What is the Positive Looking Visual Skills Programme?

What is the Positive Looking Visual Skills Programme?


What is the Positive Looking Program?

Positive Looking, written by Gwyneth McCormack at Positive Eye, provides a programme of activities, goals and observations which guide practitioners working with their learners, to promote the development of visual skills.

What is the purpose of the Positive Looking Program?

When we work with our learners we are constantly observing and building a picture of how they use their vision to access the world. In building our picture some of the jigsaw pieces fall easily into place, others take more time, whilst there are some which we will always seek a place for. Positive Looking supports us to do this work. Its purpose is to help the practitioner understand how their learner uses vision and to know which visual skill areas to focus on. Within the program clear observation points provide guidance on what to look for. With this knowledge, goals can be set, activities planned, resources selected and the learner supported appropriately throughout the whole curriculum and beyond

What are the benefits of the Positive Looking Program to learners and educators?

Vision is such a key part of learning. The methods in Positive Looking help educators push the learner to improve their attentiveness and visual stamina. Using the program, educators feel increasingly confident in their ability to maximise their learner’s opportunities to develop visual skills within every task that they do. The fundamental Positive Looking principles provide a foundation from which educators can explore and develop the most effective techniques to support each of their learners.

Positive Looking is simple and easy to understand. It has a clear structure and layout which allows educators to work systematically through the resource.  It helps educators to both work with learners and map their development too. Straightforward instructions and targets plainly state what to look for and how to chart progress. The program contains observation points which are simple to track and evaluate and promotes a consistency of approach, particularly important when working as part of a team. Using Positive Looking increases the confidence of educators giving them the assurance to work daily with learners to develop their visual skills, thereby enhancing learning in the classroom and beyond.

How does Positive Looking support a whole school approach?

Because of the huge part vision plays in learning, maximising access to the curriculum through the development of the learner’s visual skills needs to be an integral part of the curriculum and not a bolt on.  Positive Looking brings with it this culture change. Its philosophy focuses on how to increase the opportunities for the learner to maximise their use of vision. Positive Looking encourages a holistic approach to the learner’s access to the curriculum. A huge plus point is that it is easy to use for educators who may not have a specialism in VI.

The Positive Looking Program can be easily applied to the whole classroom, enhancing and benefiting access to learning for all children. The programme uses readily accessible low cost resources from within the everyday life of the learner and does not require additional investment in expensive equipment. It is very simple to incorporate in stories, in math activities and in the daily routines of learners, both in school and at home.

What are the Positive Looking Trainer and the Positive Looking Practitioner courses?

In 2020 two courses were developed at Positive Eye.

  • Positive Looking Trainer Course: for Teachers of VI to learn about the content of the Positive Looking Practitioner course and the role of the Positive Looking
  • Positive Looking Practitioner Course: This is the course delivered by Teachers of VI to teachers and paraprofessionals. The purpose of the Positive Looking Practitioner course is to teach the practical application of visual skills within the school curriculum and the daily life of the child.

A strategic approach to Positive Looking across a region opens the door to a systematic change in the way vision is thought about. It moves the presence of vision up the agenda for children. It becomes ‘everybody’s business and responsibility.’ Common language is used, the confidence of educators grows and their learners’ access to the curriculum and everyday tasks is maximised.

“I don’t know why everyone in the country isn’t using this programme. In my opinion every special school should have a copy. As soon as you begin to use Positive Looking you realise how good it is” (Yvonne Smith, Lead Advisory Teacher of VI, Bradford, UK)

Positive Looking Programme

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