Sign Language Education and Development


Implementation of Opening Doors of Learning with educators

SLED runs a sustained programme of training on the methodology and use of materials for education in provinces around the country. Focus areas include:

  • Assistance for a Deaf child to acquire age-appropriate South African Sign Language (SASL)
  • Appropriate classroom practice for Deaf education
  • The development of literacy in both SASL and a written language
  • The use of SASL as a medium for teaching English literacy to Deaf learners

We assist educators of Deaf children to provide classroom environments which are appropriately visually stimulating, and creative and varied teaching strategies, including games and rhymes in SASL.

Bilingual language development is of vital importance for Deaf children. SLED members have presented at conferences that focus on Deaf issues and education. Most recently, at the July, 2011, World Federation of the Deaf conference in Durban, Kirsty Maclons of SLED and Zola Mkhonza of Ekhuruleni School for the Deaf gave a presentation entitled ‘ Sitting on the mat with us’ – enabling bilingual development in Deaf learners with hearing teachers was enthusiastically received by conference participants. The focus of the presentation was the impact of the SLED training on work at Ekhuruleni School in the foundation phase. The results are encouraging in terms of what can be achieved using the SLED materials and methodologies.

South African Sign Language for educators:

SLED has developed formal SASL teaching materials for adult learners, especially educators. The learning materials include learners’ manuals and DVDs, teachers’ manuals and accompanying DVDs, posters, games and assessment guides. Five Unit Standards are formally registered with the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA),and SLED is a registered ETDP SETA service provider. The courses consist of well planned, sequential language development methods. The courses are taught by SLED staff members who are Deaf first-language SASL users.

SLED works in all 9 provinces, and has provided services to most of the more than 40 schools for Deaf children in the country well as to some staff in governmental Education Departments and in full service schools.

We are also working to enable Deaf SASL teachers to obtain further educational qualifications, to increase the number of Deaf first-language SASL users who are educators of Deaf children.

In 2012, we plan to focus more intensively on educators’ SASL training as well as providing, on request, shorter intensive courses for organisations in introductory SASL and Deaf awareness and culture. The Department of Education is currently working on a South African Sign Language curriculum for Grade R to Grade 12, and the implementation of the curriculum in due time will also have implications in terms of training subject specialists.

Ideally, educators of Deaf children would need to have a minimum NQF level 7 (third year university) qualification in SASL, as well as being able to show full competence in using SASL as the language of instruction in their particular teaching area, e.g. mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, SASL, English literacy, etc.


There is so much good that can be done. If you would like to assist us achieving our goals for Deaf children, please consider making a donation.

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