How studying Deaf Education connected my experiences to learning

Moira Cooper.Teacher of the Deaf graduate Moira explains why she can’t stand still in life and how stepping outside her comfort zone has allowed her to make a real difference.

Why Deaf Education?

As a primary teacher with a passion for literacy and working with vulnerable learners, this course brought together all my interests.

What is your background?

I’ve been a teacher for over 25 years and have always developed my skills alongside this role. My original degree was in Physics, and since graduating I’ve gained postgraduate qualifications in education and in leadership.

I’m also an accredited SENCO and an AMBDA member and have British Sign Language (BSL) at level 1. I have a passion to learn and apply my knowledge to the job.

What is your current role?

I work as a special needs advisor and lead a sensory team. I have a small case load as a teacher of the deaf. I’m not a typical student, as while I was training I was also leading a team in this specialism.

Why did you choose to study at Manchester?

I liked the blended style of distance learning that also included some face-to-face time. It also meant I could continue to work alongside my study, and fit the course around my life and work.

The extended face-to-face teaching blocks each year gave opportunities for conversation and debate as well as time to address some of the more practical aspects of the course. But, more than that, these times enabled me to establish good relationships with tutors and peers, which made online learning through the year feel more connected.

The group I was with were amazing, and supported each other through the ups and downs that are inevitable in any training that stretches and challenges. It was also great to be able to hear of their experiences of deaf education in different areas and settings- which reflected the diversity of the role of TOD.

What did you enjoy most about the course?

Connecting areas of my understanding through research and reading was great. It was also a benefit to be able to meet regularly to share our learning and support each other.

The content of the course itself addressed areas that have been relevant and pertinent to my role in deaf education and have challenged me to think through the ways I approach teaching and working with deaf children and young people and their families.

What did you enjoy least about the course?

I loved the course but it was a challenge to juggle it alongside a job and family life. The tutors were really supportive and understanding when the heavy demands of family-life, study and work coincided, and took time to help me step back to prioritise the competing demands.

What’s next?

My dissertation focused on supporting the comprehension of deaf readers and I possibly want to do more study in this area. I now also have the ability to apply what I’ve learnt in the context of my role.

I have shared my learning with other members of my team and I hope to inspire them to progress into further study in their areas of specialism. I’m a believer in study and learning so I’m sure I’ll be looking at new ways to continue developing my knowledge in the future!

Learn more about the MSc/PGDip Deaf Education course at Manchester.

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