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 eg work experience placements, field trips or residential activities
- supporting self-evaluation of current inclusive practices.
A primary school with a well-established resource base for deaf children asked for a Ewing Foundation Consultant to deliver 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 brainstorm to identify existing knowledge and preconceptions
- A brief explanation of types and levels of deafness and their practical implications in the classroom
- A discussion of different communication modes and needs
- An opportunity for colleagues to share queries, strategies and experiences
- Strategies and technical support to address barriers to learning
- New staff were able to consider the implications of inclusive learning for deaf pupils and consider how this might affect their classroom practice
- A short ‘refresher course’ for more experienced staff with an opportunity to share their experiences and successful strategies
- Resource base staff were able to identify future staff training and support needs of mainstream colleagues