The significance of specialist teachers of learners with visual impairments as agents of change: Examining personnel preparation in the United Kingdom through a bioecological systems theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

External organisations

  • University of Edinburgh


Introduction: The unique challenges to learning and participation in education associated with visual impairment are well documented in the literature, as is the importance of addressing these challenges through ensuring practitioners who support them are equipped with appropriate knowledge, understanding and skills. We use a bioecological systems theory as a lens through which to examine the personnel preparation of vision specialist teachers to act as agents of change. We draw on the different teacher preparation programmes to become a specialist teacher of learners with visual impairment in the United Kingdom (UK) to demonstratrate how this theory can be applied.
Methods: We use a bounded case study to bring together the respective teacher preparation programmes in the United Kingdom in order to demonstrate complementary characteristics of the theoretical model proposed.
Results and Discussion: We argue that a bioecological systems theory offers a holistic framework for educators involved in personnel preparation to explicitly engage with vision specialist teachers in their role as potential agents of change. This preparation includes developing distinctive knowledge, understanding and skills to facilitate learner participation in education through promoting ‘progressive’ and ‘mutual’ accommodation between the active learner and the changing learning environments in order to achieve successful outcomes.
Implications for practitioners: The article is original in applying a bioecological systems theory to the preparation of specialist teachers of learners with visual impairments with a focus on their role as agents of change. We argue that it has significance therefore for practitioners and researchers concerned with the personnel preparation of other practitioners of learners with distinctive educational needs across national contexts and settings.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-584
JournalJournal of Visual Impairment and Blindness
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017