Two talented deaf teachers from a city school have been sharing their expertise with other hearing-impaired staff at schools across the UK.
Maths teacher Cathie Birch and arts and crafts teacher Lucy Noble, who both work at Royal School for the Deaf Derby, were invited to join a national webinar and share their skills with 42 other deaf teachers.
The event was hosted by innovative education company, You Teach Me, which allows teachers to learn from each other to raise standards in children’s education.
YouTeachMe, which in the last year has received two grants from InnovateUK, enables schools to connect, collaborate and personalise teaching for every child.
Cathie and Lucy used British Sign Language (BSL) to deliver the session on the teaching of maths, arts and crafts, as well as wellbeing and mental health support, which is being prioritised at the school as it recovers from the pandemic.
Royal School for the Deaf Derby head teacher Helen Shepherd said:
“I am delighted that Cathie and Lucy were able to pass on their expert teaching knowledge to others across the UK via the webinar.
“We understand how important it is to employ good deaf teachers – Cathie and Lucy are wonderfully positive role models for our pupils and can relate to students in a way that hearing teachers may not be able to.
“Of course, teaching subjects like Pythagoras theory or quadratic equations is not easy in British Sign Language, so any sharing of knowledge can only be a good thing.
“The session also included details of the work we have been doing around well-being and mental health through lockdown, a particularly challenging period for deaf families, who may already experience a degree of isolation.”
You Teach Me has been working with Royal School for the Deaf Derby for three years, creating video content of lessons, which allows children who may not have kept up in class to re-watch the lesson via video.
The service has also added audible speech, which is dubbed over the top, to allow parents who do not use BSL to support the lesson at home.
Paul Rose, founder of Derby-based You Teach Me, said:
“There are 53,000 deaf children in the UK education system and 95% of those are born to hearing parents. Since 75 per cent of hearing parents don’t use sign language, it’s really useful to have a video link that helps to bridge the gap.
“It presents a major challenge if parents of deaf children can’t access the language their children are being taught in, because it hinders their ability to offer support at home.”