Auslan teacher leads the way

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

SHEN­TON Col­lege Deaf Education teacher Karen Bon­tempo has been named the WA Pre­mier’s Sec­ondary Teacher of the Year at the WA Education Awards.

Dr Bon­tempo, who has been work­ing with the deaf com­mu­nity for more than 20 years, was hon­oured with the award for her de­ter­mi­na­tion to break down bar­ri­ers for deaf stu­dents and change the views of hear­ing stu­dents.

She said she first fell in love with Auslan at univer­sity.

“I was study­ing psy­chol­ogy and a guy gave a talk about deaf peo­ple and I thought the lan­guage was amaz­ing, and I felt I had to learn it,” she said.

Since then, the teacher has worked with deaf stu­dents over­seas and in WA, writ­ten a cur­ricu­lum for years 5 to 10 for deaf learn­ing in WA schools, and is now in the pro­cess of de­vel­op­ing a na­tional cur­ricu­lum which will be available to all schools across Aus­tralia.

Dr Bon­tempo said win­ning the award was a very hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence.

“What has been great about the award is the pos­i­tive PR of Auslan and teach­ing it in schools,” she said.

“It’s val­i­da­tion of a lot of hard work and being in­no­va­tive and cre­at­ing some­thing from noth­ing, but at the same time I was just do­ing my job, so it’s over­whelm­ing to have the spot­light shone on me, but it gives me a plat­form to talk about Auslan and the deaf com­mu­nity.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d462923

Karen Bon­tempo has been named the Sec­ondary School Teacher of the Year.

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