By GLORIA BAUAI
TEACHERS of hearing-impaired students have no choice but to break the Coronavirus (Covid-19) rule of compulsory masking during contact hours, an official says.
Siwi Pope, a senior inclusive education officer with the Morobe Inclusive education resource centre, said this one rule rendered their method of teaching impossible.
“Apart from sign language, our students depend on lip-reading, facial expressions, body movement and other visual cues to translate the information communicated,” he said.
“So we had to break this rule by removing our masks during contact hours with our students; but we are sure to maintain our distance and sanitise our hands.”
Pope, who also teaches at Markham Road Primary School, said eight of their students with hearing impairments were sitting for their grade eight national examinations.
“Starting off a hearing impaired child is a very difficult task,” he said.
“But teachers who are specifically trained for this patiently go through different teaching strategies until the students catch on,” he said.
“The students who show signs of independence are then integrated into the mainstream school at grade three with other students; however, it does not mean it is any easy for them.
“Communication is still a challenge and some students sometimes go off track.
“In the last eight years of their primary school, we play around with ideas on how to ensure these students get the best education as other students.”
He said the school had graduated many students with various special needs over the years, some of who were now employed.
By GLORIA BAUAI