Art could be the next big breakthrough in deaf education
This article is one of the case studies done in her class by educator Joanne Weber.
Note: Joanne Weber has taught the deaf and hard of hearing class at Thom Collegiate for twelve years. Over the last five years, she's started to see a troubling trend in her students. Many of her high school students are not reading at the Grade 4 level.
She flipped learning on its head, and did every project starting with the artwork first. Her students wrote books, but before writing any words, they drew the pictures for each page. They did a science experiment, but made a storyboard of the project first.
"When I realized what [Jacqueline] was doing in the art making was parallel to how she was approaching reading, then I knew we were making progress. Her brain changed through drawing, and then something about that broke down a wall and she was able to get through to the end of the word, or the other side of the dinosaur."
For this class project, students painted the pictures first, and then captioned them. Teacher Joanne Weber has found that working with art first can improve the language skills of the students.
"They're not picking it up through the hearing and the technologies, and they're not picking it up through the sign language, so they're really stuck between two languages."
Myungja Anna Koh