University of Alberta Department of Educational Psychology professor Joanne Weber has been named the first-ever Canada Research Chair in Deaf Education.
“This is very exciting news because this appointment is the result of decades of hard work by the Canadian Deaf communities to secure the recognition of the federal government of the role of American Sign Language (ASL), Langue de Signe Quebecois (LSQ) and Indigenous Sign Languages in the lives of Deaf Canadians.”
Despite current biomedical approaches such as cochlear implants and the provision of sign language interpreters in inclusive education environments, deaf high school graduates are leaving with the median reading and writing levels commensurate with the fourth grade.
“We know now that language acquisition is not only about providing access to sound and sign language but about the provision of language-rich activities that enable deaf children to communicate freely with their peers, teachers and the community at large. Those opportunities are not always available, especially in the higher grades, despite current interventions,” said Weber,
“I want to look at the ways the arts and drama could be used to facilitate language acquisition in both oral English and ASL, and how we can apply that to bilingual education contexts,” said Weber.
[Read the full article here]