Academics from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have been awarded £76,760 to undertake a unique global research project.
Dr Junhui Yang, Professor Ulrike Zeshan and Lynne Barnes have received £76,760 to collaborate for the first time with Chinese researchers regarding teaching English, British culture and deaf studies via online multimedia platforms.
This project will allow lecturers from UCLan and Zhongzhou University to create an online platform for sign language-based teaching of English rather than current inappropriate sound based learning.
Dr Yang said: “I am delighted to achieve this grant for our UK-China academic exchange and innovative research opportunity in a new and developing academic field. It is a privilege to share the wealth of expertise in e-learning platforms here at UCLan so that more deaf students will have the opportunity to learn English literacy and deaf studies content with the use of online resources and sign language.”
During 2016 the Zhongzhou lecturers will visit Preston to survey the British Sign Language (BSL)/Deaf Studies, English and Education courses and online course materials, in addition to learning some BSL. They will learn how to create multimedia materials in both English text and sign language at UCLan and, in return, will give lectures in Chinese deaf culture and higher education opportunities for deaf students in China. They will also showcase Chinese cultural art work by the Chinese deaf students and alumni.
The UCLan team will visit China during 2017-2018 to observe deaf students being taught English, and moderate the multimedia teaching materials that the Chinese lecturers will have created. The UCLan lecturers will offer training seminars and the Zhongzhou lecturers will demonstrate teaching English with sign language and the online platform. The finance has been provided by the British Council’s UK-China Partnership Innovation Challenge Fund.
Deaf studies’ courses have run for more than 40 years in the UK but despite there being 21 million deaf people in China, there is no deaf studies course in the country yet there is a high demand for teaching English to deaf students in preparation for university, study abroad or for work placement experiences.
UCLan’s School of Journalism, Language and Communication worked with Zhongzhou’s Special Education College back in 2014 to organise the SIGN7 International Conference of Sign Language Users which was held in China.