OUR School Council have been teaching police, social workers and other community organisations about Deaf Awareness and British Sign Language (BSL), in a pioneering new project launched this month.
Students held a series of workshops in their pilot session for Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon County Council social workers and members of the PaddleBoat Theatre Company and Northcott Theatre, in the School Hall this month.
The session was so successful that police and social services are now keen for our students to host further training sessions for their colleagues.
The School Council will now hold a training session for our Trustees and Governors on Monday 10 July.
They were supported at their first event by Academy staff including Deaf Instructor Nikki James, Devina Jhundoo-Clayton, Positive Engagement Officer, Becky Seal, Student Support Worker, and Deb Thomas, English Teacher.
Deb said: “The School Council wanted to run Deaf Awareness Training in the community as a focus this year.
“It was an amazing opportunity for them to not only share their knowledge and experience as young Deaf people but to learn how to take a lead and present ideas. All this will help them prepare for adult life.”
She added: “The positive feedback from our trainees has helped raise their self-esteem and made them realise that they have a real part to play in disseminating information about the needs of Deaf people.
“I am so very proud of them. They presented the Academy to outside agencies with confidence and maturity.”
Molly Thomas, 14, School Council Chair, said: “I feel proud of myself. I liked the workshop best where I taught how to get a Deaf person’s attention through appropriate tapping.”
Ann Gittoes, 15, Vice-Chair of School Council, agreed that she felt proud to have helped lead the event. She said: “It was interesting teaching people BSL and Deaf Awareness.”
The session included our students running four workshops for guests to try, giving advice on fingerspelling, BSL vocabulary work, ways of getting a deaf person’s attention and different ways of communicating including gestures.
Our students also asked guests to decide upon true and false answers about what deaf people can or cannot do and what it sounds like to hear through a cochlear implant or hearing aid.
Guests asked questions including why sign language varies in different parts of the country and how to support a deaf person who is in distress.
Deb said: “Guests were particularly surprised at what it sounds like to hearing through a cochlear implant or a hearing aid. One guest said they were shocked at how they could even recognise music through a cochlear implant, from a YouTube website clip that our students showed.
“We are pleased that guests asked how they could find out further information about deaf awareness and were keen for us to host longer sessions for their colleagues in the future.”