Collecting Oral Histories Regarding Braille

As part of a project involving USC Upstate’s Special Education – Visual Impairment program and the University of South Carolina Center for Digital Humanities, I’ll be helping to gather oral histories from individuals all over the state covering their experiences with braille: teachers, students, adults, children, parents, friends…

One of the undergraduate student assistants on the project, Rashad Morgan, generated the following questions, which I think are good ones. However, we’d appreciate feedback from anyone who has some experience with oral histories. For one thing, I suspect that we currently have too many questions.

Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Ice Breakers

  1. In one minute or less, tell me about you?
  2. What are some of your hobbies or things you enjoy doing?
  3. Who is your favorite person in the world to be with?
  4. How long have you known them?
  5. Are you nervous or worried about being interviewed? (If they are, then try to comfort them.)

Questions for Older Individuals

  1. What are your feelings about braille and how do you use braille in your daily life?
  2. What is one of your favorite memories about learning braille?
  3. How long did it take for you to learn to read braille?
  4. What advice would you give to other people who are learning braille?
  5. What was the most difficult thing about learning braille and why?
  6. Looking back, what, if anything, could have been done to make your experience learning braille easier or go more smoothly?
  7. How do you feel about reading braille either in conjunction or instead of print?
  8. Does it ever make you feel awkward or different from everybody else?
  9. Does reading and writing in braille make life more challenging? If so, what are some of the challenges?

Questions for Younger Individuals

  1. What are your feelings about braille and how do you use braille in your daily life?
  2. What are some of the fun things about learning and using braille?
  3. Do you have braille books that you enjoy reading?
  4. If so, what are your favorites?
  5. What is one of your favorite memories about learning braille?
  6. What was the most difficult thing about learning braille and why?
  7. What advice would you give to other people who are learning braille?
  8. How do you feel in the classroom when you read braille and others use print?
  9. Do other students and/or others treat you differently because you are different from them or because you read braille?
  10. Do you have friends that read braille too?
  11. What are your favorite things to do together?
  12. Do you have older friends or family members who read braille?
  13. Do you feel comfortable asking them for help? Why or why not?
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