This paper investigates how specialist teachers of learners with vision impairment in Turkey and England conceptualise their roles in supporting learners with vision impairment (VI) using Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory as a conceptual lens. Through comparative analysis of the findings of interviews with thirty specialist teachers of learners with VI in Turkey (n = 17) and England (n = 13), the paper identifies similar and different aspects of the teachers’ conceptualisations of their roles with the learner and with other agents around the learner. The findings mainly suggest that the concept of promoting/developing independence is commonly understood as concerning teaching independent living skills to learners, including mobility and self-care skills within mostly the school setting in Turkey. In contrast, that role was conceptualised in a broader context in England, such as developing independent living, independent learning and self-advocacy skills, involving other agents around the learner within and between home and school settings. Given the similarities and differences between the perspectives of specialist teachers on their multi-layered roles in two countries, the paper provides greater understanding of the specialist role of those teachers. It also offers a methodology to others who wish to explore and emphasise the distinctive roles of specialist teachers in their own settings.
- Bronfenbrenner’s theoretical model
- Specialist teacher
- ecological systems theory
- vision impairment