Connie Mayer, EdD, OCT





Dr. Mayer is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University in Toronto, Canada where she works in the graduate programs in Education, Linguistics, and Critical Disability Studies, and in the teacher preparation program in the education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) students. Prior to coming to York, Dr. Mayer worked for more than twenty years as a consultant, administrator and teacher of DHH students from preschool through postsecondary. She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, a former Associate Editor for the Volta Review, and a member of the editorial board of the American Annals of the Deaf. Her current research focuses on written language and literacy development in DHH learners, early literacy and early intervention, cochlear implantation, bilingualism, and models of teacher education. She has recently completed four studies looking at literacy outcomes in 200 learners with cochlear implants in New Zealand and Canada. She has presented widely on these topics both nationally and internationally as well as having authored numerous journal articles and book chapters, and has co-authored a book on early literacy in DHH children for Oxford University Press. During her sabbatical year (2013/2014) she is working with the Ear Foundation, and has a position as a Visiting Researcher at the University of Nottingham, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.


Please click HERE to see the presentation that focusses on the changes to deaf education as a consequence of the changes in hearing technologies particularly cochlear implants by Connie Mayer.




Teaching Writing to Deaf Learners: Principles into Practice
Connie Mayer

Learning to write is one of the most challenging academic activities all students face. It is a complex process that rests on the development of both language (e.g., morphology, syntax, semantics) and code-related (e.g., phonological awareness, word identification, spelling) abilities. Writing, even more than reading, has been an area where deaf learners have continued to demonstrate poor outcomes, with most not writing at the level of their hearing age peers. 

Yet with respect to the literacy development of deaf learners, learning to write has been given far less attention than learning to read (Mayer, 2010).  This focus on reading over writing is typical of literacy research and teaching in general with writing being the most neglected aspect of the language and literacy curriculum (Troia, 2007). 

In this presentation we will address this gap. We will examine the research to date to consider why and how deaf learners often struggle to develop age-appropriate abilities in written language. Educational implications will be discussed with a focus on:  (i) early/emergent literacy development and how young deaf children learn to write, (ii) bilingualism and written language development, (iii) the impact of cochlear implantation on learning to write, and (iv) the relationships among spoken, signed and written language.  We will use examples from a wide range of deaf student writers as the basis for our discussion. Practical strategies, approaches and resources for teaching writing and planning programs across the grade and age range from the primary years to secondary school will be presented and described. 

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