The Casa Grande of Teachers in Colombia Advocates for the Inclusion of the Deaf Community

fotografía integrante semillero “Manos y Pensamiento: inclusión de estudiantes Sordos a la educación Superior”

The Universidad Pedagógica Nacional proudly champions the inclusion of various populations within the education system, including deaf students. Therefore, it decided to invest in the project “Hands and Thought: Inclusion of Deaf Students in Higher Education.” Among the various initiatives developed within this inclusive practice, the research group named “Speaking in Sign Language: Life Stories” emerged. This group seeks to identify personal traits and contextual factors that positively influence the life stories of outstanding deaf individuals through the examination of their biographies.

In UPN classrooms, every Tuesday at 5 PM, 25 people interested in this topic gather, including twelve deaf individuals. For three hours, they engage in in-depth discussions on various subjects related to deaf culture. “This is a meeting place between the two communities (deaf and hearing), which makes it very interesting and encourages their interaction, especially since the University has had an inclusion project for 20 years now,” explained Professor Martha Pabón, who leads the research group and is a member of the teaching staff of the Special Education degree.

fotografía integrante semillero  “Manos y Pensamiento: inclusión de estudiantes Sordos a la educación Superior”

The development of this research group began approximately five years ago with a group of hearing students who wanted to improve their sign language skills and communicate with deaf individuals. “In their professional practice as educators, they will encounter deaf individuals because there are increasingly more children and young people with this condition in various educational settings. Therefore, we need professional teachers who can support them, teach using sign language, and recognize diversity and other forms of expression that can be found in the classroom,” Pabon added.

In 2023, a proposal was made to formalize this space as a research group, and after the necessary procedures were completed, it received approval and gained widespread acceptance among students, not only in the Special Education degree but also in other programs.

Jonathan Diaz, a fourth-semester student in the Visual Arts degree, is deaf and, along with two hearing students, applied to be monitors for this research group. He emphasizes the importance of research in deepening the topic of teaching deaf individuals. Additionally, he expresses that communication with his peers has been a challenge, but through reflection and different strategies, they always find ways to interact. For him, this demonstrates that although they may appear as different communities, they coexist at UPN, coming together through diversity and sharing knowledge-accessible tools.

Laura Camila Carvajal, a seventh-semester student in the Special Education degree, serves as a monitor and participant in this research group. She believes that this space allows for the discovery of diversity in the classroom, making Deaf individuals and their struggles visible, promoting an understanding of their feelings and their way of existing within the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional. Furthermore, she asserts that it creates an opportunity to question the challenges and commitments that education currently presents considering this new understanding of differences and the urgent need to give a voice to those who use another language.

La Casa Grande de las Maestras y los Maestros in Colombia continues to work towards educational spaces that consider everyone, without exception, recognizing that education is a right that should not be denied to anyone, regardless of their condition.

fotografía integrante semillero  “Manos y Pensamiento: inclusión de estudiantes Sordos a la educación Superior”