Rubens Ferronato

State School Dom Pedro II

Brazil

Rubens  Ferronato

After almost failing his college subjects, Rubens transformed his results by looking at how to apply mathematics in practice, just as his father, a surveyor, had done. He went on to use his methods in teaching maths with great success.

When Rubens had a blind student in his class he discovered that traditional teaching methods didn’t work. So he taught by describing the information, as though all his students were blind, and discovered that every student found his lessons easier to understand. When it came to teaching tables and graphs, Rubens could find nothing to help until he visited a building supply store. He saw a perforated plaque, visualized a Cartesian plane and simply added rivets and elastics to draw graphs. The student told him: “You didn´t invent a material just for me but for all the blind students in the world, it is what was missing to learn math.”

This was the start of Rubens’ project “Math Teaching for Blind Students”. Since 2000 it has been changing the maths teaching method across Brazil.

Rubens called his new tool Multiplano. It is approved, authorized and recommended by the Brazilian Ministry of Education, and it’s being applied in more than 200 schools with more than 1200 qualified teachers in all regions of Brazil. Research into the effectiveness of Multiplano has shown that blind students who used Multiplano were able to pass their college/university entrance examination, finish higher education and they are now employed and supporting themselves, while those without the tool had struggled to enter further education and find work. Rubens and his researchers conclude that Multiplano promotes the social and economic inclusion of visually impaired students by guaranteeing an understanding of the principles and knowledge of math.