Language and Accessibility Issues in Curriculum and Assessment plus workshops in Art & Design, Modern Languages, Environmental Studies
Presented in November 2005
Some bits and pieces of information which may be of interest to those supporting deaf students in modern language classes.
Two European projects, one recent, one current, have dealt with the issue of access to Modern Languages by students with disabilities. Both take as their starting point the right of all young people, regardless of ability, to be aware of their identity as young Europeans and to have an opportunity to study foreign languages.
1. European Commission report (February 2005): Special Educational Needs in Europe: The Teaching and Learning of Languages: Insights and Innovation. 208-page report and 6-page summary available at:
For sections on access to language learning for deaf students see pages 88-90, 130-131.
2.Council of Europe project: LangSEN:
Languages for people with Special Educational Needs. Launched in 2004, due to report in 2007. Details at:
One of the LangSEN project leaders is Bencie Woll, co-founder of the Centre for Deaf Studies at Bristol University, now heads the department of Sign Languages and Deaf Studies at the City University, London.
Language learning resources
MLG Publishing (Miniflashcard Language Games)
Note that MLG’s Vital Verbs Kit can also be used for practising verbs in English, and that pronoun and question dice are also available in English. For notes on English verb groups, to accompany Vital Verbs Kit, go to:
Clicker, Penfriend XL (predictive WP) and some other well-known software packages used to support English can also support foreign language learning.
Sources of information and advice for ML teachers
Europe, Language Learning and Special Educational Needs McColl, Hewitt & Baldry. SOEID 1996. Section 3E: ‘The European dimension, modern languages and pupils with hearing impairment.’
Modern Languages for All Hilary McColl . David Fulton (2000). Chapter 4, pp 72-78.
Modern Languages and Inclusion
Website includes a page on languages and deafness, a draft ‘strategies’ grid and updates on the production of a new eBook on the subject. The page also contains links to the following items:
From the Linguanet Forum: Foreign languages and deaf children:
Empower '97: Workshop 3: Foreign language learning and deaf children.
Account of the workshop on foreign language learning and deaf children
delivered by Mairi MacAulay, then Head of Aberdeen School for the Deaf.
From the Association for Language Learning's archive: Listening skills
and the hearing impaired child (H. McColl)
Other resources which may be of interest
Modern Languages in Special Schools and Mainstream Units in Scotland 2002
McColl et al. A research study sponsored by SEED. Online at:
International Perspectives on Language Support: Selected proceedings of the Supporting Deaf People online conferences 2001 – 2005. 141 pages, ISBN 0-9551424-1-5, price £7.99.
Many of the featured papers have
been revised and updated and there is also a summary of each conference
discussion. Contents, demo versions and more information can be seen at:
The same company has produced English/BSL Glossaries for Science, Engineering
and Art. See them at:
There is news of a glossary of signs for maths on the SSC site:
Deaf candidates' results in Modern Languages 2005
Summary of statistics supplied by SQA
Language SG/C SG/G SG/F Higher Int 2 Int 1
French 12 13 1 2(C) 1(C)
Gaelic 1 1(B) 1(C) 1(C)
German 5 2 2 1(C)
Spanish 1 2(A) 1(C) 2(A)
TOTALS 18 15 4 8 2 3
Total number presented: 50 (+ 2 absentees; 1 no award)
Almost half (23) achieved the top grade at their level.
No separate results are available for deaf candidates at Access levels since arrangements for internal assessment are flexible enough for no special measures to be required.
Standard Grade passes in preceding years; source: ADP
Language SG/C SG/G SG/F SG/C SG/G SG/F
French 4 15 4 6 11 2
German 3 5 3 5 3 1
TOTALS 7 20 7 12 15 3
Language SG/C SG/G SG/F SG/C SG/G SG/F
French 3 14 3 2 8 1
German 4 4 6 3
Spanish 2 2 1
TOTALS 7 20 5 10 11 1