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The typical high school graduating deaf and hard of hearing learner has a reading level equivalent to the fourth grade (U.S. Department of Education, OSEP, 2011). Therefore allowing, approximately 19 percent of the population, a postponed and limited access to college upon successful completion of their recommended academic remediation (Advisory Group of the National Agenda, 2005). The United States educational trends that lead to the ‘No Child Left Behind’ act (NCLB) only identified our exterior current educational crisis. With the new emphasis on international academic comparisons, educational accountability, and providing diversified learning experiences to the k -12 gifted and general populations, American academic administrators have overlooked the k-12 deaf and hard of hearing citizens (U.S. Department of Education, OSEP, 2011). The deaf and hard of hearing K -12 student’s need for both supplemental education (tutoring) and immediate access to qualified tutoring has not been officially presented or addressed. Forcing this researcher to address the elephant in the room; Immediate and available qualified access is essential since students with hearing loss have an extremely limited and non-refundable time frame for education; as recognized by the Commission of the United States of America (2005) and the working paper “Unlocking the curriculum: Principles for achieving access in deaf education” (Johnson, R. E., Liddell, S. K., & Erting, C. J., 1989). This academic ability to educate our deaf and hard of hearing students to a fourth grade reading level has been and still is an acceptable academic accomplishment (status-quo) for more than 40 years. Johnson (1989) proposed academic changes that offset costs and their plausible implementations have been overlooked.
Academic practices and standards for creating qualified teachers and educational interpreters for the deaf are strictly enforced and censored by local, state and federal governments. However, d/hoh k-12 tutoring needs are as unique as the individual who requires this service. Tutoring is part of the Golden Triangle (Interpreter, Tutor, and Note Taker) of d/hoh services that have been identified throughout special education as essential and yet, there are no standards or best practices for k-12 students established that this researcher could find.
This service project will allow for this new concept of a best practice process tutoring curriculum to successfully develop and produce a highly qualified educational signing and oral tutoring process for this student population. This will be accomplished through a compilation and modification of currently successful and new 21st Century special education research and its best practices. Tutors will also be able to identify their own communication and learning styles and the affects they may have on the tutoring process of individual students (CNCS, 2003). This applied learning will be the essence of the newly specialized tutor training project that will be implemented after this course is completed.
The utilizing and synthesizing of the background knowledge and experiences of deaf professionals and researchers, teachers of the deaf, and qualified educational interpreters for the deaf has been a grave oversight by curriculum developers. The cumulative application of these forgotten’s acquired knowledge has the utmost potential. It will be applied conditionally to d/hoh learning styles as this process is critical in the development of a successfully implemented curriculum for tutoring lessons and sessions.
This project will discuss the current status quo for tutoring deaf/hard of hearing (d/hoh) k-12 students and why it requires change. Information introduced will include the need for successful tutoring standards and special education accountability for producing qualified tutors. Accountability to include collection of the data that creates a tutoring baseline and fundamental approach to include the best practices process (Dean, 2001) for: D/HOH Professionals, Educational Interpreters, and Teachers of the Deaf (TOD).
I will be combining the Action and Praxis research methods for this project.
This research utilizes a systematic cyclical method of planning, taking action, observing, evaluating (including self-evaluation) and critical reflection prior to planning the next cycle” (O'Brien, 2001; McNiff, 2002). The actions have a set goal of addressing an identified problem in the community, for example, improving the educational tutoring services of deaf and hard of hearing K-12th grade students through use of new strategies (Quigley, 2000) and improving the current tutor curriculum in special education. It will be a collaborative method (action and Praxis) to analyze new ideas alongside of old ideas that were overlooked, and implement theory into an action plan for change. This change process involves direct participation in the research’s evolution, to be implemented after this course is completed. The monitoring and evaluating of the effects of the researcher's analysis and actions with the objective of creating a best practice process (Dick, 2002; Checkland & Holwell, 1998; Hult & Lennung, 1980) will allow for a continual internal quality control and external measurement prominence.
This method of research development is a bottom up process. It democratizes the making of critical conscience that will be required to create a “best practices process”. This Praxis intervention method aims at including the less scholarly and more experienced of the deaf, hard of hearing, and educational community members to create new mental models and have a fresh look at the international educational expectations and intervene on their own behalf.
This researcher will analyze and synthesis data from various documented outcomes, accumulated research and proposals in deaf education, and continue this process leading up to the existing philosophies and mental models serving in the systems. Then tutoring concepts will be applied to these evaluates.
This service project will produce a successful tutoring curriculum process for this student population. This analysis of current practice processes will demonstrate how change in these practices can mutually benefit a community of practitioners (McNiff, 2002; Reason & Bradburym, 2001; Carr & Kemmis 1986; Masters, 1995). This will be accomplished through a compilation and modification of currently successful and new 21st Century special education research and its best practices. Importantly, tutors will also be able to identify their own communication and learning styles and the affects they may have on the tutoring process of individual students (AmeriCorps, 2003). This applied learning will be the essence of the newly specialized tutor training curriculum project.
This work will answer the driving questions by expounding on how we can blend the beneficial and productive old practices and successful techniques with newly acquired research along with some of the older ignored yet, applicable to the targeted k-12th grades research to turn it into the development of a “best practices process”.
The utilizing and synthesizing of the analyzed data with the diverse background knowledge and experiences of hard of hearing and deaf community members, hard of hearing and deaf professionals, teachers of the deaf, and qualified educational interpreters for the deaf will become part of the best practice process for maintaining an updated curriculum. A synthesis of the current and the newly acquired knowledge regarding the individually specific learning styles of both the tutor and tutee will also be critical in the creating of a successful tutoring curriculum.
I will answer the following queries in order to complete this project.
1. Can we produce a successful best practices process tutoring curriculum that will simultaneously empower the deaf and hard of hearing students?
a. How does Theory of Mind (ToM) affect this living-breathing process?
b. How do tutor and tutee learning styles affect the curriculum and its practice process?
2. What can be defined as a “best practices process” for a tutoring curriculum for this target group?
a. What new research and studies are available?
b. What sustainable characteristic are successful in current curriculums for this target group?
c. What is currently hindering the process?
Quality and successful curriculum development is a foundational step in the bridging of current educational gaps of deaf and hard of hearing k-12 grade students (Johnson, Liddell, & Erting, 1989). As both, a parent and professional educational interpreter, trying to educate my deaf son, I contacted the various nationally advertised tutoring programs only to find that none of these programs accommodated deaf students, at any cost. They did not have access to research and development that presented methods to fit my deaf son’s learning needs. After much trial and error, I found a program that worked for my son. Knowing and experiencing these academic frustrations from a larger perspective has fueled this researcher’s passion on this topic.
In the general population of our society, basic educational supports for deaf and hard of hearing children are not a priority as they can get vocational rehabilitation (VR) after they graduate. After graduating! Aren’t we supposed to educate our children so they can graduate? I was confused. Education communities should be repairing these failing systems, not supplementing and enabling them. As a professional in the field, I, too, am responsible for action resolving this identified need. Hopefully, this research will spur others into implementation.
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