04 SES 12, Teacher Attitudes
In the last years an increased number of students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing are educated within regular schools by hearing teachers (Krause, Kegl, & Schick, 2008). Within this context, the educational interpreters assumes a nuclear role whose abilities to interpret, as stated by Schick, Williams and Kupermints (2006), represents the major predictor for the quality of students’ access to the classroom content. If the importance of educational interpreters as facilitators of communication is consensually recognized, the extension of their functions within classroom raises some questions. In fact, two perspectives can be found in literature regarding the role and consequent knowledge of educational interpreters in inclusive classrooms. One of those perspectives stresses that, as in every interpreting setting, the function of educational interpreters is interpreting, in this case, the teacher discourse. The other perspective considers the impact of educational context in the interpretation process meaning that the performance educational interpreters’ role should take into account variables that support teaching-learning processes (Antia & Kreimeyer, 2001; Schick et al., 2006). This second perspective states that, additionally to interpreting knowledge – namely in skills needed for voice-to-sign and sign-to-voice interpretation – educational interpreters should also have knowledge about education and child development across life span, due to their role in mediating learning experiences (Antia & Kreimeyer, 2001; Schick, 2001).
In Portugal there is no information about quality standards supporting the role of sign language interpreters who work within regular schools as it happens in other countries such as United States (e.g., Ohio Department of Education, 2011). The only parameter for sign language interpreters working on regular schools is to be highly qualified. Indeed, the sign language interpreters’ preparation program is recognized as a 1st cycle degree course since 1999.
In order to contribute for the development of educational interpreters’ career, we examined the opinion of themselves and regular teachers of students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing about the kind of knowledge that educational interpreters should have. For that, we developed the Knowledge of Educational Interpreters (KEI)questionnaire, which items endorsed three domains of knowledge grounded on literature about: interpreting skills; processes inherent to learning and teaching and; specific aspects to interpret inside classrooms. This study aims to evaluate: (1) how important are for teachers and interpreters the different knowledge domains in the performance of interpreters’ role in educational settings? (2) To what extent teachers and interpreters consider that educational interpreters have knowledge in each domain? (3) How important are initial training, in-field experience and informal opinion exchange as source of each knowledge domain in the opinion of interpreters.
Antia, S. D., & Kreimeyer, H. (2001). The role of interpreters in inclusive classrooms. American Annals of the Deaf, 146(4), 355-365. Krause, J. C., Kegl, J. A., & Schick, B. (2008). Toward Extending the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment to Cued Speech. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 13(3), 432-450. Ohio Guidelines for Educational Interpreters (2000). Columbus, OH: Department of Education. Sanches-Ferreira, M. (2002). Estudo das orientações dos professores do primeiro ciclo face à educação dos alunos com necessidades educativas especiais. (Doctoral Thesis, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Porto Portugal). Retrieved from: http://repositorio-aberto.up.pt/bitstream/10216/41640/2/69994.pdf Schick, B. (2001). Interpreting for children: How it’s different. Odyssey, 2, 8-11. Schick, B., Williams, K., & Kupermintz, H. (2006). Look who's being left behind: Educational interpreters and access to education for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 11(1), 3-20. Schick, B., & Williams, K. (1992). The educational interpreter performance assessment: A tool to evaluate classroom performance. Paper presented at the issues in Language and Deafness: The use of sign language in educational settings: Current concepts and controversies, Omaha, NE.
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