Pedagogical aention strategies in
students with visual impairment
Arnoldo Rafael Rodríguez Noriega
Gustavo Adolfo González Roys
Leonardo Enrique Martínez Arredondo
To reference this article / Cómo citar este artículo / Para citar
este artigo: Rodríguez-Noriega, A. R., González-Roys, G. y Martínez-
Arredondo, L. E. (2023). Pedagogical attention strategies in students
with visual impairment. Revista UNIMAR, 41(1), 104–123. https://doi.
Reception date: January 19, 2022
Review date: May 9, 2022
Approval date: June 23, 2022
The objective of this research was to understand the importance of pedagogical
attention strategies in the classroom, for students with visual disabilities
in the context of educational inclusion at the Universidad Popular del Cesar,
Sabanas headquarter, Valledupar municipality. It was based on various authors:
Aguirre (2016), Arizabaleta and Ochoa (2016), Bromberg et al. (2016), Carrillo
et al. (2017), and it was developed under the qualitative approach in the
phenomenological method. A documentary review and interviews were carried
out with two students with visual disabilities and two teachers of the institution,
where the important eort of the latter was evidenced when considering all their
students in the pedagogical practice, including those with visual disabilities. It
is concluded that there is a need to train teaching sta to work competently
to achieve more important achievements in terms of educational inclusion and
pedagogy of inclusion related to disability.
Keywords: pedagogical attention strategies; visual disabilities; educational
Candidate for a Master’s in Pedagogy (Universidad Mariana); Degree in Spanish and English Language (Universidad Popular del
Cesar). Teacher (Universidad Popular del Cesar). Email: arnoldora.rodriguez@umariana.edu.co
Ph.D. Candidate in Educational Quality UBC (Mexico); Master in Management of Research and Development Projects URBE (Venezuela);
Agro industrial Engineer, UNICESAR. Research Coordinator of the Master’s program in Pedagogy, Universidad Mariana, Valledupar,
Colombia. Email: ggonzalezr@umariana.edu.co
Ph.D. Candidate in Educational Sciences URBE (Venezuela); Master in Chemistry Teaching; Specialist in Environmental Pedagogy,
Universidad Popular del Cesar; Graduate in Chemistry and Biology Education Sciences, Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de
Colombia. Email: leonmartinez@umariana.edu.co
An article resulting from the research entitled: ‘Pedagogical attention strategies in students with visual disabilities’, developed from
May 2019 to November 2021, at the Universidad Popular del Cesar, Sabanas headquarter, Colombia.
Estrategias de atención pedagógica en estudiantes
con discapacidad visual
La presente investigación tuvo como objetivo, comprender la importancia de las
estrategias de atención pedagógica en el aula, para estudiantes con discapacidad
visual en el contexto de la inclusión educativa en la Universidad Popular del
Cesar, sede Sabanas, municipio Valledupar. La investigación se fundamentó en
diferentes autores: Aguirre (2016), Arizabaleta y Ochoa (2016), Bromberg et
al. (2016), Carrillo et al. (2017), entre otros y, se desarrolló bajo el enfoque
cualitativo en el método fenomenológico; se realizó una revisión documental, así
como entrevistas a dos estudiantes con discapacidad visual y dos docentes de la
institución en estudio, donde se evidenció el importante esfuerzo de estos últimos
al considerar en la práctica pedagógica a todos sus estudiantes, incluyendo a
aquellos con discapacidad visual. Se concluye que, existe la necesidad de formar
al personal docente para trabajar con competencia en pro del alcance de logros
más importantes en materia de inclusión educativa y pedagogía de la inclusión
relacionada con la discapacidad.
Palabras clave: estrategias de atención pedagógica; discapacidad visual;
inclusión educativa.
Estratégias pedagógicas de atenção em alunos com
deciência visual
O objetivo desta pesquisa foi compreender a importância das estratégias de
atenção pedagógica em sala de aula para alunos com deciência visual no
contexto da inclusão educacional na Universidad Popular de Cesar, em Sabanas,
município de Valledupar. Baseou-se em diversos autores e foi desenvolvida sob
a abordagem qualitativa do método fenomenológico; foi realizada uma revisão
documental e entrevistas com dois alunos com deciência visual e dois professores
da instituição, onde cou evidenciado o importante esforço destes últimos ao
contemplar todos os seus alunos na prática pedagógica, inclusive aqueles com
deciência visual. Conclui-se que necessidade de capacitar o corpo docente
para atuar com competência para alcançar conquistas mais importantes em
termos de inclusão educacional e pedagogia da inclusão relacionada à deciência.
Palavras-chave: estratégias pedagógicas de atenção; deciência visual;
inclusão educacional.
Pedagogical aention strategies in students with visual impairment
Arnoldo Rafael Rodríguez Noriega
Gustavo Adolfo González Roys
Leonardo Enrique Martínez Arredondo
1. Introduction
For some people, having one or more disabilities
means something severely adverse that partially
or totally aects their development and active
participation in everyday situations. Disability
as a condition is dened by the dictionary of
the Real Academia Española (RAE, 2021) as
the “situation of the person who, due to their
long-lasting physical [...] or mental conditions,
encounters diculties for their participation
and social inclusion” (n.p.). Thus, disability in
the particular context of this study represents
breadth and inclusiveness.
Over the years, in the educational scenario, it
has been observed that students with disabilities
have gradually assumed greater visibility in their
own spaces, both in schools and universities,
thanks to global initiatives such as the Strategy
for the United Nations for the Inclusion of
Disability (United Nations Organization [UN],
2018) in favor of accessibility, which has been
penetrating the sensitivity of governments,
institutions, organizations, and people. Although
for many this situation can be addressed from
special education, it should not be so, since
it is about building inclusion (Villa, 2017);
educational work with people with disabilities is
a task and responsibility of all educational levels
and instances.
The World Education Monitoring Report 2020
(United Nations Educational, Scientic and
Cultural Organization [UNESCO], 2020)
expresses very clearly that inclusion cannot
be limited to children and young people with
disabilities attending ordinary schools, colleges,
and universities that lack support and preparation
for it and, therefore, cannot take responsibility
for achieving inclusion, which would mean that
actions such as these, could increase experiences
of exclusion, leading to results adverse to the
objectives of inclusion proposed by educational
At the university level, the challenge for teachers
becomes more evident, since it is a training that
expects a higher level of autonomy from the
student, both in their mobility of action and in
their learning process. In this regard, Bromberg
et al. (2016) state:
No one prepared us for the urgent and
necessary opening that universities had to
assume in the face of the increasing entry
of people with disabilities into university
education. Many teachers from these
universities have found themselves helpless
in the face of ignorance about academic
coexistence and pedagogical strategies to
eciently enhance the abilities of students
with disabilities. (p. 18)
These authors reect, in written form, what
many teachers think when they assume or when
the challenge of working in the classroom with
students with disabilities is imposed on them, as
it is in most cases: they nd intuitive knowledge,
not consciously, without tools previously
considered and designed based on the real needs
of these students, often having to appeal to an
adaptation of classroom practices, in adherence
to what could be called ‘pedagogy of normality’.
The lack of understanding of the potentialities,
capacities, and possibilities that a person with
disabilities possesses still prevails, which leads
them to other ways of learning; consequently,
teachers use new ways to facilitate learning,
clinging to trying to impose what is already
known (Villa, 2017).
In the words of Villa (2017), “it seems that there
is an absolute hegemony of normality [...] that
prevents rethinking the way [how] the subjects
of education are conceived” (p. 119), assuming
them as people who are the object of teaching
and not as subjects who daily build their being.
Hence, it is necessary to constantly reect
on the teaching practice and even more so,
when it occurs amid groups of students where
there is a presence of disabling conditions,
understanding that it is not about treating them
dierently, but about developing an inclusive
practice to cover everyone in a general way,
avoiding uncomfortable situations that, on many
occasions, generate student desertion.
In the Colombian context, according to the gures
provided by the Basic and Secondary Education
Student Enrollment System (SIMAT), for the
year 2018, there were 180,743 students with
disabilities registered in schools throughout the
country, “of which only 5.4% [reached] the level
of higher education […] and only 1.7% of people
with disabilities nished university education”
(Fundación Saldarriaga Concha, 2018, para. 3).
Bermúdez et al. (2009) rearm the above and
express that the initial access to education for
people with disabilities is noticeably reduced,
decreasing more and more when the transition
is made between basic and higher education:
More than answering to an institutional
guideline, inclusion has often arisen from
teachers interested in the subject, or it is
generated as a response to the case of students
who have entered and present particular
demands for support and accompaniment to
the university. (p. 51)
Pedagogical aention strategies in students with visual impairment
Arnoldo Rafael Rodríguez Noriega
Gustavo Adolfo González Roys
Leonardo Enrique Martínez Arredondo
Based on all these descriptions, as well as on
data obtained through an initial observation
carried out at the Universidad Popular del Cesar
(UPC), located in the municipality of Valledupar,
in Colombia, features of a problem related to
teacher attention and interaction are evident
in the classrooms of this higher education
institution with students with disabilities,
specically those with total visual impairment
or reduced vision. Among the possible causes,
the lack of preparation on the part of teachers
for classroom work was raised, as well as the
administrative body in its interaction with them;
likewise, the inadequate infrastructure of the
classrooms and the available resources that
the teacher uses as support in the classroom,
and so on. Consequently, each student in
these conditions faces physical, structural, and
pedagogical barriers, together with those of an
emotional and psychological nature, which hinder
the development of the educational process at
the university level and the relationships that
exist there, negatively aecting learning.
Added to this is the non-compliance with laws,
decrees, and agreements stipulated in the
Colombian national territory, such as the case of
Statutory Law 1680 of 2013, which establishes
the provisions to guarantee the full exercise of
the rights of persons with disabilities, but the
reality is very far from what is proposed and
stated on paper. Therefore, it is assumed that
a ssure in the organizational system does not
allow the adequate conguration of an inclusive
educational community. From this circumstance,
the fact of the investigation is born, which aims
to identify causes, consequences, and possible
contributions to meet latent needs in this
controversial and pressing issue.
When visually impaired students enter the
university with the aim of training and growing
personally and professionally, they face a series
of problems in the classroom. To verify this,
the Department of Inclusive Education of the
UPC provided this information: the entity has
managed some resources, certain tools, and
physical space to benet this student population,
but, despite this, most teachers do not have
adequate training to deliver appropriate care.
From the above, the following question arose:
What is the signicance of the pedagogical
attention strategies in students with visual
disabilities of the UPC, Sabanas headquarter,
in the municipality of Valledupar in attention
to the principles of equality and equity? And,
from it derived the purposes that made it
possible to guide the research process around
the general objective, related to understanding
the importance of these pedagogical attention
strategies in the classroom.
For this, in the context of this higher education
institution, it was necessary to issue the following
specic objectives:
• Recognize the principles of educational
inclusion related to people with visual
• Identify the conditions, needs, and interests
of students with visual disabilities.
• Analyze the pedagogical practices in the
teaching and learning processes for the
attention of students with visual disabilities.
• Assess the signicance of pedagogical
attention strategies for students with visual
disabilities at the Universidad Popular del
Given the need to investigate the area of
inclusive education and, especially visual
impairment, the importance, utility, and benet
that this type of study brings to the mentioned
population becomes evident, to be attended
as a notorious party and active link of the
conguration or socio-educational structure. In
addition to this purpose of inclusion of diversity,
the process of dignifying and making visible
a population minority is necessarily touched,
which constitutes an important task through its
contribution to the construction of an awareness
of equality and respect for the rights of each
human being, regardless of the dierences. The
use of each strategy and resource is called upon
to supply the critical points that make academic
life a traumatic and frustrating episode in the
training of students with disabilities, especially
in specic cases of visual impairment. Thus, it
would be contributing to the primary purpose
of pedagogical research, which touches the
bers of the social network and emerges as an
impetuous need for change in latent models and
paradigms today.
The investigative process was supported by
several studies. On the international stage,
the contributions of Ocampo (2018), Fajardo
(2017), Medina (2016), and García et al.
(2016) provide valuable data on the subject of
educational inclusion from their contexts and
point as a whole to the search and achievement
of a more integral, supportive, and fair
education. In the Colombian national scenario,
the works developed by Arizabaleta and Ochoa
(2016), Aguirre (2016), Zárate-Rueda et al.
Pedagogical aention strategies in students with visual impairment
Arnoldo Rafael Rodríguez Noriega
Gustavo Adolfo González Roys
Leonardo Enrique Martínez Arredondo
(2017), Velandia et al. (2018), and Duarte et al.
(2019) allow us to notice the need to continue
investigating the educational inclusion at the
level of higher education of students with visual
disabilities, since, most of the time, they are
complex life stories, loaded with suering both
at personal, family, and social level.
After having made a tour of the categories of
the study, two major themes are highlighted:
inclusive education and pedagogical attention
for students with visual disabilities. The rst
represents the transformation and adaptation
necessary for education for all, as expressed by
UNESCO (2009):
Inclusive education is a process of
strengthening the capacity of the education
system to reach out to all learners and thus
can be understood as a key strategy to
achieve education for all (EFA). As an overall
principle, it should guide all educational
policies and practices, starting from the fact
that education is a basic human right and the
foundation for a more just and equal society.
(p. 9)
In Colombia, inclusive education is assumed
as a determining process that recognizes
the dierences in human diversity. In the
regulations, through Decree 1421 of 2017,
article, numeral 7, the Colombian
State denes inclusive education as follows:
A permanent process that recognizes,
values, and responds in a pertinent manner
to the diversity of characteristics, interests,
possibilities, and expectations of girls, boys,
adolescents, youth, and adults, whose
objective is to promote their development,
learning, and participation with same-age
peers, in a common learning environment,
without any discrimination or exclusion, and
that guarantees, within the framework of
human rights, the support and reasonable
adjustments required in their educational
process, through practices, policies, and
cultures that eliminate existing barriers in
the educational environment. (p. 5)
Considering the above, it becomes evident that
the Ministerio de Educación Nacional (MEN),
by presenting this document of technical,
administrative, and pedagogical indications
for inclusion, oers a normative foundation in
response to the need to work on the concept of
inclusion and to determine theoretical support
for academic work. On the other hand, it is
convenient to clarify the dierence between
educational inclusion and inclusive education,
since they are concepts that, at rst glance,
seem to have the same meaning, but they
are not. In this regard, Arizabaleta and Ochoa
(2016) state: “Inclusive education is far from
educational inclusion, by including all students
in diverse and inclusive classrooms [...], with
the support of management, administrative,
nancial, academic, and community of the
Colombian HEIs” (p. 42).
The authors clarify that educational inclusion
refers to the incorporation of a minority group
of students into the classroom and inclusive
education opens the range of opportunities for
all students, without distinction of any nature,
considering all areas and spaces that cover
education. Hence the relevance of working with
inclusive education and not with educational
inclusion, since it is a question, in the case
that occupies this research, that students with
visual disabilities are attended with the same
prerogatives as their other classmates.
Hence the relevance of working with inclusive
education and not with educational inclusion,
since it is a question, in the case that occupies this
research, that students with visual disabilities
are attended with the same prerogatives as
their other classmates.
In this way, it is interpreted that higher education
institutions in Colombia must oer students with
any type of disability, the possibility of access,
permanence, and educational quality, following
the guidelines of the inclusive higher education
policy of the MEN (2013), as a task of social
commitment, since:
By transcending the strictly academic and
curricular to focus on the very constitution
of the social, inclusive education has as its
central objective, to examine the barriers
to learning and participation typical of the
entire system. In higher education, it is not
the students who must change to access,
remain, and graduate; it is the system itself
that must be transformed to address the
richness implicit in student diversity. (p. 18)
Based on this vision, when a student reaches
higher education under the framework of
inclusive education, positive results could be
seen in the training and inclusion processes, not
only at an academic level but also at a human
and social level. However, given what is stated
in the guidelines from the observations in the
context of reality, the educational system leads
the students with disabilities to adapt to what
the institution oers them, without taking into
Pedagogical aention strategies in students with visual impairment
Arnoldo Rafael Rodríguez Noriega
Gustavo Adolfo González Roys
Leonardo Enrique Martínez Arredondo
account or adapting conveniently and relevantly
to their needs.
Considering the normative guidelines, education
for disabilities under the framework of educational
inclusion must aim at students with these
conditions and take into account all aspects that
are related to it. In other words, educational
policies and the educational process, in general,
must be designed for this historically excluded
population, with similar educational needs to
those of their other peers. However, students
with disabilities must overcome barriers that
make the pedagogical training processes dicult.
Being part of a system that, operationally, does
not consider the needs of this population and
adjusts to pre-established student models,
relegates the practice of including students with
visual disabilities to a lesser level.
Regarding the subject of pedagogical attention
for students with visual disabilities, pedagogical
accompaniment is required, based on the
identication of particular situations, so that
adequate strategies can be designed that oer
signicant experiences for their learning, also
allowing adequate follow-up to the educational
process from the teaching action. Therefore, it can
be ensured that the educational practice directed
at the attention of visual disabilities involves
a constant challenge and, at the same time,
proposes the construction of specic parameters
to interact adequately in educational settings.
In the particular case of visual impairment,
pedagogical practices must respond to the needs
for access to information, comprehensiveness
in the educational environment, and equal
opportunities within reasonable adjustments to
diversity, to the point of obtaining good learning
and training outcomes. It can be ensured that a
large percentage of the information received is
derived from sight, which is an insurmountable
challenge faced by students with visual
disabilities. In this regard, Hernández et al.
(2019) state:
80% of the information we receive throughout
the day is through the visual system. When
we look at something, we not only see with
our eyes but we inspect, distinguish, identify,
and interpret everything as part of the visual
system. (p. 2)
Consequently, adequately caring for a visually
impaired student demands an ethical, moral,
professional, and human commitment, which
implies recognizing the value and importance of
knowing their needs, just as it is done with other
students. By understanding this, the teacher
commits him/herself to the student’s learning,
begins to adapt his/her practice to the particular
needs of this through a detailed study, and
congures a teaching process adapted to them.
Teachers represent an irreplaceable and
transversal role in the adequate management
of students with visual disabilities; in their
practices, they become the pillar of an adequate
direction that points towards academic-
formative growth, for which the inclusive
resources of an institution are essential in the
teaching and learning processes. Educational
work should be oriented towards breaking down
the barriers faced by this class of students
when they venture into the spheres of higher
education, where the academic requirement is
headed for the training and development of the
autonomy of a competent professional, leader in
their professional and occupational prole.
Strategies in the classroom and access to
information are essential points to manage
academic encounters with students who are blind
or have low vision, which limits their autonomy
in the learning process; this forces the teacher
to resignify his/her practices, for their benet;
so, it is pertinent that the management starts
from an approach to their particular needs
and, based on the observation and analysis of
their characteristics, provides specic supports
under the use of resources such as typhlological
ones and, in turn, a disposition by adapt their
pedagogical practices towards the needs of
students with visual impairment.
Previous considerations allow us to appreciate
the complexity of the academic work that the
attention of sight-impaired students represents.
In the sense of strategies, understanding them
as those actions that the teacher executes in their
behavior in the classroom, Andrade and Yepes
(2020) provide guidelines for their development,
determining them into two typologies: the rst,
directed at the description of visual images,
objects, and situations, bearing in mind that,
through it, the most representative features of
what is being shown are outlined; for example,
tables, charts, maps, drawings, among others;
in this way, “the description is, perhaps, one
of the most used strategies in the classroom
context to facilitate the understanding of the
subject that the teacher develops at a certain
moment” (p. 9).
The second strategy is oriented to the
verbalization of the texts that are written on
the board. At this point, the MEN urges teachers
to express and read what they are writing on
Pedagogical aention strategies in students with visual impairment
Arnoldo Rafael Rodríguez Noriega
Gustavo Adolfo González Roys
Leonardo Enrique Martínez Arredondo
the board, whether they are texts, numbers,
symbols, and/or formulas. In this sense,
verbalization “is a strategy that benets, not
only students with visual disabilities but also
students who are located in the last positions
in the classroom” (Andrade & Yepes, 2020, p.
10). In the case of numerical exercises, it is
extremely important to emphasize reading, in
cases such as parentheses, announcing their
opening and closing, as well as the use of the
signs of mathematical operations.
On the other hand, Bromberg et al. (2016)
propose relying on recordings for the design
of strategies, since sight-impaired students
not only collect and store information but also
maintain attention, being able to discriminate
later with more time available, the voices and
sounds they heard in the classroom, enabling
them to be analytical and critical. These speech-
focused strategies also allow everyone to
participate, regardless of their vision capacity,
and complement the use of “tactile, information
in Braille, use of large print, high contrast, voice
synthesis programs in the computer, among
others” (p. 68). Additionally, they suggest:
Deliver in advance, as far as possible,
the program of the subject, the list of
bibliographies to consult, and the class
material. The most operative thing is to do it
in digital format so that they can read it with
the help of new technologies. (p. 71)
On another side, the signicance of promoting
proper treatment among classmates must be
addressed, since everyone’s support is required
to achieve the goals of inclusion in the classroom.
On this aspect, Luque and Luque-Rojas (2014)
propose the reection:
… on some intervention guidelines in
teaching action towards a positive classroom
climate, in personal and social interaction,
particularly with the disabled partner, based
on the acceptance of dierence, providing
collaboration and help in a cooperative, fair,
and respectful exchange with people, values
that must be shared by the entire community.
(p. 5)
Thus, teachers are called to become generators
and managers of a favorable space and healthy
coexistence, both for the growth and for the
educational training of students with visual
disabilities; this requires them to operate in a
communicative and interactive dimension that
transforms their work into something more
complex, that goes beyond action since it
constitutes an ethical and social commitment,
typical of education.
Pedagogical practices are one of the most
important parts of the educational work of the
agents who will manage or manage inclusive
classrooms […]. Practices located within the
educational and social context are those that
give a central axis to education, since from
there the steps to follow in the classroom will
be implemented, how the already established
practices will be directed, and a new paradigm
of educational inclusion [that seeks to know
the current practices under the light of
inclusion] will be transformed. (Carrillo, et al.
2017, p. 4)
As a consequence, constantly reected
pedagogical practices are needed, where the
projection and development of the classes
are based on the needs and particularities of
all students in general, especially those with
specic requirements, such as those with
visual disabilities, strategically outlining the
learning from the dierent ways of approaching
The research was framed in the interpretive
paradigm, in the phenomenological approach,
supported by three stages: descriptive,
structural, and information analysis. As data
collection techniques, participant observation
and in-depth interviews were used. The work
unit was made up of two students with visual
disabilities and two teachers linked to the UPC,
Sabanas headquarter.
2. Methodology
The development of the research was guided
by the phenomenological method, as a way
to search for knowledge in the reality of
pedagogical attention strategies in students
with visual disabilities at the UPC, Sabanas
headquarter. The investigation was focused on
understanding how social actors (teachers and
students) conceive these strategies, to know
from their own experiences, what their behavior
has been in the face of this phenomenon when
considering their experiences in the classroom.
In this sense, it was necessary to design the
investigative process through a sequence of
empirical, theoretical, and methodological
actions, typical of the interpretive paradigm
and thus, build the structures that allowed the
phenomenon to be addressed. Under this vision,
the procedure of this study was dened, adapting
the investigative work to the stages proposed