On 14 October 2011 the Victorian Deaf Education Institute hosted an afternoon Masterclass at Deakin University’s Geelong Waterfront Campus. The session was presented by Dr Louise Paatsch - Senior Lecturer and Researcher in language and literacy at the School of Education, Deakin University - and Dr Dianne Toe - Senior Lecturer and Researcher in the development of pragmatic language skills at the University of Melbourne.
Dr Paatsch and Dr Toe examined aspects of their research on the pragmatic skills of school aged children with hearing loss: research outcomes and interventions. Effective communicators are sensitive to the unique roles of being both a speaker and a listener. These pragmatic skills are essential for building social relationships and interacting with the world.
The workshop presented the findings from a number of recent research studies conducted by the presenters. The focus was on the pragmatic skills of upper primary aged children who are deaf/HH and their hearing peers. Findings were presented related to interactions in a question/answer game, in free conversation and during an expository task.
The presenters used case studies and practical examples to examine the development of pragmatic skills. The presenters worked with participants to develop strategies for assessing pragmatic skills and ways to support students with hearing loss to use pragmatic skills more effectively.
The Masterclass was followed by a regional networking event so that professionals could discuss common issues with others in the same field.