Deaf Education Trip to Guatemala – March 2024

Our March 2024 trip to Guatemala was focused on teacher education. Our small team of 3 was there for 2 weeks. The first week we focused upon visiting schools and meeting the Deaf students in their class. We visited 4 new schools that are now accepting Deaf students. Our team got to travel further up the mountain region of Alta Verapez and interact with villagers in remote parts of the region.

During the first week, we worked with the teachers explaining different ways to integrate the Deaf students into their classes. We also focused upon differential learning techniques to help the teachers determine ways to adapt lessons so that all students in the classroom can follow the curriculum. We met with families of young Deaf children and discussed how they can help with education at home.

Our second week, we did workshops for small groups of teachers over 4 days. We worked with a total of 40 teachers- 10 each day. Lessons focused on younger classrooms for two days and the older classrooms for the last two. Teachers learned how to design lessons from the curriculum and how to modify them to make them more visual and hands-on. The Resource Consultants from the Alta Verapaz region had arranged for 134 Deaf students to receive hearing aids the following week in Guatemala City. So in our workshops, we reviewed the care of hearing aids and how to use them in the classroom. We discussed how to keep the aids in good working order. They, in turn, will work with the teachers in the region’s schools reinforcing the use of the hearing aids at the same time as promoting the use of sign language. The Resource Consultants also brought together teachers from all over the region in the week following our trip and provided a full day conference for them sharing the information and material provided by us.

Also during our second week, we met with one of our Guatemalan partners- Zona. They work with us to provide after school tutoring for three of our teenaged Deaf students.  They have been working all of last year to assist these students with their lessons and provide a safe place for the Deaf students to go after school and on the weekend. We discussed the expansion of the tutoring program and agreed to bring two additional students into the program upon finding sponsors for their fees. If you are interested in sponsoring a Deaf student for tutoring, please contact me for more details.

It was not all work for us, we were there at Easter so we got to see the kilometer long colored sawdust designs and the different parades that happen in San Cristobel. We held our 3rd annual football game with Zona. We also had the opportunity to interact with some of the teachers outside of the schools.

Overall, we were very happy with the results of this team trip and look forward to returning again.