Two Iowa School for the Deaf staff members presented at the XIX World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf in Jeju, South Korea. Tina Caloud, ISD chief academic officer and Deb Cates, Ph.D., language resources coordinator, lectured on “Language modeling intervention for STEM reasoning in deaf/hard-of-hearing students.” Twenty-four presentations were accepted at the international conference.
Abstract from the presentation:
When deaf/hard-of-hearing children have limited access to language during the critical period, they also miss access to the kind of overt connections between people, places and things in their world that are modeled by typical adult-infant and adult-toddler conversation (Rufsvold, 2018). This early rich, contextualized language lays the foundation for understanding what things are, how they behave and, critically, why they behave the way they do. This foundation, laid before the child enters school, is what teachers are trained to build upon. However, for deaf and hard-of-hearing children, this foundation is fractured and full of holes, often too unstable to support the scaffolding of higher order thinking, leaving teachers of the deaf, speech language pathologists, sign language interpreters, and other related service providers scrambling to fill in gaps in deaf and hard-of-hearing student language and conceptual knowledge without the aid of empirically tested interventions in this area (Scott & Dostal, 2019). An effective intervention should combine concrete, experience-based learning with intentional language scaffolding in order to support the concurrent development of language and academic knowledge. This presentation detailed the design of just such an intervention utilizing STEM content, which has easily accessible concrete, and visual, hands-on instructional materials. When combined with intentional language scaffolding and modeling of critical reasoning, the result is a robust intervention.