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PIONEER PROGRAMME

Fu Tak Iam Foundation sponsored the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies (CSLDS) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong to implement the programme “A New Milestone for Educating Deaf and Hearing Students: Sign Bilingualism and Co-enrolment” since August 2014. The programme builds upon the groundwork developed by CSLDS since 2006 through the experimental “Sign Bilingualism and Co-enrolment in Deaf Education (SLCO) Programme” which is established in a mainstream kindergarten and a mainstream primary school, aims to address the perennial difficulty faced by deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children raised and educated under the misconceived “oral-only” approach in Hong Kong, and to explore the best way to benefit both DHH and hearing children within the system of inclusive education.


Throughout the years, due to misconceptions on sign language, deaf children in Hong Kong have been barred from sign language in education. This creates severe barriers to communication and learning which results in social isolation and academic failure in education of deaf children.


With the support from linguistics research and empirical experience, CSLDS developed the SLCO education model in 2006 to alleviate these problems faced by deaf children. The model is characterized by co-enrolling deaf and hearing children in the same classroom with the support of both signed and spoken language as the medium of instruction, provided by deaf and hearing teachers co-teaching in the co-enrolment class. Both deaf and hearing children are immersed daily in both sign and oral languages. Different from the typical inclusive education practice which put only one deaf child in a class, each of these co-enrolment classes has a critical mass of deaf children which enhances deaf awareness of hearing teachers and students and enables social integration of deaf and hearing children. The removal of communication barriers cultivates an inclusive and effective learning environment, benefiting both deaf and hearing children linguistically, socially and academically. In addition, the development of educational resources and visual learning materials developed in the programme benefits both deaf and hearing students during their daily learning process.

 

Co-teaching of deaf and hearing teachers in the partner kindergarten

Deaf and hearing students and teachers in partner primary school co-enrol harmoniously


The project has now benefitted 56 deaf children and 1243 hearing children (205 of them are studying in the same class with their deaf classmates) in one mainstream kindergarten and one mainstream primary school which are participating in the SLCO Programme. Deaf children in the programme continue to receive academic and non-academic awards in and out of school. They have also received 11 scholarships from external organizations.

 

Sign language and deaf awareness activities in school

Interactions between deaf and hearing students with the guests from the Hong Kong Education University


Another major target of the programme is to extend its impact from the consolidated work built in the partner schools to other local and international education settings. Besides training to teachers and related professionals through public seminars and workshops, school visits and consultations are also provided. So far educators and researchers from 28 countries and cities worldwide such as the United States, England, Holland, Belgium, Singapore, Mainland China, Taiwan and Macau have visited the programme to learn from its successful experience. Some of the visitors also ask for consultation and support in their development of a similar approach in their own areas.

 

The Early Sign Bilingual Development Seminar attracted over 150 preschool educators and related professionals to participate


The support from Fu Tak Iam Foundation enables CSLDS to continue to extend this innovative model for inclusive deaf education practices in Hong Kong and other countries to follow, benefitting both deaf and hearing communities, and ultimately creating a deaf-hearing inclusive society.

Fu Tak Iam Foundation sponsored the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies (CSLDS) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong to implement the programme “A New Milestone for Educating Deaf and Hearing Students: Sign Bilingualism and Co-enrolment” since August 2014. The programme builds upon the groundwork developed by CSLDS since 2006 through the experimental “Sign Bilingualism and Co-enrolment in Deaf Education (SLCO) Programme” which is established in a mainstream kindergarten and a mainstream primary school, aims to address the perennial difficulty faced by deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children raised and educated under the misconceived “oral-only” approach in Hong Kong, and to explore the best way to benefit both DHH and hearing children within the system of inclusive education.


Throughout the years, due to misconceptions on sign language, deaf children in Hong Kong have been barred from sign language in education. This creates severe barriers to communication and learning which results in social isolation and academic failure in education of deaf children.


With the support from linguistics research and empirical experience, CSLDS developed the SLCO education model in 2006 to alleviate these problems faced by deaf children. The model is characterized by co-enrolling deaf and hearing children in the same classroom with the support of both signed and spoken language as the medium of instruction, provided by deaf and hearing teachers co-teaching in the co-enrolment class. Both deaf and hearing children are immersed daily in both sign and oral languages. Different from the typical inclusive education practice which put only one deaf child in a class, each of these co-enrolment classes has a critical mass of deaf children which enhances deaf awareness of hearing teachers and students and enables social integration of deaf and hearing children. The removal of communication barriers cultivates an inclusive and effective learning environment, benefiting both deaf and hearing children linguistically, socially and academically. In addition, the development of educational resources and visual learning materials developed in the programme benefits both deaf and hearing students during their daily learning process.

 

Co-teaching of deaf and hearing teachers in the partner kindergarten

Deaf and hearing students and teachers in partner primary school co-enrol harmoniously


The project has now benefitted 56 deaf children and 1243 hearing children (205 of them are studying in the same class with their deaf classmates) in one mainstream kindergarten and one mainstream primary school which are participating in the SLCO Programme. Deaf children in the programme continue to receive academic and non-academic awards in and out of school. They have also received 11 scholarships from external organizations.

 

Sign language and deaf awareness activities in school

Interactions between deaf and hearing students with the guests from the Hong Kong Education University


Another major target of the programme is to extend its impact from the consolidated work built in the partner schools to other local and international education settings. Besides training to teachers and related professionals through public seminars and workshops, school visits and consultations are also provided. So far educators and researchers from 28 countries and cities worldwide such as the United States, England, Holland, Belgium, Singapore, Mainland China, Taiwan and Macau have visited the programme to learn from its successful experience. Some of the visitors also ask for consultation and support in their development of a similar approach in their own areas.

 

The Early Sign Bilingual Development Seminar attracted over 150 preschool educators and related professionals to participate


The support from Fu Tak Iam Foundation enables CSLDS to continue to extend this innovative model for inclusive deaf education practices in Hong Kong and other countries to follow, benefitting both deaf and hearing communities, and ultimately creating a deaf-hearing inclusive society.