Singapore has long been pushing for the notion of inclusive growth, a form of economic growth where not only the priviledged experience affluence but also the less privileged is integrated into the society as well. With this comes a new concept introduced by Mayflower Primary School seeks to honour this “integration proposal”.
As of 2nd Jan 2018, Mayflower Primary School officially became the 1st primary school to accept students with moderate to profound hearing loss. Previously, these students were only accepted by special education schools. This is thus a significant first step for school in the integration of special needs students into the mainstream.
Mayflower Primary School utilises a co-teaching model, where a specialised teacher proficient in sign language will teach alongside a main stream teacher for core subjects such as English and Mathematics. This is a distinct change from the previous model of just having translators. Mainstream teachers will be equipped with a microphone to aid the students with mild hearing-challenges. Specialised teacher will teach together using sign language.
All 6 hearing-impaired students attends classes as per normal with their peers. They will learn English, Drama, arts and craft and even music together with their age-group. The only difference will be that they learn sign language in a separate class during mother-tongue lessons.
The school has also been improving the non-curriculum aspect of schooling to aid the 6 students. When ordering food in the canteen, hearing-impaired students is expected to face certain difficulties. This is addressed by the school management through the use of visual cue cards and a chart showing various amounts in dollars and cents when the sum gets a bit more complicated.
This integration system has received thumbs up from many individuals.
Mdm Siti Nuraisyah Mohamed Murat, a parent of one of the deaf students
She kept on signing to me that she wanted to see her old friends and teachers… This will benefit her as she will have more confidence in herself with the hearing students surrounding her.
She’s been adapting well in school. Every time she comes back, she will surely have a lot of stories to tell me.
Janelle, one of the hearing-impaired students
I like to play with my friends, and I like running with them. I like school very much… and PE lessons
Charlotte, one of Janelle’s 2 buddies
It’s very fun to hang out with her. She’s always a happy girl and every time I see her, she always gives me a smile
In addition, Mayflower Primary will also be offering sign language enrichment classes. It is reported that there is already a high registration rate of about 30 teachers and students across all levels. This is a heartwarming statistics.