IntroductionIn thisassignment I will talk about the Access to teacher training courses for Deafpeople.
I will speak about the opportunities there are for Deaf people tobecome a Primary school teacher, a Secondary school teacher or a qualifiedIrish Sign Language teacher. I will firstly discuss how difficult it is forDeaf people to become Primary school teachers in Ireland due to two reasons;the requirement of the Irish language and, the fitness to practice medical exam.I will discuss these two barriers in further detail.
I will also explain DrElizabeth Mathews role in removing the requirement of the Irish language and Iwill outline the three ideas which she came up with to remove this barrier. Iwill do some research on how Deaf people can become secondary school teacherswithout, unlike primary school teaching, any barriers holding them back.Furthermore, I will speak about the Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity CollegeDublin, a Level 8 degree which can give Deaf, Hard of Hearing and also Hearingstudents the opportunity to become a qualified ISL teacher. This gives them theoption to teach evening classes, teach ISL to transition year classes and alsobecome involved in ISL home tuition scheme which I will discuss later in thisassignment. I will also investigate why it is important to provide Deafteachers for Deaf children instead of Hearing teachers.
In this assignment, I hopeto figure out how accessible it is for Deaf people to become teachers.Primaryschool teachingCurrently it is verydifficult for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people to become primary school teachersin the Republic of Ireland. (Deaf Education Centre, 2017) This is due to anumber of reasons. According to (Mathews, 2011) the Irish Deaf population areleft out from initial teacher education (ITE), therefore cannot become aprimary school teacher. (Deaf Education Centre, 2017) states that Many Deafschools lack culturally Deaf people whose first language is Irish SignLanguage. This means that these schools are staffed by hearing teachers who maynot have a fluency in ISL.
There are twoobstacles which Deaf and Hard of Hearing people face if they want to become aPrimary school teacher in Ireland. The first one being the requirement of aHigher level C3 in Irish in the Leaving Certificate , this is quite difficultfor the Deaf population as Deaf students are exempt from studying Irish,meaning a majority of Deaf people will not learn the language (Deaf EducationCentre, 2017). Therefore, making it verydifficult for a Deaf or Hard of Hearing person to become a primary schoolteacher. According to (Mathews, 2011) teachers are not required to have fluencyin the Irish language if they want to teach in the Deaf education sector;therefore the requirement of the Irish language to study to become a teacher isquite contradictory. Another reasonhow it’s difficult for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people to become a primaryschool teacher is that students have to pass the fitness to practise medicalexamination when they finish their teacher training course in order to enterthe career of being a teacher (Deaf EducationCentre, 2017). To become a primary school teacher in the Republic of Ireland everyonemust complete a pre-employment questionnaire. There are many aspects to thisquestionnaire, one being a question which asks of the individual has any ear disorderse.g.
deafness, tinnitus (Mathews,2011) According to (AHEAD, 2012) it is almost impossible for a person with adisability such as Deafness to become a primary school teacher or even accessteacher training, due to these barriers. These barriers are not giving the Deafand Hard of Hearing people of Ireland the same opportunities as their peers. Thesebarriers may make the Deaf community feel quite isolated as they do not havethe same opportunities as the Hearing population, therefore not giving them equalaccess to education, a basic human right.Dr Elizabeth MathewsDr Elizabeth Matthewshas pointed out the lack of access Deaf people have to teacher training (Dcu.ie,2016). She has lobbied to make access to teacher training courses for deafpeople easier and give those the same opportunities as their hearing peers. DrMathews is currently working with the Higher Education Authority and DCU tomake the Bachelor of Education degree in DCU available for Deaf people who havea fluency in Irish Sign Language (Dcu.
ie, 2017). Her ultimate goal is to maketeacher training for Deaf people as accessible as it is for Hearing people. Shehas come up with three ways to remove the Irish language barriers for Deafpeople who want to become a primary school teacher. The following options are; 1. Removing the necessity of theIrish language for Deafand Hard of Hearing students. 2. Replacing the requirement of theIrish language with a fluency of ISL for entry to teacher training for Deaf,Hard of Hearing and Hearing students.
Meaning students will have a choice to doISL and/or Irish and will be required to get an honour in either ISL or Irish. Forthis to happen, ISL will have to become a leaving cert subject.3. Have a Bachelorof Education ISL Entry Route programme, which does not provide the requirementof the Irish language at all.(Mathews, 2011)These are three ideaswhich Dr Elizabeth Mathews has come up with to make teacher training coursesmore available to the Deaf community of Ireland.
She hopes to give Deaf peoplethe same equal opportunities as the hearing population of Ireland, thereforenot discriminating against Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who wish to partakein in Teacher training courses. Secondary schoolteachingThere are currentlytwo universities in Ireland which provide aid and support for students who areDeaf and Hard of Hearing; Trinity College Dublin and Maynooth University.Trinity College Dublin will provide Deaf students whose main mode ofcommunication is Irish Sign Language an interpreter to ensure these studentshave the same opportunity as their hearing classmates (Tcd.
ie, 2017). Thismeans any Deaf or Hard of Hearing students can study whichever course they wantas long as they have the entry requirements e.g. enough points in their exams.Trinity College Dublin offer a ProfessionalMaster in Education, this is a qualification that’s required if you want towork as a secondary school teacher in the Republic of Ireland (Tcd.ie, 2017). (Tcd.ie, 2017) states thatapplications must have a previous qualification to qualify for this degree.
This means that any Deaf person who is a university graduate is eligible forthis Masters in Education. Therefore, being able to become a qualifiedSecondary school teacher. MaynoothUniversity also support students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and willprovide reasonable accommodation for these students.
‘A reasonableaccommodation is any action that helps alleviate a substantial disadvantage’ (Maynooth University Guide for MAP Academic Advisors,2017), e.g. being Deaf or Hard of Hearing. This means that Deaf and Hard of Hearing students will get the sameopportunity as their Hearing classmates. Maynooth University will providea qualified Irish Sign Language Interpreter and/ or will provide the student withwritten notes (Maynooth University Guide for MAPAcademic Advisors, 2017). Anotherproblem which Deaf students may face is difficulty with spelling and grammar.This can lead to the Deaf student being under a disadvantage when they’re beingassessed in a written examination.
For this reason, Maynooth University have Marking Guidelineswhich they must follow when marking scripts for these particular students notes(Maynooth University Guide for MAP AcademicAdvisors, 2017). Maynooth University offer a Master’s degree in Education aswell as Trinity. This courses aim is to provide high quality teachers to teachin Irelands secondary schools (Maynoothuniversity.ie,2017). Similar to Trinity College, any student who has a previousqualification, including Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, can study thisdegree. Having qualified ISL interpreters to support these students inuniversities open many doors for Deaf students and make it more accessible tobecome secondary school teachers even if the student is Deaf or Hard ofHearing.
Centre forDeaf StudiesThe Centre for Deaf Studies in TrinityCollege Dublin offers students the chance to study a Bachelor’s degree in DeafStudies. The CDS is open to Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing students andthere is no previous ISL knowledge required (Tcd.ie,2017). This ensures that all students can get equal access to education.
One of the aims of this course according to (Tcd.ie,2017) is to provide the highest quality ISL teacher training. This gives Deafstudents the opportunity to become qualified ISL teachers. With this degreequalified teachers get the opportunity to teach evening classes to adults whoare looking to learn ISL as a second language, in secondary schools withtransition year students, or one on one with deaf children and their families (Tcd.ie,2017).
This one on one teaching is known as the ISL home tuition scheme. This ISL home tuition scheme is aweekly tuition service where a tutor will visit the home of a Deaf or Hard ofHearing child and provide the child, their sibling(s) and parent(s)/guardian(s)the opportunity to learn ISL (Education.ie, 2017). Deaf students in this course may require aprofessional ISL interpreter to assist them in classes where sign is not the mainmode of communication between the students and the interpreter. Why is it importantto have Deaf teachers?’Deaf teachers feelthe need to teach deaf children ”how to be deaf” in this world’ (Kusters, DeMeulder and O’Brien, 2017) this helps the Deaf children learn how to handlelife in a hearing majority world.
A majority deaf and hard of hearing people have a fluency inISL and have a great knowledge and understanding of deaf culture and therefore wouldbring many important qualities to the teaching of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children(Education Policy forDeaf and Hard of Hearing People in Ireland, 2009). One of the qualities is,they can be great role models for the Deaf children. They work against thenegative attitude which is often held against Deaf people. Deaf teachers proveto Deaf children that their Deafness does not hold them back in life and theycan train to become a teacher if they want.
As Deaf teachers are usuallyinvolved within the Deaf community, they will be able to inform their Deafstudents about events that are going on within the Deaf community (Kusters, DeMeulder and O’Brien, 2017), the teachers act as a link for the Deaf studentinto the Deaf world, this is another advantage which a Deaf teacher may holdover hearing teacher. Involving the Deaf pupil with the Deaf community givesthe pupil a chance to make friends with other Deaf children. Deaf teachers havethe power to make both hearing students and colleagues Deaf aware and caninfluence them to show more acceptance towards Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.(Kusters, De Meulder and O’Brien, 2017) Deaf teachers are also important as they canteach Deaf children how to communicate with hearing people who may not know anysign language, (Kusters, De Meulder and O’Brien, 2017) give us examples of howthey do this, such as writing notes back and forth, using gestures e.g.pointing at objects etc… Overall, it is very beneficial for Deaf students tohave a Deaf teacher due to these many reasons.
Conclusion Inconclusion, we see that although it may be difficult sometimes, there are fewopportunities for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people to become teachers. Firstly,we learnt that it is very difficult for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people tobecome Primary school teachers, due to the requirement of the Irish language,which Deaf and Hard of Hearing students are exempt from in both Primary schooland Secondary school. I researched Dr Elizabeth Mathews and discovered that sheis lobbying to get rid of the requirement of the Irish language and proposedthree ways in which teacher training courses can offer their courses to Deafand Hard of Hearing people to give them equal access. In summary, these threeoptions are; to abolish the requirement of the Irish Language for Deaf or Hardof Hearing students wishing to partake in the course, to give students, bothhearing and Deaf, the opportunity to get entry into the course by acquiring ahonour in either the Irish language or Irish Sign language – this means thatISL will have to be made into a secondary school subject which it is currentlynot, and having an ISL entry route for Deaf and Hard of hearing students.Currently none of these options are available to Deaf and Hard of Hearingstudents who wish to become a primary school teacher. As it happens, there is abetter opportunity for Deaf or Hard of Hearing people to become secondaryschool teachers, this is because there are no barriers preventing Deaf and Hardof Hearing people from studying such degrees.
Maynooth University and TrinityCollege Dublin provide their students with qualified ISL interpreters if theyare Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Both of these universities have Master degrees inEducation, meaning any student who has graduated from any university course cando a master in education and become a secondary school teacher. Thus, givingDeaf or Hard of Hearing people the same opportunity, in regards to Secondaryschool teaching, as the Hearing population. The Centre for Deaf Studies offersstudents the chance to study a Bachelor’s degree in Deaf Studies. Here studentscan study to become a qualified teacher.
With this degree, students can teach;ISL evening courses, transition year classes, one on one, and become involved inthe ISL home tuition scheme. Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing people can studythis degree. Lastly, I focused on why it is important to have Deaf teachers. Thisis due to a number of reasons, the main one being the fact that they are great rolemodels for Deaf students and many students may feel like they can relate to theirteacher. Overall, there is some access to teacher training courses for Deafpeople, but there are still some barriers Deaf and Hard of Hearing people facetherefore not giving them the same opportunities as Hearing students.