A new program at Edinboro University will provide essential training for pre-service teachers to address needs for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, the Pennsylvania-based school announced on its website.
Starting January 2020, Edinboro University will launch a Bachelor of Science in Education undergraduate program in Early Childhood and Deaf Education—expanding on the University’s regionally recognized Deaf Studies minor.

The 4-year undergraduate degree will train teachers to work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing in a variety of educational settings. Teachers of deaf students will be prepared to work in public and private schools as resource, itinerant, and early-intervention teachers.

“Deaf culture holds views that a hearing loss is not a disability but simply a different way to speak, hear, learn, and communicate,” said Dr Karen Lindeman, associate professor at Edinboro and program creator. “Our new program will maintain this bicultural view.”

Edinboro University’s School of Education will officially introduce the Deaf Education major at the annual Butterfield Open House on Saturday, September 14. Details to come.

Undergraduate students in the Deaf Education major will learn the basics of audiology, American Sign Language and deaf culture, managing inclusive educational environments, strategies and assessment of students who are deaf, and extensive coursework on literacy.

Students will also complete field experiences and student teaching in Deaf Education classrooms.

Since 2017, Edinboro University has created and enhanced educational programming and training to expand focus on students with hearing loss.

In 2017, Edinboro developed a Deaf Studies minor—a cluster of courses that examines the development of the sense of hearing through adulthood and the ramifications of hearing loss on development, language choice, and academic achievement. The minor program also emphasizes a cultural view of deafness in literature, history, and American Sign Language.

Edinboro partnered with the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in the fall of 2018 to offer quality preschool programs tailored to deaf and hard of hearing children, ages 3 to school age. A small class size—with a permanent instructor—allows for individualized, student-centered instruction in a child-friendly classroom. Modular learning and thematic-based materials promote learning through play and support the development of vocabulary and language in authentic and developmentally appropriate ways.

“It’s important—as we train the next generation of schoolteachers and educators—to ensure that there are no barriers between children and education,” said Dr Erinn Lake, interim dean of Edinboro’s School of Education. “A new major in Deaf Education provides that indispensable training for teachers who dedicate their careers to serving students who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

Students who complete the Early Childhood and Deaf Studies program will be certified to teach students who are deaf and hard of hearing from birth through Grade 12.

When the Edinboro program launches, it will be the second undergraduate deaf education degree program in Pennsylvania’s State System of Education, after Bloomsburg University, which has offered a similar dual major since 2014.

All other deaf education programs across Pennsylvania are at the master’s degree level.

For more information about the Early Childhood and Deaf Education major, and news and events from Edinboro’s School of Education, visit: www.edinboro.edu/soe.

Source: Edinboro University