What is it about?

Learning French contracted braille is considerably more complex than memorizing the English contractions because in French, blind students have to memorize 1217 abbreviations as compared to the 189 contractions available in the English braille code. Not surprisingly, the time investment is considerable in the French braille education system, and teachers question whether it is worth it from the perspective of their former students.

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Why is it important?

In an era where resources are sparse and allocation needs to be well justified, we decided to inform future decisions about the teaching of the abbreviated French braille code in Quebec on data collected from braille users that have undergone the training and effort required to become proficient French braille users in Quebec.


Presenting this article and finally publishing it in a peer-reviewed journal was an interesting adventure because politically the content of this article is not welcome by all braille users. Specifically, proponents of braille use often feel threatened by data that indicate that braille may be "on its way out" because of recent technological advances, such as text-to-speech technology. We encountered quite a but of resistance from reviewers in other journals who made it clear "between the lines" that they were not supporting the publication of our findings. As a researcher, this was an enlightening experience because our article was not judged on its scientific value as a source of data for further discussion, but as a political menace that needed to be suppressed. To those who are critical of our article, I would like to state for the record that this study is only intending to inform, based on relevant data, to allow for evidence-based practice decision. I am not here to present a political or philosophical opinion.

Dr Walter Wittich
Universite de Montreal

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Current use of contracted and uncontracted French braille in Quebec, British Journal of Visual Impairment, August 2017, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/0264619617711731.
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