Statped 2016

A study trip of the Czech team to Norway took place between 24–30 January 2016. Apart from the Statped workplace in Heimdal, it included also a visit to NTNU (Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet) – the Norwegian University of Technical and Natural Sciences that carries out a BA curriculum for sign language interpreters.

Working sessions at Statped took four days, during which the Teiresias Centre team met more than ten staff members responsible for the production of learning and study materials in sign language and for the development of technological tools necessary for these tasks. While Statped focuses mainly on publications for primary and secondary schools and the mission of Teiresias aims to tertiary education, it showed that they both encounter the same complications, relating to structural differences of written and sign languages and the short tradition of using sign video-documents in teaching. The main discussion topic was the translation of publications in sign language and various formats of their accessibility. However, other topics closely related to the central one were opened too – for instance more general issues concerning the education system in Norway, state subsidies, financing, interpretation, sign language dictionaries, testing sign language users, language teaching of the deaf, copyrights, etc. The Czech visitors were also given an opportunity to get an insight of the education process itself – both direct teaching of deaf children and online courses.

The working session at the NTNU took one day, the special curriculum for sign language interpreters being the main discussion topic. But also here other related issues were raised, as those already mentioned above (dictionaries, accessibility of study materials), and further e.g. the system of support to students with specific needs at Norwegian universities.

Although it appeared impossible to reach satisfactory answers to all the questions, the information obtained during the working sessions can be considered useful for both sides. It proved that in the two workplaces the work follows the same lines in many aspects, that there are common issues which need to be solved; therefore the questions raised by the Czech team were inspiring for the Norwegian colleagues – or at least stimulating further reflection.