Joan Fleming, Deaf Studies Co-ordinator, has written a section of a new academic book, titled English in International Deaf Communication. The chapter focuses on how the University’s Deaf Studies department developed a methodology of teaching English as a second language to Deaf undergraduates.
Senior Lecturer Joan, from the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, said: “The book came about following an international conference in Trieste, Italy, where hearing and Deaf academics met to discuss why Deaf Europeans struggle to learn English. The deaf people who attended were sign language users but wanted to have English in order to access the world wide web. 72 per cent of text on the internet is in English and the dedicated sites in sign language are few and far between.
“My chapter, ‘How Should we teach Deaf Learners? Teaching English as a Written Language to Deaf European students’, addresses the practicalities of teaching English and the theories behind our project. Deaf undergraduates enter the University with the same skills and qualifications as hearing undergraduates in all areas except English, because profoundly Deaf students will never hear English.
“The method the Deaf Studies department created is going to be used to teach English to deaf people throughout the world by using their own sign language, whether it is German, Italian or Spanish.”
English in International Deaf Communication is edited by Cynthia J. Kellett Bidoli and Elana Ochse.
Picture: Joan Fleming and her colleague John Hay with the new book.
Joan Fleming has taught English to Deaf learners since 1975 and has worked at the University of Wolverhampton since 1996. Her recent applied research projects include working with three other universities to create www.signonline.org.uk
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