About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 8903-8907
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0671

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain


J. Barral1, S. Rodrigues-Mascarenhas2, V. Rumjanek1

1Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (BRAZIL)
2Universidade Federal da Paraíba (BRAZIL)
In Brazil the deaf population is around 9.7 million and only less than 0.02% ever go to university and, of those, an almost derisory minority dedicates themselves to a career in the field of science. Worldwide it has been found that little emphasis is placed on science education for the deaf and this may contribute to the low demand for this area of knowledge. On the other hand, since 2005, the Deaf Project at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the Federal University of Paraiba, both in Brazil, have attempted to motivate deaf youngsters toward science believing that the data cited above are not related to a lack of interest, but to lack of access to the scientific field.

To create strategies to attract signing Deaf adolescents toward science. For this, they were invited to participate in a course given in a research lab at the university to make them understand and value laboratory activities.

As a first step, an introductory course on safety management and practices in a biological research laboratory was developed, aiming at introducing the students to a research environment and, at the same time, arousing curiosity about scientific research. This was done using a group dynamics approach having as facilitators postgraduate students that normally worked at the laboratory. The course lasted one week and the students were divided into groups that received each a team task. Initially, they should draw in normal size either a man or a woman and their tasks were divided: some should draw what they should not wear in a lab whereas other should draw what they must wear. Then they needed to identify in a real research laboratory the science safety symbols that they could find, such as toxic, corrosive, explosive, inflammable, etc. Then they needed to explain what the symbols meant and what care should be taken. The next step was to explore the necessity to use personal protective equipment such as lab coat, safety spectacles, face shield, gloves, masks, chemical apron, etc. For this, they were given experiments to perform such as working with an (innocuous) microorganism. It was their original decision what kind of protection they should wear but they should explain why, being corrected if they were wrong. Equally, they were given the task to prepare a chemical solution and they should wear protective equipment. They were also introduced to the concept of acid, basic and neutral substances. At the end of the course, they were asked to bring household chemicals and food such as vinegar, shampoo, milk, water, detergent, lemon, apple juice etc. to test the acidity or alkalinity of the substances using red cabbage as an indicator. This was important to approximate chemistry and everyday life.

The need to accomplish a specific goal created a sense of belonging that could not be achieved in normal classes. The need to think about the safety precautions that were needed to be able to perform some experiments led to a clear understanding of the problem they were facing as opposed to just performing a task. Wearing a “uniform” (white coat, gloves etc.) made them feel important and increased their self-esteem. An analysis of their opinions after the course indicated that they developed a very positive attitude toward science, the first step into becoming really interested in the subject.
author = {Barral, J. and Rodrigues-Mascarenhas, S. and Rumjanek, V.},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.0671},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.0671},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {8903-8907}}
AU - J. Barral AU - S. Rodrigues-Mascarenhas AU - V. Rumjanek
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0671
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 8903
EP - 8907
ER -
J. Barral, S. Rodrigues-Mascarenhas, V. Rumjanek (2017) SIGNING SCIENCE – INTRODUCING DEAF STUDENTS TO LABORATORY PRACTICE, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 8903-8907.