Paul Harrison: Teaching and Signing

Paul was born in 1985 in Hillingdon, London. He lived with his family in Uxbridge and attended a special deaf school in St. Albans from the age of three. From age eleven Paul attended the same school's secondary department attached to a mainstream secondary school. At sixteen he continued on to a local college and from there on to university.

Here Paul describes the difference in the abilities of some of his teachers.


The quality of the teachers varied. When I was six or seven, as long as their signing was good I was happy, but as I got older I began to notice the quality of the teaching could be very different if they had poor sign. If the signing wasn’t any good I would learn a lot less, than if they had beautiful BSL, where I would absorb everything. One problem was with a teacher of the Deaf who had great signing skills but whose teaching wasn’t good, another teacher whose signing wasn’t good, but whose lesson structure and ability to follow the curriculum was. There seemed to be no balance or middle ground. With one of my teachers who had never worked with Deaf students before, I was able to help her to improve and learn sign, and she would teach me in return. After about three years she then became confident working with Deaf people.

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