DEAF STUDIES CURRICULUM
Focus is currently on the completion of DVD Resources: hand shape stories and nursery rhymes in JSL.
Writing of the Deaf Studies curriculum for students Grades 1-3, 4-6 and 7-11 is proceeding and it is hoped that we will meet our project implementation target for this cycle, which ends in May 2011.
The Jamaican Language Unit has completed a draft situational analysis of current practices for language development in Schools for the Deaf which was reviewed at meetings with school groups in mid-March 2010. The Unit has also developed a curriculum adaptation tool to enable more effective use of the MOE curriculum in schools for the Deaf.
On Monday March 29, the JAD made a presentation to the stakeholders of the OAS sponsored Project. Year 2 of the 3-year project ended in April 2010, and a presentation of the Plus Curriculum Guide and Research Report was made to school administrators and teachers of the Deaf as well as Ministry of Education officials in May 2010.
National Conference on Bilingual Deaf Education (NCBDE):
This year, the JAD hosted another annual JSL strengthening workshop, now titled the National Conference on Bilingual Deaf Education, sponsored by the OAS Language and Literacy Project.
This Conference was held from July 5-7, 2010 at the UWI Neville Hall Lecture Theatre and involved over 100 participants including instructors and administrators of schools for the deaf and members of the Ministry of Education (MOE) Core Curriculum Unit (CCU) staff.
Presenters included overseas Linguist Dawn Smith Raymond and Deaf Educator Stevie Fenton, complemented by the McCam Child Development Centre Team, and Ms. Daphine Simon from the MOE CCU.
This project seeks to address the problem of poor development of language and literacy competencies among deaf students. Our problem analysis in the Jamaican context has identified as the main contributing factors:
* Lack of effective promotion of language and literacy in the early years of the child's life
* Inadequacies of curriculum resources to meet the special needs of deaf students
* Use of ineffective instructional practices and
* Delays in early identification and appropriate intervention with children with a hearing loss
In an effort to address this problem a multifaceted program is being undertaken by the Jamaica Association for the Deaf to improve the language and literacy of deaf children. The aspect for which funding is being sought, specifically focuses on curriculum development and implementation within the educational system operated by the Association. The Association aims to address two critical aspects within this component:
1) Development of a Deaf Studies Curriculum and
2) Modification of existing Ministry of Education Language curricula to reflect the change to a bilingual - bicultural methodology
The project expects to develop resources in the form of a Deaf Studies Curriculum and Teacher's Guide. The implementation of both resources is hoped to result in improvements in the self-esteem of deaf adolescents, in which young deaf persons are able to accept and embrace their deafness not as a limiting disability, but one which makes them distinct and unique. Through the infusion of Deaf Studies in teh curriculum, it is envisioned that deaf persons will be able to develop skills needed to be independent, productive citizens of Jamaica.
The project further expects to develop resources in the form of an adapted MOE Language Curriculum and accompanying Teacher's Guide which fosters the Bilingual Bicultural Methodology. A core group of 16 mentor teachers will be trained by the Gallaudet University and will be instrumental in training teachers on their respective school sites. Long term improvements in the Language and Literacy results of deaf students are expected to result from the implementation of bilingual techniques and strategies.