The presenters are Dr. Laurene Simms and Susanne Scott of Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center. They are experts in bilingual education using both spoken English and American Sign Language in classrooms that serve Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.
This is a great opportunity for Oklahoma educators who work with Deaf and Hard of Hearing students to hear from nationally renowned experts in Deaf Education on how to implement bilingual and bimodal teaching strategies in the Deaf Education classroom! We hope to see many of you there!
Every year Dr. Baker and Jessica Scott travel to the Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACEDHH) conference. This year we were lucky that the conference was hosted so close by – in St. Louis, MO! As with every year, we had a wonderful time connecting with old colleagues and meeting new friends! The conference hotel was very close by the beautiful arch, so we had a wonderful view out of our hotel room window!
The conference this year provided us with no shortage of ideas to implement in our classrooms and in the reading clinic. Jessica learned about an assessment of reading fluency and comprehension designed specifically for Deaf/Hard of Hearing children that can be administered in less than 5 minutes on an iPad. The assessment was created by Dr. Susan Rose at the University of Minnesota. So far this is making a great new addition to our instruction in the reading clinic! We also learned about systems in place to help pre-service Deaf Education teachers reflect on their American Sign Language abilities, which we hope to implement this year. The keynote speaker also told us about the importance of writing as a part of the learning process (as well as learning in shorter bursts over longer periods of time instead of learning a new skill or concept in one long session).
The end of the first night was a social hour where we got to catch up with old friends. It was so wonderful to be in the company of distinguished researchers and teacher educators who are all working to improve the education of pre-service teachers, as well as Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. This was not the only social opportunity, of course. The second night Jessica attended the bilingual Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting, where she was able to visit with professors and doctoral students from Gallaudet University, Columbia University Teacher’s College, and Lamar University, among others. All of these professionals are interested in the bilingual and bimodal development of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, and a number of wonderful and fascinating conversations were had. And additionally, a former student from TU, Jessie Menchak is living in St. Louis and earning her master’s in counseling and an AA in interpreting. She was able to meet up with us for several days of the conference and attend the bilingual SIG social as well. It is always so nice to hear from past students and see how they are doing for post-TU life!
On Friday morning, Jessica and Dr. Baker presented a poster on the challenges of conducting research in schools for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing, which was very well received. In fact, several superintendents of schools shared that they wished all researchers thought about these issues, and a representative of the National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities asked Jessica if she would be a guest lecturer to share this information with doctoral students in the field of Deaf Education!
The ACE-DHH conference is always a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues and researchers across the country who are interested in the same issues that we are here at TU. Who wants to join us next year in New York??
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!
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!
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!
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 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!
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!
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.
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!