A national deaf teacher training workshop began on Monday at Beijing Normal University, the first ever professional teacher training to target deaf teachers in China.
The workshop, jointly sponsored by Save the Children (UK) and China Disabled Persons' Federation, is designed for deaf teachers in schools, who teach mainly through sign language.
Five weeks' training will be provided annually for five years, offering professional teacher training to the majority of deaf teachers in China, said Zhao Zhonghua, Deputy Director of Save the Children (UK) China Program.
The first workshop covers the development of special needs education in China and difficulties in implementing the new curriculum as well as classroom techniques, teaching observations and sign language study.
It is estimated that in 2004 about 80,000 people with impaired hearing attended special education schools or special education classes in China and they were taught by around 200 deaf teachers.
The deaf teachers mostly graduated from one of three special education universities such as Changchun University, Technical School for the Deaf of Tianjin University of Technology and the Special Education College of Beijing Union University.
Many of them serve as teachers of fine arts at schools for the deaf. Due to the language barriers and other difficulties, teacher training for deaf teachers has been scarce in recent years, preventing deaf teachers from playing a greater role at schools for the deaf.
"We expect to develop this training workshop into a barrier-free one," said Xiao Yu, research and education project officer of Save the Children.
(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2006)