Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Transforming New Strategies from Research into Practice - Alan Hurwitz

What are the factors that make deaf education successful?

We have the responsibility to translate research into practice. For example how we can apply this in classrooms around the world. This is note easy, because research findings can cause a debate which not all agree on. But we must make an attempt to come to an agreement.

We must look at our currrent knowledge and use it accordingly. The research findings must inspire us to change.

VL2 is a research project that focuses on visual language and visual learning. There are deaf and hearing researchers working together from different universities. The aim of the project is to focus on how D/HH children learn through visual modalities. In addition, to bilingual education: how do D/HH children learn ASL and English. In short, how do D/HH children acquire knowledge in different educational settings (mainstream, deaf schools, etc). The important research question in the project how can D/HH children acquire a visual language and how can they best acquire reading and writing skills. Such as how does the brain cope with two languages.

The findings show that Deaf children have a strong visual sensitivity, this is the way they learn. Deaf children process information differently than hearing children: through a visual channel instead of an auditory channel. The findings in the project must help us understand how to teach D/HH children in for example math, language learning, etc.

It is important that D/HH children as soon as they are diagnosed with a hearing loss that sign language is offered, to help them in their learning process. Early auditory screening helps to identify the hearing loss at an early age. Unfortunately many countries do not have the resources to assist in this early identification.

Many parents want their D/HH children to receive a CI. With this development we have to think on how this  impacts the education of the children.

The children who are identified early and are offered sign language and other support services, have a chance of a greater success in education. Deaf parents are in generally scared of the influence that sign language might have on the development of spoken language. But research has shown that this has no negative impact on the spoken language development of the D/HH child.

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