Deaf Education Trip to Guatemala (Part 1)
Workshops for Teachers and Parents
This trip we had the opportunity to connect with over 120 teachers through three different workshops. Gerty Barrows, Coordinator of Services for Children with Special Needs in the Alta Verapaz region organized the three events. It was exciting for the teachers and parents to see the two different sign languages being used (Guatemalan and Canadian Sign Language) and how easy it was to be more inclusive. We presented on a variety of topics such as communication, hearing loss and its effects, curriculum development, behaviour management and deaf life experiences. We discussed accommodations that teachers could do easily in their classrooms for Deaf students who are mainstreamed. Through Gerty, we were able to meet many new teachers who only had one or two Deaf students in their schools and were very keen to learn strategies to provide the best learning opportunity possible.
Our team member Toufic told his life experience growing up as a Deaf person in Canada and encouraged the parents to be more active in their child’s education. Both the parents and teachers watched the activities we did with the students and how we introduced Guatemalan Sign Language to the students who didn’t know it. A few teachers approached us at the end of the presentations to ask for additional support in their schools on our next trip back here in March 2023.
We want to send a special thank you out to Gerty Barrows for organizing the workshops and making the connections with the schools who have mainstreamed Deaf students. Following our departure, Gerty was able to take some of the materials out to the remote villages to provide the teachers and students there with a fun learning opportunity.