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EDITORIAL I have been out of college for a year and a half now, and I've found that deaf education isn't what they told us it would be. Oh, I remember the courses on language development , and behavior management, but that was nothing like the situation that exists in the classroom. I go to libraries at night and study all I can about learning problems and emotional disturbances, but nothing I have found yet prepares me for the problems I see during the day. Somehow I've got to improve myself, and learn what to do to be able to serve these students better . It's just so frustrating sometimes.Maybe I'll go back to school and take some counseling courses. If I were a guidance counselor, maybe I could have real impact on these kids' lives, and help them solve some of these problems they are dealing with. Unpublished paper California School for the Deaf, Fremont Many teachers today have the same thoughts and feelings expressed by this quotation. The problem has to do with the changing nature of deaf students, especially the increase in the multiply handicapped, and the preparation colleges are providing prospective teachers. Current certification is geared toward preparing professionals to work with deaf students who have no other major problems. With the exception of inadequate preparation in sign language, most of those who gain CED Certification are well qualified to teach regular deaf youth. However, few are professionally competent to serve the severely multiply handicapped, including even those who have chosen this field as an area of specialization under present CED standards. Schools, teachers, and students must suffer the consequences of this lack of preparation. Most schools have to introduce extensive in-service programs for staff (teachers, administrators, residential counselors). In-service training is important for updating or improving professional competencies , but it is not an effective means for basic teacher preparation . For example, it often means a teacher is introduced to a class of students whose needs he or she is unqualified to meet. In-service education is then superimposed upon the existing work day. For the teacher unprepared to handle a class of multiply handicapped children, it is not easy to teach all day and attend "in-services" in the evenings and/or weekends. Colleges and universities have made efforts to offer full masters degrees in the education of multiply handicapped deaf students. However, these have generally been hodge podge programs that provided a regular deaf education curriculum plus a course or two on mental retardation or "special education" in another department. Western Maryland College and others have offered summer workshops focusing on specific techniques useful with the multiply handicapped . This helps, but it is not enough. To solve the problem it may first be necessary to break down preparation into narrower areas (e.g., deaf and mentally retarded, deaf and emotionally disturbed, etc.). Graduate degrees or certification could then be provided in these specializations. The present system will continue to leave many teachers with feelings similar to the person quoted at the opening of this editorial. McCoy Vernon, Ph.D. Editor A.A.D. I October 1986 261 ...


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