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MENAFN - Jordan Times - 05/04/2012

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(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Teaching using sign language poses a challenge to educators in schools for hearing-impaired students, especially if the teachers are inexperienced sign language users, said Hiba Ayousi, an Islamic education teacher.

Teaching students of different ages at Al Amal School for Hearing Impaired Students, Ayousi said she has developed a set of signs, which she acknowledged are not "totally professional", but which her students have gotten used to.

"The information should be delivered to students in any way as long as they understand," the teacher told The Jordan Times during the graduation of a training programme on means to employ sign language in teaching.

Asma Zaben, an English teacher at the same school, agreed, adding that she used to "go out of her way" to articulate lessons to students.

"It's not an easy task and good teachers can make use of the available resources to make sure students are getting the lesson right we sometimes had to resort to miming if our sign language skills were not delivering the point," she said.

Ayousi and Zaben, who were among 20 teachers trained in the programme on mastering sign language and incorporating it in the classroom, said their students are "so pleased" now that their teachers are communicating better with them.

The intensive 50-hour training was organised by the Higher Council for the Affairs of Persons with Disabilities (HCD), the education ministry and UNESCO, as part of an agreement that aimed at training supervisors, teachers and employees at the ministry on how to use sign language.

Through the agreement's activities, 51 teachers and 79 supervisors and ministry employees have been trained so far, while 100 hearing aids have been given to students.

In addition, a nationwide awareness campaign, "Different Abilities", was carried out to raise the public's awareness on the rights of people with disabilities (PWD) in Jordan and the need to integrate them into society.

HRH Prince Raad, Chief Chamberlain and president of the HCD, said it is a "fundamental" right of students with hearing difficulties to receive quality education that enables them to integrate into the community.

"And this cannot be achieved without having teachers who can combine good teaching skills with the ability to use the right sign language," he said, adding that the HCD has cooperated with local and international experts to develop the local sign language and encourage it as an "identity for people with hearing impairments".

The Prince noted that the HCD is working with UNESCO and the education ministry to activate national strategy for PWD in education.

Anna Paolini, head of UNESCO's office in Amman, said the agency's medium-term plan for 2008-2013 entails focusing more on PWD in the Kingdom and ways to integrate them into the community.

"We strongly believe in the need to overcome stereotypes society has towards persons with disabilities," she noted.

 






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