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Deaf Learners: Designing Practice to Support Their Learner Variability, Culture, and Families

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Deaf Student

Presented by Melissa Herzig, Ed.D., Director of the Translation in the Science of Learning Lab and Assistant Director for the Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience program at Gallaudet University; Andrea Sonnier, Creator of Critical Consciousness School and doctoral candidate in Critical Studies in the Education of Deaf Learners Ph.D. Program at Gallaudet University; and SaraBeth Sullivan, Fourth year doctoral candidate in the Educational Neuroscience Ph.D. program at Gallaudet University in Dr. Berteletti’s Numeracy and Educational Neuroscience Lab
Hosted by Barbara A. Pape, Policy and Communications Director, Learner Variability Project, Digital Promise

There was a live interpreter for this presentation.

Sponsored by Digital Promise

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There is no one-size-fits-all teaching and learning approach for students. Variability matters, not only among all learners, but within the community of deaf learners.

In this edWebinar, we discuss a broad range of questions often asked by many teachers, including: How can I motivate and engage deaf learners, especially those with different cultural, language, and low socio-economic status? How can I better understand and address in classroom practice the diverse language and cultural needs of my deaf students? And, as a teacher, how can I work with families to meet the needs of deaf students in a digital environment?

This conversation focuses on educational equity, including critical curricula, critical consciousness, and compassionate practices among teachers and students with multiple intersecting identities. We explore ways to provide support for deaf students with different background experiences, cultures, and languages. And, we dig into the research behind learner variability that has an impact on the teaching of and learning by deaf students.

During this edWebinar, we also:

  • Discuss ideas to improve professional development for teachers working with deaf students that seek to elevate strengths rather than lead with deficits
  • Provide guidance on how to choose appropriate resources
  • Offer ideas on how to partner with parents that are mindful of culture
  • Encourage and nurture student identity, including the intersectionality of deafness and race

This recorded edWebinar will be of interest to preK-12 teachers, especially those who teach English language learners, librarians, and school and district leaders.

Melissa HerzigAbout the Presenters

Dr. Melissa Herzig is the education and research translation manager for VL2, director of the Translation in the Science of Learning Lab, and co-founder and assistant director for Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience program at Gallaudet University. She is responsible for leading assessments and evaluations of resources within VL2 and for working with schools. Her role is to facilitate two-way communication between researchers and educators. She earned her bachelor’s in biology at Gallaudet University.

Andrea SonnierAndrea Sonnier devotes her time to teaching and learning from students, families, and professionals involved in the field of deaf education on topics related to social justice. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Deaf Education Ph.D. program at Gallaudet University. With a focus on K-12 education, Andrea studies issues of educational equity including critical curricula, critical consciousness, praxis, and compassionate practices among teachers and students with multiple intersecting identities.

SaraBeth SullivaSaraBeth Sullivan is a third-year doctoral candidate in Educational Neuroscience at Gallaudet University. SaraBeth’s doctoral research explores the neural underpinnings of arithmetic processing in deaf native signers, and she has conducted behavioral, EEG and fMRI studies to further explore this topic. This summer, she was a research intern with Digital Promise, working with the Learner Variability Project. After completing her doctoral degree, she hopes to pursue a career in policy work aimed at improving special education access and standards, as well as advocating for the deaf community to improve access in education.

Barbara PapeAbout the Host

Barbara Pape is the policy and communications director for the Learner Variability Project at Digital Promise. She has 20 years’ experience in strategic communications, writing, and policy analysis, primarily in education. Previously, she served as the executive producer of the award-winning Teaching & Learning conference, sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, where she developed content and oversaw outreach and communications. As a writer, she has written for numerous publications, including Harvard University, the National Education Goals Panel (U.S. Department of Education), and Parents magazine. Barbara also served as editor and publisher of the first electronically delivered education newsletter, the Daily Report Card. She served on the Advisory Board of the Kennedy Center’s Intersection of Arts Education and Special Education Committee, serves as a judge for the Miliken-Penn Graduate School of Education Business Plan competition, and is on the Boards at the Education Writers Association and Potentia. She earned an Ed.M. at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and launched her career as a middle school language arts teacher.

Join the Personalize Learning for Learner Variability community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Digital PromiseDigital Promise was created with the mission to accelerate innovation in education to improve opportunities to learn.

Digital Promise


Wednesday, September 16, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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