Deaf awareness training may be requested for a variety of reasons and take many forms, including:
- providing basic information about the impact of deafness on learning and interaction provided to mainstream staff about to receive their first deaf pupil
- updating skills and understanding of mainstream staff with experience of working with deaf pupils
- helping schools develop policies for running activities involving external agencies such as work experience placements, field trips or residential activities
- supporting self-evaluation of current inclusive practices.
A primary school with a well-established resource provision for deaf children asked for a deaf awareness workshop during their start-of-year INSET for all staff. There were several new colleagues joining the school with no previous experience of working with deaf children and some existing staff had not had a deaf child in their class before.
The session included a discussion to identify existing knowledge and preconceptions; a brief explanation of types and levels of deafness and their practical implications in the classroom; consideration of different communication modes and needs; opportunities for colleagues to share queries, strategies and experiences.
As a result, new staff were able to consider the implications of inclusive learning for deaf pupils and how this might affect classroom practice. A short ‘refresher course’ was run for more experienced staff, and resource provision staff were able to identify mainstream colleagues’ training and support needs.