May Product of the Month Features DecisionMaker
DecisionMaker: A Student-Directed Transition Program
Offer expires May 31, 2011
Author: Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center
This exciting program provides deaf and hard of hearing students with opportunities to develop the critical transition skills of planning and decision making. DecisionMaker provides a set of materials to actively engage deaf and hard of hearing high school students in the process of learning about themselves and others, setting goals, making plans, and solving problems.
Based on research that suggests self-determination is a critical factor in successful transition, the program requires that teachers coach rather than instruct. Students explore choices and experience consequences within the safety of the classroom. Teachers guide the process, helping students to advance their levels of self-awareness and self-confidence. DecisionMaker materials cover 14 to 18 weeks if scheduling allows at least two hours a week.
The DecisionMaker program has been designed with the visual communication needs of deaf and hard of hearing students in mind. If there are hearing students in a group, they can also benefit from the skill-building activities included. The program is suitable for any middle school to post-high school student who needs to make decisions for him- or herself. While it is primarily intended to be used with students in small groups, such as classroom settings, counseling groups, dormitory groups, etc., it can be easily modified and used with students on an individual basis as well.
DecisionMaker includes a teacher/facilitator handbook, lessons, student journals, and other student materials. A facilitator's overview DVD demonstrating materials and techniques for using the DecisionMaker teacher/facilitator handbook is also included. Unit topics include: learning about yourself, generating choices, developing criteria and setting goals, making plans, and evaluating plans. Group and individual projects provide opportunities for students to experience making choices and being responsible for their own decisions.
DecisionMaker fits very well with the objectives of secondary-level transition and career/work preparation courses. It can also be incorporated into guidance sessions or regularly scheduled seminars. Counselors, residential staff, after-school program sponsors, and support service personnel can adapt DecisionMaker to accommodate less structured after-school hours.