End of semester catch-up

Wow, it has been a long time since this blog was updated – over a month! Sorry for the delay, the semester really got away from us here at TU. Jessica (the main updater on this blog) has been writing her dissertation this semester alongside teaching responsibilities, so we haven’t updated as much as we would have liked. So, here we are once again to tell you a little bit about our semester here!

First of all, our students have been active at the TU sporting events – members of DeafTU, our university club, have been signing the national anthem at all of our football home games. Pictured below are senior Deaf Ed majors Shawna and Erin, and sophomore Deaf Ed major Karen, just after the opener!

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Speaking of sports, Jessica Scott was voted Most Valuable Professor for the second year in a row – this year from the Women’s Soccer team! Thank you, ladies!

Ok, next up is the reading clinic. As many of you know, we got our grant to help fund the reading clinic this fall, and things have been going very well! We having 6 students being tutored this semester, and have been able to order scores of new books, assessments, games and other materials to use. And to follow up with even better news, 12 students have enrolled in Literacy and the Deaf Child in the spring – which means 12 students will get tutoring, and perhaps even more if the previously trained tutors sign up to work in the spring as well! A visitor from the Oklahoma State Regents, through which the grant was procured, was very successful, and we were encouraged to apply again for the grant next year. Wonderful news!

We’ve also had some visitors  to TU this semester! We already told you about Dr. Kim Wolbers and her work with SIWI – Strategic Interactive Writing Instruction. Her former doctoral student, and current professor at UConn,

Dr. Hannah Dostal teaches us about SIWI!
Dr. Hannah Dostal teaches us about SIWI!

Dr. Hannah Dostal came to Tulsa as well to give a hands-on workshop for teachers and students on how to implement SIWI in the classroom. We are so lucky to have had such wonderful visitors!

DeafTU also hosted our first ASL Live Lab this semester – we had a Halloween party for the Tulsa Deaf Community and ASL students from both TU and TCC. There was candy, games, costumes, and lots of wonderful conversation. Thanks to everyone who came out – and a reminder that TCC will be hosting their own Live Lab this Friday night – a Thanksgiving party! We hope many of our students will support TCC the way they supported our Halloween party!

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Students exploring the flavor, look, and feel of apples!

Finally, this will have its own update later on, but Dr. Baker’s Language Development class had the pleasure of completing Language Experience Activity lessons with the elementary schoolers at Wright! Her TU students created lessons on pumpkins and apples, and the children had the opportunity to explore, feel, taste, and build vocabulary around these delicious fall foods! A student or two will be writing about this experience soon, but in the meantime, here are a few pictures!

Tonya, a Deaf Education junior, ready for her Language Experience Activity!
Tonya, a Deaf Education junior, ready for her Language Experience Activity!
Two language students in the midst of their Language Experience Activity on pumpkins!
Two language students in the midst of their Language Experience Activity on pumpkins!

Happy end of fall semester everyone!!

Learn About TU: Travel to Gallaudet

Welcome to our second installment in the Learn About TU for potential Deaf Education majors! Today we will be talking about a unique experience available for our senior level Deaf Education majors: Travel to Gallaudet!

By the time they are seniors, our Deaf Education students have done a lot to inform their understanding of Deaf Education and their ASL skills. They have taken ASL levels 1-4, almost all of the Deaf Education teaching methods classes (including Introduction to Deaf Education, Language Development with Deaf Students, Literacy Development with Deaf Students, and Methods of Teaching the Deaf, among others!), and many courses with the school of education.

So what better way to continue to improve ASL skills and teaching knowledge than with a trip to Gallaudet, the only liberal arts college for Deaf/Hard of Hearing students? Our students travel with a faculty member or two to the university, usually sometime in November. We try to schedule this trip around presentations from the Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) research group, which is NSF-funded. Students also get the opportunity to meet professors in the Gallaudet Education department, and possibly even visit classes at the university! The whole trip lasts around 5 or 6 days, and is really an invaluable opportunity for our majors.

The course is worth one credit, but the experience of being on an all-Deaf campus is worth much more! This year we have three seniors visiting Gallaudet in November, and we can’t wait to hear about their experiences!

Have more questions about Travel to Gallaudet, or the TU Deaf Education program in general? Please contact our faculty!

Strategic Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI)

Last night (Monday, September 8, 2014), we at University of Tulsa were lucky enough to have Dr. Kim Wolbers, a professor in Deaf Education from University of Tennessee, join us for a talk on her program – the Strategic Interactive Writing Program (SIWI). Not only did our Deaf Education students join us for this unique opportunity, but local teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing from K-12 schools and the local community college also were able to come by.

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Dr. Wolbers presents about SIWI.

Dr. Wolber’s program is a unique one, which focuses on language development in both ASL and English (when it is implemented in signing schools) and encourages students to use resources from their stronger language to help inform their comprehension and expressive abilities in their developing language. During her presentation, she emphasized the importance of not asking leading questions as this risks misunderstanding of students – instead, as they try to describe their experiences, ask neutral questions that will bring out a mutual understanding of what really happened between the teacher and the student.  Through this program, students first have the opportunity to share what they know and have experienced through signing (if the child uses sign language), and then with the support of the teacher transfer this understanding into conventional English. Although the program focuses on upper elementary students and older, she has seen it in action with children as young as pre-kindergarten age.

Dr. Wolbers is a world class researcher and professor. All of us at TU are so grateful that she was able to share some of her time with us! We can’t wait to see more of this type of instruction in action!

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Learn About TU: Practicum Experiences

This post will be the first in a series of installments that we will hope will be helpful to our readers out there who are current or future students who want to learn more about particular aspects of our Deaf Education program here at University of Tulsa. Today we will start with an invaluable experience: Practicum,

All schools of education require students to complete a certain number of practicum hours in order to graduate. We are certainly no exception, although the way the Deaf Ed program does practicum is a little unique.

Starting in their junior year, students will be engaged in three different practicum courses, one per semester. One of those will be in an elementary setting, another will be in a secondary setting, and the third may vary from person to person, depending on their interests. Most (but not all!) of our practicum students are placed in the Tulsa Public School District, in one of the public schools that has a Deaf Ed program. As a practicum student, you will observe and support the teacher doing lessons, but also create your own bulletin board (or other visual display), teach your own lesson, and possibly tutor a student.

But that’s not all! In our program we feel that teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing need to really get to know the Deaf Community – so every practicum experience has Deaf Community experience built in! We hope this will support our students’ understanding of ASL, as well as of Deaf culture before they enter the classroom as teachers.

Many of our students visit Kansas School for the Deaf, an amazing residential school, for a two week intensive practicum after the end of junior year as their third practicum site. But other students take on local practicums with itinerant teachers, early intervention programs, or ASL teachers. It is our goal that all these experiences will give our students all the skills they need to be successful teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the future!

New school year!

Hello readers!
We hope that you all had a fabulous and relaxing summer and are ready to start a new school year! We at the Deaf Education program at University of Tulsa had a wonderful and productive summer, and are ready to hit the ground running for the new school year. We just wanted to share some updates with all of you!

Dr. Baker spent the summer giving trainings at schools for the deaf on language development and how to use the new tool she developed with colleagues at Gallaudet University and Lamar University. Her travels brought her to Kansas and to Pennsylvania.

Jessica Scott spent most of her time close to home working on various projects in Tulsa, including planning a 5K race to benefit the Total Source for Hearing-loss and Access. She also traveled out of state to collect data for her dissertation!

This year we are looking forward to a number of things:

1. Meeting new Deaf Education students, of course!

2. Learning whether we have received the grant for our reading clinic, and if so, getting that up and running again

3. Attending the Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACEDHH) in nearby St. Louis

4. Jessica returning again to St. Louis for the International Reading Association conference to present her doctoral research and become chair of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Special Interest Group.

5. Seeing several of our amazing Deaf Education majors graduating this spring and entering the field!

6. Cooler weather! (Last on the list, but it is pretty hot and will be nice to get some more bearable weather!!)

What are you looking forward to most for this academic year? Are there any upcoming events that we should also be excited about that we missed? We want to hear from you!

Deaf Education at the University of Tulsa

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