CAEBER Summer Institute enhances ASL/English teaching practices

July 03, 2010

Educators from across the country were on Kendall Green from June 19 to July 2 to participate in the College of Professional Studies and Outreach's Center for ASL/English Bilingual Education and Research's (CAEBER) Summer Institute. The Institute, which provides four courses over two summers, trains participants to be on-site ASL/English Bilingual Professional Development (AEBPD) mentors at their respective schools/programs serving students who are deaf or hard of hearing, including students with cochlear implants.

Participants in this 10th annual summer training--one deaf and one hearing from each school--return to their schools as AEBPD mentors and provide similar in-house professional development over a two-year period. The primary goal for mentors is to facilitate teachers and staff to identify, critically reflect upon, and modify their teaching practices to more effectively manage the strategic use of two languages--ASL and English--to meet the needs of students.

Last year alone, 53 active AEBPD mentors facilitated 500 in-service seminars to faculty, staff, and administrators in schools across the country. Since the program began in 1997 (and has continued under a five-year federal grant from Office of Special Education Programs Research to Practice Division), CAEBER has provided technical assistance, comprehensive training, materials, and support services tailored to be immediately relevant to the individual needs of 32 schools/programs for deaf and hard of hearing students.

In addition to teaching classroom educators and support staff how to actively plan for the acquisition, learning, and use of both ASL and English as languages for academic purposes, LPI supports the implementation of research-based language and literacy planning and mentoring through its summer course for administrators, "Enhancing Deaf Education: Language Planning and Leadership," which starts July 11.

"The AEBPD Summer Institute is an amazing experience," said Danielle Bluestein, a kindergarten teacher from the California School for the Deaf participating in the Summer Institute. "I have the opportunity to meet fellow teachers from schools all over the country. We discuss bilingual methodology, assessment practices, culturally inclusive instruction, and ASL/English language development. With highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic mentors, we delve into these complex and important topics with the ultimate goal of sharing our experiences and our information with fellow teachers at our home schools, and putting these effective practices into action in our classrooms." Bluestein added that after the training, "I will leave Gallaudet motivated and excited about the new ideas and techniques I have learned. I am eager to start my next school year with a renewed energy and a big bag of ideas, thanks to all the mentors and my fellow participants who made this experience rich and rewarding."

For more information about these programs or ASL/English bilingual education and language planning, contact Stephen M. Nover, Ph.D., Director of Language Planning Institute and CAEBER at stephen.nover@gallaudet.edu or visit the CAEBER Website at http://caeber.gallaudet.edu.