The British Association of Teachers of the Deaf
Promoting Excellence in Deaf Education

Helping to build understanding and, hopefully, support!

Across the UK there are many people, including a number of Teachers of the Deaf, who feel that they would be able to offer their skills and knowledge to help develop educational opportunities for deaf children where provision is currently almost non-existent. VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) provide training and facilities and has a wide range of experience in helping such people achieve their aim. There are also many other organisations and initiatives that are working independently, some just having a 'sticky plaster' effect and others trying to set up systems that encourage self-sufficiency.

Unfortunately many people want to 'go out there' to 'do something for them!'.

If technologies are supplied where there is no infrastructure to support the maintenance or development then the 'help' is very short term. We need to support 'them' to develop their own provision and to take full ownership of it, and of the decisions made in development.

We need to support capacity building and training developments in the local area, by and for the indigenous people

  • so that they can continue developments, training etc, build on them.
  • so they should  not rely on high income countries as their models or places to go to to get an 'education' which is mostly inappropriate for the economy; the infra structure; technology and practising conditions in which they will live and work.
The 'education' often drives these people to seek employment and a life away from their own country - which needs them.

BATOD is most in favour of using any local developments and resources if at all possible. It is important to support the building of the regional networks, rather than importing an alien western culture, western methods and systems, unless they can be built onto local knowledge in a model that will be sustained by local support over the long term. So anyone going into another country needs to be able to develop a good empathy with the culture and to support regional developments - if there are any!!

The rôle of BATOD

As an organisation, BATOD is the professional body for Teachers for the Deaf for the UK. BATOD used to run training courses for the initial qualification for Teachers for the Deaf. Whilst this may have been an effective way of delivering training, it was very demanding on the individuals who provided training in addition to their working commitments.  This distance and part-time training was transferred to University of Birmingham. A number of UK Universities have a range of courses for training Teachers for the Deaf. Most of these courses run as part-time or by distance learning, or by a combination of both. Some students from other countries come to the UK to attend these courses. Some also come for courses leading to higher degrees. BATOD has a range of short courses, and also has international links.   

As both methods of training are very expensive and are not always relevant to students from other countries, some of people have been trying to encourage training of student Teachers and other professionals in their own countries, or at least in their own region. This should mean more cost effective training; building expertise in the country and in the region; and ensuring that training is relevant to the country's and region's needs and stage of development.  We hope that anyone from an economically poor country will return and will be able to make a big contribution to developments in training and research in their own country and region.

The International Editor, David Bond, is interested in the facilities available in Malaysia, as there are training needs for teachers and Speech and Language therapists, sign researchers, teachers, communicators and interpreters and psychologists etc in Cambodia and Laos. Training in Europe or other 'western country' may not really equip Teachers and therapists for their work in SE Asia in view of differences in educational methodology, curriculum, technology, environment, culture, language etc, etc.  External training may not help them to build their regional connections and links, whereas training and research within the region should help to build a training and research community for exchange and development of excellence in practice as well as exchange of ideas through journals and conferences in the region.   

The rôle for BATOD in this is to be a facilitator where possible, by exchanging and sharing information through the international page of the Magazine of BATOD and the BATOD website. The International Editor is also happy to try to make links between individuals and groups, or to provide suggestions/advice.