur.
Through these simulation sensory experiences:
- students were able to identify stereotypes and myths they held
- learn basic facts about disability, and
- form realistic perspectives on how people with disabilities are treated