Once qualified, teachers of the deaf may find themselves working in unfamiliar settings or taking on additional responsibilities. Support can be offered by way of regular input or one-off meetings to help develop appropriate skills or strategies, for example in encouraging deaf children’s literacy skills.
Support/mentoring for Teachers of the Deaf in training or recently qualified
We understand that training as a ToD is demanding and often undertaken in isolated settings. Our Consultants can offer regular one-to-one tutorials to reinforce topics being studied and hands-on training in the use of audiological equipment, as well as support by telephone or email for queries as they arise.
Mentoring Support for a Trainee Teacher of the Deaf
The pilot September – mid-February
The student had just started a two-year Mandatory Qualification course and had no previous experience of deaf children. The local authority agreed to meet our Consultant’s travel and subsistence costs and to undertake a joint review of the pilot.
Our Consultant provided meetings and scheduled email/telephone support, equivalent to one day each month. The focus of the meetings was planned with the student to address identified training needs and included discussions, hands-on training or shadowed visits to education settings or homes. Resources and reading materials were suggested and loaned. Support time to totalled eight days (10 working days including the Consultant’s travel time).
Programme of support
Our Consultant and the student each drafted a list of areas to be covered. Our Consultant put hers in order of priority to ensure that the student progressively gained confidence in her research and practice. The student identified immediate concerns (some emanating from the course), understanding the bigger picture of hearing impairment service delivery and building key specialist skills. The topics included:
- Understanding an audiogram and levels of deafness
- Advice re follow up to audiological assessment at clinic
- Subjective testing of hearing aids
- Hands-on test box procedures
- Re-tubing earmoulds
- Bone conduction aids
- Cochlear implants
- Visiting 0-2s and Early Support materials
- Early language development and the auditory-oral approach
- Listening skills; effective use of FM systems in a range of contexts
- Phonology and evaluation of hearing aids
- Assessments in use – brief look at formal language tools
- Planning for individual pupils: criteria and levels of support; transition issues
- Early literacy strategies
- Speech perception using the PARROT Manchester picture test in a special school setting.
Practical factors supporting the process:
- A quiet office in an accessible location with refreshments available
- Prior planning to make best use of time, but with an open agenda slot
- Good working relationship to share information fully but professionally
- Availability of resources
- Travel costs kept to a minimum through pre-booking
- Minimum preparation needed – largely gathering resources and thinking time.
- No formal record-keeping, other than personal notes
- Extensive travel time, so actual contact time on visits was five hours
- Use of public transport limited resources that could be carried
- Pre-booked trains necessitated aborted discussion on occasions
- Not allocating dates far enough in advance
- The student did not have a reliable email service
- The student would have benefited from having a copy of our Consultant’s notes
- More phone/email input at the beginning would have been useful
The success of the training was guaranteed by the student’s willingness to undertake additional research and the flexible nature of the programme. By the start of the second term, her confidence levels in both theory and practice had risen appreciably and helped to provide balance and audiological expertise in a service which is known for its strength in a total communication approach.
Both parties agreed this was a very enjoyable and fulfilling experience. This type of mentoring is an excellent example of the Ewing Foundation’s core work and the local authority acknowledged that it would be a useful way to deploy future resources.