Masters of Deaf Education: What I’ve been learning.

(Note: This post will basically be a summary of the classes/course content I took this summer.  You’ve been warned.)

I’ve blogged about how busy I’ve been and written an overview of the basics of Oral/Audio deaf education.  Today I’m going to continue that theme and give brief descriptions of the classes I took during the summer session.

ELL (Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners)

This was the first year an ELL course was required as part of the M.E.D. program, and I believe the reason is that new education legislation was passed requiring all certified teachers to have a certain amount of ELL course hours.  “ELL” is essentially a broad term for ESL or EFL; it refers to non-native speakers learning English.

The class: ELL required many hours — we had between 11 and 14 hours of class and observation every week.  The class sessions were mostly four hours long.  Four. Hours. Long.  As a human, and an ADD one at that (I’m so trendy), four hours is far beyond my capacity to retain information.  To be fair, our teacher was great about mixing up the format between lecturing, discussions, and group work, but ultimately four hours was quite a stretch, especially every other day.

The content: We learned about different teaching approaches designed to create ELL-friendly classrooms.  The course was designed for regular classroom teachers with 1st generation students in their classes, so it wasn’t about how to teach English, but how to teach a lesson (any subject) in a way that shelters (helps guide) the kids whose English abilities are low.  However, we did learn specific methods of English teaching, and were able to observe local language classrooms with international students learning English.  The observations were the most enjoyable part of the course because they were a tangible experience of the hypothetical situations we discussed in class

Perspectives on Deaf Education

This was a two part class, in which we studied curriculum (specifically, Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum) in the morning and discussed the history and controversies surrounding Deaf Education in the afternoon.

The class: The coursework consisted mainly of reading and reflections.  Classes were lectures in the morning and video/discussions in the afternoon.  Our final project was an anthology of curriculum resources to use in our teaching careers.

The content: During our morning classes, a huge emphasis was placed on Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum, which basically means curriculum designed to meet the developmental needs of a child according to his/her age and ability.  DAC encourages parental involvement, takes into account different learning styles, and considers different theories of development and teaching (Skinner, Erikson, Maslow, etc.)

During our afternoon classes, we learned about the history of deaf education (which is long, interesting, and has been rapidly changing over the past 20 years.)  We also watched Sound and Fury, a documentary about a deaf family faced with the decision of choosing whether to implant their deaf child.  After watching the documentary — and the informative followup — we discussed the controversy of oral vs. manual education.  (Which I will go into more detail in another post.)

Introduction to Hearing Science (Audiology)

Developing Auditory/Oral Communication


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