The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Zhengzhou Institute of Technology (ZIT, formally named Zhongzhou University, ZZU) in Zhengzhou, China, have been working on a project sponsored by the British Council’s UK-China Partnership Innovation Challenge Fund. The project entitled “Academic exchanges regarding teaching English and Deaf Studies with an online multimedia platform” (2016-2018) is led by UCLan’s Dr. Junhui Yang, with collaboration from iSLanDS. The UK-China project teams presented English Literacy teaching /Deaf multiliteracies workshops during an academic staff exchange trip from the UK to Beijing and Zhengzhou.
On 10 September 2018, a workshop was held at the special education college, Zhengzhou Institute of Technology. The workshop participants were 18 Deaf teachers of Chinese Sign Language and 6 hearing teachers of English language, 10 college students, post-graduate students and interpreter-trainees. In addition to Zhengzhou, participants joined the workshop from Jiangsu Normal University (Xuzhou), Tianjin Institution of Technology, Shanghai CSLized Culture Centre, and Yantai Ailong Sign Language Research Centre (Shandong Province).
Some of the Chinese participants stated that their previous experiences of learning English had been unsuccessful because they relied on memorisation only and it was difficult to remember everything. After the deaf literacy workshop, the participants commented that learning through this functional approach, with the use of objects containing everyday English, was a much more effective way to learn. A few teachers commented that the workshops made them realise that deaf students can achieve in learning English as a foreign language.
Presentation on international literacy projects Learners with a sample text
Below are some further comments that participants shared with the project team:
“The use of sign language to explain how English works, and how to master specific grammatical aspects, was very effective, as it gave them a visual explanation to aid understanding.” —- Jiao Yuyi
“There are not enough functional resources used in the teaching of English in China, and more resources are needed. The workshop improved their confidence to create materials by recording themselves translating from English to Chinese Sign language.” —- Zhang Peng
“It is wonderful to see sign language coming out from the underground and being taken seriously as a language of instruction in education.” —- Gail Caudrelier
“The use of mobile phone technology was incredible to see, and is clearly essential in everyday life in China. The need to use English is increased with such technologies and may increase motivation and necessity to learn English in the near future.” —- Nicola Nunn