Social Innovation and Experiential Learning Project (SIEL) 2023-2024 – Deaf Culture & Sign Language Workshop
United College SIEL has come to its fifth year of introducing different local social enterprises to students. This year, the College continues to lead students to engage with different social enterprises through experiential learning, understanding more about the missions and operations of different social enterprises. Students are also encouraged to observe things happening around them, to identify social problems and to propose solutions.
The first activity of SIEL this year, the Deaf Culture and Sign Language Workshop, was jointly organised by the College and SLCO Community Resources (SLCO-CR). SLCO-CR is a non-profit organisation that provides bilingual sign language training and communication support services, and is the only organisation in Hong Kong that currently provides early sign language education to children with special educational needs. The workshop on sign language learning and deaf cultural sharing was held on 20 November 2023 at Choi Koon Shum General Education Resource Centre.
Through learning the sign language of “action”, students gradually understood the difference between sign language and gestures, and recognised that sign language itself is a language. Teacher also taught them the English alphabet A to Z using Hong Kong Sign Language and some simple conversational sign language. During the culture sharing session, deaf youth tutors guided the participants to think about what difficulties deaf people are facing in their daily lives and to discuss feasible solutions. These tutors also introduced other communication methods besides sign language and taught the students how to communicate with the hearing impaired even if they do not understand sign language.
Upon completion of the workshop, participants reflected that it gave them a preliminary understanding of sign language and gained insights of different situations that deaf people encounter in daily lives. SLCO-CR also encouraged students to reflect on how to extend care, support, and help to those in need.