Cookies on Dublin People website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Dublin People website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
Hide Message
  • Northside West

DCU signs new path to teaching

Friday, 8th February, 2019 1:00pm
DCU signs new path to teaching

The Bachelor of Education is the first of its kind in Ireland.

DCU signs new path to teaching

The Bachelor of Education is the first of its kind in Ireland.

Orla Dwyer

THE Holy Family School for the Deaf in Cabra has welcomed a new Dublin City University pathway for the deaf and hard of hearing into a primary school teaching career.

The Bachelor of Education route was formally launched by Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh on January 24.

It is the first of its kind in Ireland and will be introduced, initally on a pilot basis, this September. 

“This new degree programme route for people who are deaf and hard of hearing to become teachers is a hugely important step towards ensuring increased access and inclusion for all in the classroom,” said Minister McHugh.

“It will open the door to a world of teaching both for young people who use Irish Sign Language but also for people who want to teach through sign.”

Students will undertake normal education modules to understand how children learn and contexts in classrooms along with more specific modules on deaf learning.

This includes the history and cultures of deaf communities, modules on deaf education, audiology and assessment of deaf or hard of hearing children. 

Hearing students will also be given the option of completing some deaf education modules. 

The existing requirement for higher-level Irish for the Bachelor of Education will be replaced under the new pathway with an equivalent proficiency level in Irish Sign Language (ISL).

There will be six places available in 2019. 

Eimear O’Rourke, principal of Holy Family School for the Deaf in Cabra, welcomed the initiative and said it would be a huge benefit to deaf children and potential future teachers. 

“Many of our students past and present have expressed a desire to become primary teachers,” she said.

“It is just fantastic that the inequity has been removed and their dreams can now become a reality.” 

The school currently has one Deaf primary teacher who qualified abroad and eight deaf post-primary teachers. 

“Having fully qualified primary teachers with high competency in ISL can only be beneficial,” O’Rourke said.

“It means the deaf child whose first language is ISL can have full access to classroom teaching without the need for another adult to aid communication.”

Elizabeth Mathews, Assistant Professor in the School of Inclusive and Special Education in DCU led the development of the pathway.

She has been working on the project for eight years and said there is a great need for Deaf teachers in Ireland. 

“It is extremely difficult for schools for the deaf, or for special classes for deaf children in mainstream schools to recruit teachers who are fluent ISL users,” she said. 

Mathews was commissioned by a group of charities that work with deaf people in 2011 to plan a proposal to address the barrier in teaching. 

“We only have one deaf primary school teacher working in a school for the deaf in Ireland, and there was no pathway in to primary teaching for Deaf ISL users before this initiative,” said Mathews.   

“The potential for this group of teachers to have an impact when they graduate is huge.” 

Dr Anne Looney, Executive Dean of the Institute of Education at DCU said the new course will give ISL full recognition and equal status as other languages in the path to primary teaching. 

“Children who access learning and express themselves through Irish Sign Language can be taught by teachers who do the same and who will be fantastic role models for Deaf students in our education system,” she said.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here