Professor Marc Marschark presented on ‘How deaf children learn’ to a full house at the Victorian Deaf Education Institute on Wednesday 17 July.
The focus was on the fact that for more than 100 years investigators have taken a keen interest in language and cognition in deaf people. In many ways, they have played a central role in arriving at our current understanding of how deaf children learn, and indirectly, in proscribing educational methods deemed appropriate for them. But something has gone awry. Deaf learners continue to lag behind hearing peers in literacy and other academic skills relative to their hearing peers. Despite hundreds of studies and a new ‘methode du jour’ every few years, their challenges have been stubbornly resistant to eludication. This presentation will describe some of the differences between deaf and hearing learners, differences that can either help or hinder deaf learning in formal and informal settings but need to be recognised by parents, teachers and students. It will be suggested that a primary reason for the lack of progress in teaching and learning in deaf education is that we have been looking in the wrong places for the solutions.
“Marc Marschark is a great presenter,” said participant Sue McDonald. “His presentation reinforced that all kids are different and we must be aware that they all learn differently and we must cater for this. Amazing variety of workshops organised by VDEI – great to have these people who are doing meaningful research.”
Marc Marschark is a Professor at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a college of Rochester Institute of Technology, where he directs the Center for Education Research Partnerships. He also has appointments at the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh and the School of Psychology at the University of Aberdeen. His primary interest is in relations among language, learning and development. His current research focuses on such relations by deaf children and adults in formal and informal educational settings. He founded and edits the Journal of Deaf Studies.