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Explicit Syntax Instruction for Deaf and hard of hearing students

This online series course provides the knowledge and strategies to work with grammar and language structure with students who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
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Key Details

Masterclass Series
Course Code

Course Information

Language structure (including grammar and syntax) is generally seen as something that is at best, dull, and at worst, intimidatingly confusing. This can prevent us from recognising that it is a crucial part of how we express ourselves, no matter what language we use.

When working with Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students, we are almost always working with a degree of language deprivation, difference, or both. As educators of the Deaf, it is our professional responsibility to teach our students about all aspects of language – including language structure. This requires personal expertise and confidence.

This course aims to give you this confidence by providing the knowledge and strategies to work with grammar and language structure. Upon completion of the course, you will be able to identify specific structural deficits in students’ spoken and written communication, select appropriate visual strategies for instruction, set and implement goals and monitor progress.

This course is specific to English grammar and mostly looks at written language. It is relevant for educators of students who use either Auslan or English to learn literacy.

Session 1: Syntax as part of a comprehensive literacy program

Learning outcomes:

  • Review barriers to literacy present for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students
  • Understand the interactions of language and literacy, and how to identify which is the primary presenting concern for a student
  • Understand how to program across levels of language for a comprehensive literacy program

Session 2: Syntax and grammar – a deeper, more functional dive

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the core building blocks of language structure
  • Begin to identify specific syntax difficulties in a student’s output

Session 3: Analysis and goal-setting

  • Develop confidence in identifying specific syntax difficulties in a student’s output
  • Determine priorities for intervention when presented with a written or spoken language sample from a DHH student
  • Set functional, measurable goals

Session 4: Strategies for intervention

  • Learn about a range of strategies for explicit syntax instruction, including visual strategies
  • Learn where to find more information where necessary

Session 5: Measuring and reviewing progress, giving feedback

  • Develop and implement outcome measures to track growth in language structure
  • Learn about different assessment tools to measure generalising of progress to other areas of language and literacy
  • Learn about key strategies to give feedback to students and to influence colleagues on how we talk about syntax

This event has been accredited for 5 CE Hours by the AG Bell Academy with course code: CE-NSI-23-003