:: Yonkers teacher helps launch summer program in Italy for deaf people ::

Yonkers teacher helps launch summer program in Italy for deaf people


By ERNIE GARCIA
THE JOURNAL NEWS

(Original publication: March 30, 2007)

“YONKERS – Most students dread language classes. Debra Cole struggled to enter them.

‘In the United States, a lot of deaf people are waived from a foreign language requirement, but actually I had to fight for it,’ said Cole, 36, who attended high school in Queens. ‘They said to me I didn’t have time. I studied speech therapy all my life. It was time for me to study something else.’

Cole’s interest in foreign languages led to her learning Italian and Chinese sign languages and she hopes to make foreign language study more fulfilling for deaf college students.

Cole, a Columbia Teachers College doctoral student, helped coordinate a Siena, Italy-based summer program that will launch in June. The Siena School for Liberal Arts will offer art history, written Italian and Italian Sign Language courses to American deaf students.

Cole will teach at the Siena School, and she helped develop the program while teaching English in Italy. Previously, she traveled to Italy on a Fulbright Scholarship in 2001 and …”

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