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

Association Magazine September 2017

Acoustics and technology


PageArticle Comment
Focus articles
4 It's about access, not hearing loss Karen Anderson discusses the cascading impact of hearing loss on Access to School Communication as deaf children will suffer fragmented hearing, have to make increased effort to listen and comprehend which leads to increased fatigue from trying to follow lessons and leads to a decrease in their pace of learning.
8 What do SENCOs think about classroom acoustics? Ann Birch reports on a survey of the views of 147 SENCOs on the importance of classroom acoustics which showed that many participants thought it was an area their school had not thought about but which also highlighted the problem of how to share their knowledge of the subject with the rest of the staff at their schools.
10 Treatment of pre-school provision Tim Simmons presents a case study in which acoustic clouds were part of the solution to the need to improve listening conditions in a nursery environment where echoes and reverberation were causing considerable distress to a child with hearing loss and how the installation of the acoustic clouds improved the acoustics as well as the confidence, speech and behaviour of the child involved.
12 Acoustic standards in schools Ian Matthews navigates through the numerous regulations relevant to acoustic standards in schools to give a clearer view of the requirements and how the needs of children with special hearing needs can be incorporated more easily at an early stage of design but will need to be raised with senior staff and the local authority or education provider if it has to be addressed at a later stage under the requirements of the Equality Act.
14 A review of the use of apps in education Zheng Yen Ng looks at a range of aspects of the use of apps including why some apps are considered useful in education as well as discussing the benefits and challenges in accessing and using them - such as how they can support teaching and education, how they can be used to aid pupils’ assessment, for classroom management and for collaboration with other students, parents or professionals.
17 Trialling the use of the LENA system Abi Ma’ayan has been trialling the use of the Language ENvironment Analysis (LENA) system to support early intervention for deaf children and their families – which gives daylong insight into the child’s world and transcribes all the data onto a computer for analysis. The data can then be used to develop a plan to improved the child’s opportunities for language development.
19 Radio aids for pre-school children Sarah Allen looks at the findings from a recent Ear Foundation study exploring the use of radio aids with pre-school deaf children and the benefits and challenges that come with them, one particular advantage found being the improved listening experience when in noisy or distant situations.
20 Measuring classroom acoustics Gary Webster discusses the measurement of the impact of classroom acoustics on speech and how a teacher’s voice is clear and complete as it leaves the teacher’s mouth but is degraded by the acoustics of the classroom and other noise by the time it has travelled to the students. He looks at the importance of sound level meters and how to use the data for making reasonable adjustments to ensure compliance with acoustic quality standards.
22 Assessing the classroom Brian Shannan and Tony Murphy discuss reverberation and clarity assessment in the classroom using the assessment of a school in Fife using Pupil Equity Funding to purchase soundfields for the classrooms to target those learners most affected by the poverty related attainment gap and showing how the tests were set up and the results analysed.
24 A sound education for all Shane Cryer explains the importance of good acoustics to provide the best possible support for students and teachers in order to achieve a greater sense of inclusion and higher attainment levels which benefit everyone, not just those with hearing impairment. He also discusses how acoustic performance can be improved during refurbishment.
28 Acoustics MESHGuide Ann Underwood urges you to keep up to date with the Acoustics MESHGuide, which has already been viewed by interested visitors in over 160 countries and has had over 2,000 'hits' from the UK, and covers 10 important things you should know about Acoustic Accessibility so that what is spoken is received by the listener at a volume that allows the words to be clearly heard and, potentially, understood.
30 Walls have ears Suzanne Thrower extols the benefits of acoustically treated classrooms to allow deaf students to focus on their learning using her experience at two schools while also acknowledging the benefits of mixing with other students for classes at a mainstream school in order to share the wider curriculum available there.
32 Understanding speech acoustics Carl Verschuur and Sarah Worsfold examine three key principles of acoustic and auditory phonetics: that the spectrum of speech sounds is crucial to understanding, that speech sounds are buzzes, hisses or buzzy-hisses and that inflection, pitch and intention of speech also matter..
34 How acoustically friendly is your classroom? Bernadette Miller shares an acoustic assessment document she has used successfully in mainstream schools which is a chart that can be used to effectively assess your own classroom for potential problem areas and one which also offers some suggestions on ways to address them.
General features
36 iCARE Winter School March 2017 Paul Simpson discusses the huge range of presentations at the final iCARE Winter School held in Sweden which included Tobias Busch who is working with Cochlear in Belgium, the use of the language analysis tool LENA, Florian Pausch of Aachen University, Michaela Socher and many more, all contributing to a range of hugely different presentations underlining the crucial theme of this project – interdisciplinary collaboration with the aim of inclusion of deaf children and young people in society
39 Sharing books Louise Ashton and Frances Clark are turning pages through the ages: accelerating progress through interactive book sharing and helping parents and caregivers with practical strategies to help them enjoy booksharing with the children in their care.
40 Bilingual ebooks JFollowing on from a workshop presentation at the annual conference Katherine O’Grady-Bray describes the development of bilingual ebooks which have video footage embedded next to the text and illustrations of the original book with the BSL signing videos having a ‘voice over’ describing what the signer is indicating to ensure the fuller understanding of the signing and allowing the parent/caregiver to read the original story text.
42 St Mary's group Nicky Weightman describes an initiative to bring together all the deaf students in one resourced secondary school so that instead of isolated deaf students struggling alone they could identify, mix with and share experiences with the other deaf students and discuss problems they encountered at school, such as classroom acoustics, which led to a full acoustic audit in the worst rooms and suggestions as to how to improve the situation.
46 Green screen Following on from a second workshop presentation at the annual conference, Katherine O'Grady-Bray explores the use of kinaesthetic learning in the classroom to aid in the aim of pupils becoming independent and confident thinkers. This less confined environment encouraged a hands-on learning approach and was helped by the use of Green screen which allowed pupils to use role play to feel connected to key events in history.
48 Managing transitions for young people with hearing loss Melanie Gregory, Diana Harbor and Clare Allen discuss ways to make transition more successful for deaf students taking into account their individual needs and any barriers they encounter such as lack of communication and support at school as well as practical ideas for parents.
50 Multi-lingualism Kate Crowe weighs up multilingualism and deaf learners: the good, the bad and the evidence - there can be a broad range of neurological, cognitive, social, and linguistic benefits of multilingualism although there are also some disadvantages, such as slower word retrieval, which may be more pronounced in deaf children.
Association Business
03 Shaping practice, influencing change Stuart Whyte reports from the European Symposium on Paediatric Cochlear Implants and welcomes Blake Papsin’s challenge to manufacturers to make cochlear implants more available in the developing world. He also looks at the how the language of examinations may impact deaf children.
52 Social and emotional development of deaf children Sue Gregory introduces the next topic for the history section of the BATOD website - the social and emotional development of deaf children.
54 Scottish conference Myra Orr reports from the BATOD Scotland Conference held in Aberdeen on Saturday 13th May 2017. The keynote speaker was Dr Katherine Rogers who gave a presentation on “Why Promoting Positive Well-being in d/Deaf Young People Matters” plus presentations from Gareth Challis from Front Row and Richard Vaughan from Connevans. There were also talks by Stuart Whyte who spoke about BATOD and by Tina Hendry whose theme was “See the Child not the Behaviour”.
57 What went on at NEC on June 10th 2017 Sandy Goler reports from the NEC meeting in Belfast, topics covered were website development, supporting the progress of ToDs and keeping a CPD log. Other items were discussed as well reports from the regions leading to a very worthwhile meeting.
58 BATOD Deafness and Autism SIG Training Day Joyce Sewell-Rutter reports from the meeting of the BATOD autism SIG held in Islington. The keynote speaker was Dr Jamie Galpin whose topic was ‘Being together in time’ – using music to support and develop social, emotional and behaviour regulation skills with autistic children and young people. Katharine Nolan shared her work on Bespoke Visual Reinforcement Audiometry which uses frequency specific rhymes and cartoon video clips to engage the reluctant/autistic patient in clinic sessions.
60 Representing You Between the NEC meetings, members of BATOD attend various meetings that are of particular interest to Teachers of the Deaf. This list is not exhaustive. Your representatives at the meetings listed included: David Couch, Sue Denny, Stephanie Halder, Jackie Salter, Paul Simpson and Stuart Whyte. .
61 Review – Our School Signs Looking at a new volume from the very popular Cath Smith which covers a multitude of school-based signs including 21st century requirements, such as Skype and Google, and which was very well received.
62 This and that ... Including congratulations to Frank Barnes School and to Karen Simpson, former headteacher at the same school, plus a call from young people for sign language lessons in mainstream schools.
63 Membership, Officers, Regions and Contacts
64 Calendar