Category Archives: Learn About TU

Learn About TU: Learning ASL

Welcome back to another installment of Learn About TU! Today we will explore how our undergraduate students learn American Sign Language (ASL) in our program.

Our Deaf Education majors come to our university with a variety of levels of experience with ASL – some have Deaf family members who use ASL, or are Deaf themselves. Some began learning ASL in primary or secondary school. Some come to TU without ever having taken an ASL course! Our goal is to make sure that all of our graduates are fluent signers before they leave our campus.

This starts, of course, with ASL classes. Here at TU we use the Signing Naturally curriculum, and students taken ASL Levels I, II, III, and IV. In terms of formal course work, we also recommend that students take some more advanced ASL classes and interpreting classes at Tulsa Community College, which has a great interpreter training program and some wonderful professors!

We also get our students out into the Deaf Community as often as possible – we believe that this opportunity to interact with fluent and native signers is essential to ASL acquisition. Students must attend community events for ASL classes, and also must clock an additional 45 hours of community events prior to graduation through practicum courses. This is in addition to the 105 classroom practicum hours and a full semester of student teaching in environments that use ASL. Finally, our advanced methods course in teaching Deaf/Hard of Hearing students is taught entirely in ASL so that students have the opportunity for more advanced, academic ASL.

And after all this work to build ASL fluency, how is it evaluated? In the spring of junior year, our students attend a two week long practicum at a school for the Deaf. During this practicum, we arrange for their signing skills to be evaluated by a Deaf professional. These reports help both us and our students understand where their strengths are and what they need to work on further before graduation.

So there you have it! In our program you learn not only how to teach Deaf/Hard of Hearing children, but we also work hard to support you as you learn a new language!

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Learn About TU: Student Teaching!

Hello readers! We at TU are excited to be starting a new semester. We hope everyone is feeling refreshed after winter break! There are a lot of upcoming events we are excited about – the continuation of our reading clinic in February, the Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACE-DHH) conference in St. Louis, and the International Reading Association (IRA) conference, where professor Jessica Scott will become the official president for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Special Interest Group, just to name a few! You will be sure to hear about them in the coming months.

But in the interest of getting prepared for a new semester, here is another installment of Learn About TU! Because we have three seniors doing their student teaching at the moment, let’s take a few minutes to learn about the student teaching experience.

Deaf Education majors graduate with the potential to earn an N-12 teaching certificate in the state of Oklahoma. Because of this wide range of grade levels, student teaching is typically divided into two experiences, one lasting 7 weeks and the other lasting 8 weeks.

For one placement, we strongly encourage students to stay at the Kansas School for the Deaf, an amazing bilingual school only four hours from TU’s campus. Students are typically placed in either elementary, middle, or high school. Our student teachers also get to stay in the KSD dorms, which gives them an amazing opportunity to interact with students outside of the classroom and improve their ASL skills. As part of the agreement for staying in the dorms, student teachers will also typically work at an after school program – this may include academic tutoring, coaching, supervising clubs, and so forth. One of the Deaf Education professors will visit KSD campus towards the end of the internship to observe lessons and give feedback.

The second placement is typically within the Tulsa Public Schools, either in a self-contained elementary, middle or high school classroom, or placement with an itinerant teacher.

Students completing their student teaching get a wide array of invaluable experiences that will prepare them for teaching, including planning and teaching units and lessons, assessing students, implementing behavior management plans, observing experienced teachers at work, observing Individualized Education Plan meetings, coaching or sponsoring clubs, attending faculty workshops and development opportunities, and much more! All of our student teachers are in their second semester of their senior year.

If you have any questions about the student teaching experience, or about the Deaf Education program in general, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our faculty!

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!

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!