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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Teaching EFL to deaf students    

Teaching EFL to deaf students

graca pereira

Teaching EFL to deaf students

Dear colleagues!

I īm teaching EFL to deaf students for the first time in my career and I must say it is quite a challenge!

The students are highly motivated but there are no syllabuses and very few materials for us teachers to use, here in Portugal.

I was wondering if any of you was going through the same experience …

If so, could you please give me some advice on sites that could help and/or materials that could make this experience easier?
Thanks in advance!

9 Oct 2017      


Hello Graça!
I went through the same experience five years ago.
I remember that I used many pictures and flashcards to help the students associate words to image.
I also tried to make them use their imagination and do creative writing exercises.
They had a few difficulties with grammar as Portuguese sign language is very different from spoken Portuguese and, obviously, English but as most of my students could do lip reading I tried to explain grammatical structures in a very simple way, once again using pictures.
I hope this may help you a bit.
I īm sure you will love working with your deaf students as they, as you say, highly motivated. 

9 Oct 2017     

graca pereira

Thank you so much!, dear jfaraujo!

9 Oct 2017     

United Kingdom

Dear Graca,
May I offer you huge thanks for helping members of the Deaf Community!
Many years ago, I learned British Sign Language to Level 2. I taught Circus Skills, and Magic, to young people at a Deaf Club. It was a revealing and rewarding experience for me.
Every country has its own specific Sign Language, and, in general, deaf people from one country can not understand the signs of another country.
Some people think that Sign Language is just a collection of haphazard finger signals. They are wrong. British Sign Language is recognised, scientifically, as a LANGUAGE, with its own words, phrases, grammar and word order. It is COMPLETELY different to the grammar, etc. of English. In the past, in the UK, deaf people were very badly treated!. Speaking people attempted to eradicate British Sign Language. Fortunately, attitudes have changed for the better since then. Some statistics say that, now, BSL is the 3rd most spoken language in the UK.
At present, I have one deaf student in the ESOL class. She is DELIGHTED that someone can  īspeak to herī, in her own language.
I cannot advise you about websites, but you could contact the Portuguese national society which cares for Portuguese deaf people. They probably have Flash Cards and books for sale to deaf people, and they could possibly give you advice. The British Deaf Association may be able to help you, also.

Jfaraujo gives good advice.
Speak slowly and clearly, quite loudly, (because not all are totally deaf), looking directly at the student, because many can lip-read. Use LOTS of exaggerated facial and body gestures. Use lots of mime, including using īrealia ī = īreal, everyday things ī, pens, phones, opening and closing doors, entering, exiting, etc.
Use pictures, and draw simple pictures on the Whiteboard.
I suggest that you learn a few simple Deaf Language signs: "Hello", "Goodbye", "Thank you", "Repeat", "Why?", "Slowly", for example. If you learn the Alphabet, you can spell words on your fingers, (Proper Nouns, for example). This can become quicker than stopping to write on the Whiteboard.
It should be possible to buy a basic Portuguese Sign Language Dictionary, if you want.
I wish you All the Best.
Les Douglas 

9 Oct 2017     

United States

Do be warned that ASL (American Sign Language) is much more like French Sign Language than BSL.
In addition to jfaraujo and Les īs excellent advice, for practical purposes, you probably want to concentrate on reading and writing in English than speaking and listening, assuming they can read and write in Portuguese. For Deaf students, speaking and listening would be more advanced skills, unlike with hearing students. So, modify phonics by teaching common letter combinations for words, for example. Go over the word order in great detail. Concentrate more on correct punctuation instead of correct intonation.  
Good luck with this! Maybe you will be able to write your own textbook on this when you have more experience. 

9 Oct 2017     

graca pereira

Thank you so much for your precious advice, , Les and Moody!
Greetings from Portugal! 

10 Oct 2017     

United States

Dissertations require an boisterous total about focus, time, yet dedication. Writing some requires customers in conformity with propulsion significant research, analyze idea and the background regarding established principles, yet to structure an authentic stance of it criteria. 

3 Apr 2018