Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Learning with NZSL users @ OrmPS

As part of our professional development for New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) we had Krista from KDEC come in and speak to us about NZSL and what it's like for children in the classroom.

There is the use of interpreters that allows deaf people to converse within the hearing world. Interpreters provide full access for children in the classroom, everything said by the learning coach (teacher) is interpreted to the learners. Interpreters help and support in the classroom is vital in the classroom and makes so much difference.

Something new I've learned is every country has their own sign language. I also learned how to say hello, how are you, I"m good thank you, I'm (my name) and what is your name in sign language. I've also picked up the sign language for friend, dog, play, learn, coach, help and lunch.

This image is an idea of how a learner who is deaf to access the full picture for that child. If you're a child and can't make sense of it at all, it is very hard.
Learners may need to look away from their interpreters as their eyes are tired and it can be hard work.

We also had another activity to do, with ear plugs. All coaches had to wear ear plugs, walk around and ask others questions and find answers. All the while, there was an annoying background noise playing loudly. I relied heavily on lip reading and the use of gestures to understand some people's answers. I also felt frustrated when having to ask some questions too. Some of the things we did to try and understand each other was read lips, use actions and hand gestures and make eye contact. We found that it was harder to ask longer questions and where some words are tricky to say. This enabled us as a staff to put ourselves in the learners shoes and to better understand how learners are feeling.

It's important to gain the students attention before you start to communicate with them.
Examples are: flashing lights, waving, gently tapping their leg or stomping foot. We can also ask other learners who are listening to get their attention. Eye contact is really important in communicating with others.

Learning to sign helps to make a connections with NZSL learners. Connection is valuable. In order to gauge whether a learner has understood is by asking open ended questions. As often some children can use the deaf nod or the nod of bluffing which

Other points we discussed was how to create a deaf friendly school and that was to ensure that the school environment is inclusive of all learners. Use and teach other children signage during assembly and learning the days of the week. As well, as making sure that the notices were visual and accessible to all learners.

What does Ormiston primary do to be deaf friendly? Having visuals, turn off lights, shake the tambourine, learn more sign language and the learning coach to raise their hands to show that they are speaking.

I'm really excited about learning New Zealand Sign Language to help all children understand better and to communicate effectively in the classroom.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Induction Day at OrmPS

Today, as a staff we covered a lot of ground for the year ahead. We looked at the Vision Principles of the school, Collaboration and what it means, Assessment and Appraisals and a brief look at Maths and the resources we needed in our habitats.

The session that stood out today was around Collaboration. We were asked to get into nine groups and the task was to choose one person to lift up. Our group discussed and shared ideas about what we as a team were going to do. One person decided that we could put our own spin on it and lift a person up by giving saying positive things about them. What had to make decisions together as a team and come to an agreement about how we were going to do this.

As a collective, we discussed: Why is collaboration important? How is it implemented? What did we do show that we are a collaborative team?

Together, we talked about the values of the school and the learner's strengths, how the school is bi-culturally responsible and the strengths and how the community is involved and the strengths around this also.

Collaboration and working collaboratively is a reminder to working together and helping others.

For me personally, I was pointed out as sitting back and not saying much. But, it wasn't that I didn't have anything to say, what I wanted to say had already been shared and so I agreed with them. Nine is a big number to collaborate in as there are too many cooks in the kitchen. This is something for me to think about during my time as a learning coach at Ormiston.