DEAF ADULTS’ LITERACY IN CATALONIA: DEAF TEACHER STRATEGIES

N. Pérez Aguado, M.P. Fernández-Viader

Universitat de Barcelona (SPAIN)
Currently, 80 % of deaf people are functional illiterate, in other words, they complete a basic education, but do not reach a suitable language proficiency, neither in its oral form nor in the written one (Fernández-Viader and Pertusa, 2007; Jáudenes, 2009; Carrilo and Domínguez, 2010).
Written language proficiency in advanced societies is considered an essential tool since it guarantees fundamental access to information and knowledge and, therefore, helps to develop a better identity and personal autonomy, while it affects social and work integration. Nevertheless, textbooks, activities and resources for teaching and learning written language which are used during lessons are aimed for listening students.
The PhD thesis The literacy of Deaf adults in Catalonia: Strategies of the Deaf teacher, which is currently in its research stage, as part of the European Project Deafli (538750-LLP-1-2013-1-ES-GRUNDITVING-GMP) tries to identify and analyze the strategies which Deaf teachers use in the context of teaching Catalan language to Deaf adult people, all users of Catalan Sign Language (LSC).
Some of the tools used in the classroom by Deaf teachers in order to strengthen the development of Deaf adults' full linguistic competences are: Classroom communication and placement, communicative approaches; bimodal reading tasks and word by word signing; individual and group writing tasks; metalinguistic resources; instructions for the differences between the different linguistic codes (Catalan Sign Language vs. Catalan written language); feedback and other contextual visual, textual or existential support resources.
So far, as Gutiérrez (2011) states “accessibility to information and communication in the Deaf community is still far from being a fact” but, from this new perspective, explaining in detail the new strategies that optimize the reading and writing skills of Deaf pupils, one hopes to bring their competences near the levels of their listening counterparts favoring their access to employment, equal opportunities and deterring exclusion.