Print Edition - 2014-10-08  |  Nation

Amping up quality education for the hearing impaired

- Chetan Adhikari, JHAPA
Amping up quality education for the hearing impaired

Oct 7, 2014-Seeing her teaching the hearing impaired students using various hand gestures and expressions, Shila Devkota, a teacher at Kankai Higher Secondary School in Surunga, can easily be mistaken as being a person who is hard of hearing.

“Almost everyone coming to the school attempts to communicate with me through various hand gestures, but it is only when I speak to them that they feel embarrassed,” said Devkota, who teaches English to the hearing impaired students in the school.

Extremely dedicated to her work and well-appreciated by all, Devkota, who has been teaching in this school since the past eight years, had never dreamed of becoming a teacher, let alone teach a class of hearing impaired students.  She stumbled upon the job by mere coincidence. While searching for a job after completing her intermediate, she had opted to take a course on teaching the hearing impaired conducted in the school in the year 1998. Although 22 others had also participated in the training, only a handful had managed to make it through the gruelling six-month long training.

“First of all, it is very hard to understand sign language and even after you do manage to understand it, making various hand gestures in order to communicate in sign language is a very tough task. However, but just the feeling that I am able to teach and pass on the knowledge to the hearing impaired students by using sign language is gratifying, making it worthwhile,” Devkota said.

However, it was only in 2006 that she finally got the opportunity to teach the hearing impaired students. At present, Devkota has been acting not only as a teacher but also as an interpreter for the hearing impaired students in order to help them communicate with their parents, government officials and others visiting the school.

Sharing her experience, Devkota said that teaching English to these special students is a daunting task as the authorities concerned have still not managed to come up with special books which can help hearing impaired students learn quickly. According to her, it is imperative to have books with pictures for children as it eases the learning process. Stating that “special children” or children with hearing impairment can never be compared to normal children, Devkota stressed that the government needs to come up with an altogether different syllabus for such students.

Devkota, who has not had any additional training after the one she received 17 years ago, said that her job would be a whole lot easier if she were to receive more training on how to teach hearing impaired students and stay updated with the latest trends and technology making a difference in this field.

“We can teach hearing impaired students more effectively only if we receive regular trainings,” Devkota said.

According to one of Devkota’s students, Sapana Rai, a tenth grader,  Devkota’s teaching methods always put  students at great ease and enable them to understand the context without much difficulty. Assistant Headmaster Nirmal Kumar Khatiwada praised Devkota for her exemplary work and described her as an important asset to the school who has been helping bridge the communication gap between the school administration and students.

Published: 08-10-2014 09:35

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