Guide Dog Class Lecture: Promoting Independence
At Guide Dogs for the Blind we understand that adults are unique, capable of self-direction, and learn in different ways. During class training, we individualize your instruction and offer an opportunity for you to choose among a variety of learning options based on your preferences, abilities, individual needs and goal plan.
We have a responsibility to you and your progress in class. In turn, we expect you to have a similar commitment to your training. Because you are unique and you have your own lifestyle, your goal plan will differ from that of your classmates’. We provide customized instruction to help our students achieve their self-chosen goals.
At GDB, we emphasize the power of partnering which relies on interdependence as a way to achieve our potential as individuals. In your everyday life, you are accustomed to making independent decisions. While you are here for training, you are part of a community and some decisions will need to be made based on what’s best for the group. That being said, you will still have opportunities to choose options based on personal needs and preferences.
During your class experience, we encourage a learning method that is designed to optimize your active participation. You are strongly encouraged to direct your own learning process, which is a key to achieving personal independence. When working a guide dog, it is crucial that your learning experience be multi-dimensional. You will use many types of information such auditory and tactile cues to make decisions about your travel. You will also experience something that is called, "kinesthetic feedback" which means that you have increased awareness about your body's movement based on your joints and muscles. This information is supplemented by instructor feedback. As you are learning to work with your dog, we will do our best to allow you to independently problem solve when appropriate, but may occasionally intervene on the dog’s behalf.
Being an adult away from home for an extended period can be a sacrifice. We understand that you have competing interests outside of training with a guide dog. We recognize the need to have balance in your life, even during class. We will try to make your stay at GDB as comfortable and flexible as possible while you learn new concepts, build a relationship with a Guide Dog, and enter into a new lifestyle.
In an effort to address both your needs and the needs of the group, here are some situations to consider:
- Instructional material is reviewed on a regular basis throughout class.
- All group activities begin promptly at their scheduled times.
- While waiting your turn to work with a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, you will know in what order you will be worked so that you may plan your time accordingly (e.g. use the computer, take a nap, play a card game with a classmate, groom your dog, make a phone call, etc.).
- During non-work periods, you have the option to leave campus or the downtown lounge (without your dog). Consider your dog’s needs before you leave. Please notify the instructor staff of your departure and return when you say you will.
- On weekends, we offer extracurricular activities. Please refer to your class schedule for details.
- In consideration of others, the building quiets down after 10 pm.
You can stream the audio of the class lecture here, via a Soundcloud widget. If using a screen reader, please select the "Play" option below.