Dana Tartar's speech doesn't give away the fact that she's deaf. Her eye contact with an audience doesn't give away the fact she is blind.
Yet she is both blind and deaf. And she's a teacher.
Tartar's interpreter stands behind her, signing on her back so she knows when an audience laughs or someone has a question. She spoke recently to several students in the School of Education.
Tartar and Lynn Batey, both teachers at the Georgia School for the Deaf, gave the teachers-to-be insight on what it is like to have a disability and teach those with disabilities.
The teachers at Georgia School for the Deaf are required to use American Sign Language as a primary means of communication with their students, even if the student has a hearing impairment and is not completely deaf. Batey signed along as she spoke about her experience and background saying the habit is hard to break when she's around people who can hear.
And the students were able to watch Tartar communicating with her interpreter, who signs into Tartar's hands.
They spoke to the students about the challenges of teaching a deaf or hard-of-hearing student. They must make sure students are watching, sign the lesson, and then give students adequate time to take notes. A lesson that takes 30 minutes in a regular classroom may take up to an hour in a class with deaf children.
Batey also shared a story about a student of hers with autism who had a sensory need to touch a light. Once she met that need, he was not distracted by the light again.
The experience and stories shared by these two teachers will help students in the School of Education when they enter their classrooms. And it is a reminder that not everyone learns the same way.
posted 09/06/2016 in Academics
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