Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Expected Roles Inside a Mainstreamed Classroom for Deaf

The collaboration of subject teachers and SLIs is a primary expectation of the school. They are co-responsible for the education of all students in their class. Both should determine the overall learning ability and needs of Deaf students. Both are responsible for assisting students in their class to develop the competence in the subject area, developing and implementing teaching styles, best practices and right-based strategies that address the learning needs of students in a mainstreamed set up, ensuring appropriate support, assessment and reporting for their Deaf students’ achievements.

How can subject teachers and sign language interpreters work together? 
   Subject teachers in the ANHS always face the challenge of involving Deaf students in mainstream learning. Therefore information about how the child is reacting in class, what the class is doing, where the child appears to encounter difficulties, etc. are some concerns needed by teachers in order to provide equal access in learning the lesson s/he is teaching. By working together with an sli, teachers can ensure that the student is helped to integrate into the learning environment and even the social life of the school. The objective of such collaboration is to ensure that the Deaf students can understand class routines (e.g. academic tasks, discipline, etc.); equip the Deaf learners with knowledge of the rules and procedures of the school so that s/he does not unwittingly infringe them; help the pupil to understand different norms of behaviour that may exist in the new culture/society (in classroom, school, etc.); help to build the confidence and self-esteem of the pupil who may feel different, excluded and less able than those around him or her. 

   Miss Buenaventura also emphasized the importance of providing the SLI with learning materials before the class begins so that the SLI can prepare herself of what will transpire for the day. Similarly, teachers expect that the all SLIs will be faithful in reading their lesson plans provided for them and in case that there are terminologies that are not readily understood they are open for a discussion with the SLIs.

The speaker, Miss Buenaventura highlighted points to classroom teachers responsibilities inside a mainstreamed class like introducing the partner SLI to the class; not to expect the SLI to assume any instructional responsibilities; encourage Deaf students to participate in the class given appropriate time to answer the question/s thrown by teachers; write required projects, homeworks on the board or better yet provide students with a handouts as visual reminders and not to expect the SLI to discipline the students for you.

What is the valuable role of the Sign Language Interpreter? 
   The primary responsibility of the SLI is to support the learners' academic development so that s/he can gradually gain access to the curriculum, ultimately achieving the same educational opportunities as their speaking peers. This is achieved by working in collaboration with the mainstream subject teacher to set relevant and achievable learning targets for each learner; preparing the pupil, on an on-going basis, to access mainstream learning; helping the learner to develop appropriate strategies and skills to support future education in general; and prepare and support the Deaf learners in accessing classroom learning and socializing with peers. The language support teacher, however,  cannot teach the curriculum and this remains the role and
responsibility of the mainstream teacher. Learners spend the greater part of their time in the mainstream classroom and a flow of information between the mainstream teacher and the SLI is necessary. ANHS faculty commented that SLI should inform the subject teachers if the Deaf learner/s wanted to repeat what is being taught after missing some cues from the SLI or if the teacher pacing is too fast for the SLI to interpret. Teachers also expect that SLI could provide them with feedback if the learners understand the lesson or even appreciate it. 

Miss Buenaventura, being a professional for 25 years, emphasized the following to SLIs who are present on that day to be on time to class; become familiar with any vocabulary since SLIs are provided with lesson plans by teachers; do not assume the teachers' role; do not do work for students; secure the teachers attention if necessary and tell her that the student has a question; encourage students to write assignments without depending on SLI for a reminder.

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