Emily Davies is a Teacher of the Deaf (ToD) who studied on the MSc Deaf Education course at Manchester. Here, she talks about the highlights of the course and the opportunities it has brought.
I started the Deaf Education course at Manchester in September 2018. I began my journey to become a qualified ToD (QToD) working in a resource base for three days a week and travelling to Manchester for face-to-face teaching for two days (and spending my weekends studying).
I took a big leap of faith to self-fund and commit to full-time on-campus learning, meaning two hours of travel each way, twice a week. This was alongside working as the only ToD in a resource base.
Looking back, it sounds a little crazy, but I am so glad that I took the opportunity.
Highlights of the course
I gained so much from face-to-face learning, having regular access to hands-on practical audiology sessions, the opportunity to maximise discussions with academic staff to improve my own practice, and gathering ideas from lectures and other students to implement in my job the following week.
The lecturers on the course delivered engaging sessions that opened my eyes to the joys and challenges of deaf education. They were extremely knowledgeable and dedicated to supporting us to become the best QToDs that we could be – to head out into the field and become agents of change.
I also feel extremely lucky to have studied alongside some brilliant now QToDs who are a supportive group. We still share ideas about good practice, CPD opportunities and so much more.
From PGDip to MSc
After completing my PGDip, I chose to continue the programme to gain the MSc qualification. I applied for and was successful in a bid to work on a collaborative project alongside a student from the Audiology course at Manchester.
The project was designed by Helen Glyde, the programme director of the MSc Audiology course, and jointly supervised by Lindsey Jones from the Deaf Education programme.
The project was about the impact of radio aids on listening effort and cognitive fatigue in deaf children. This was an area that I was already interested in and had previously researched during my PGDip. However, it was also an area that had a limited body of research, and there was a clear need for more research studies specifically about the impact of radio aids.
Some of the previous research on cognitive fatigue included testing, which required a laboratory setting. However, this project aimed to study this area further using a methodology that could be easily used within schools, and therefore was of significant relevance to the field of deaf education.
The study used two forms of data collection, which were closely linked, and was the first of its kind because it was cross-disciplinary, bringing audiology and deaf education perspectives together.
Unfortunately, after many hours jointly working on an ethics application and fine-tuning the details of the methodology we were going to use, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, meaning we were unable to carry out our planned data collection. This meant a change in direction and adapting my work to produce a grant proposal for my dissertation submission.
Although it was really disappointing not to be able to carry out any data collection or analysis, the study has now been planned and is ready to be completed in the future, and can be used to add to the knowledge base surrounding cognitive fatigue in deaf children.
The course has opened up so many opportunities for me. I am delighted to say that I have been awarded the BATOD Eichholz Prize, which is a national prize for outstanding performance on a ToD training programme.