Background to the programme
According to a report by Dominique Gillot from 1998 (senator of Val D'Oise), 80% of profoundly deaf people* are illiterate and only 5% of them can access higher education. Despite the law of 11th February 2005 on equal rights and opportunities for disabled people, only 630 deaf people were pursuing higher education in 2010-2011 (study by the Ministry of Education). The association Paroles Voyageuses (” Travelling Lyrics”), founded in 2006, launched the "Writing and Succeed" project to meet the needs expressed by deaf students who are looking for corrections to their academic writing.
Objectives of the programme
- Encourage access and success in higher education for deaf people
- Improve deaf people’s level of written French
- End the isolation of deaf students
- REGISTRATION: 1) Contact students interested by email; 2) Meetings with Paroles Voyageuses to agree the terms of the activity; 3) Signing of an employment and confidentiality contract
- 3 types of support in French sign language to support the writing of a thesis or internship report (independent support of each other)
> INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE: Participatory marking (the student writes their corrections in the margin as they go along), help with reformulation and methodological advice. One marker supporting them throughout the year (professional who understands sign language and written French). Appointment by webcam and/or face to face.
> SUPPORT GROUP: Group catch up courses in French in Paris (time to meet and discuss between students to feel less alone on their pathway). 2 hours per week in the evenings during the academic year
> STRENGTHEN SUPPORT: time of intense face-to-face learning
- Course location: 148 Boulevard de la Villette (19th)
The distribution between the three types of support varies each year depending on the level and expectations of students enrolled in the project.
Similarly, the mixture of ages, sex, types of academic background ... varies from year to year. For more precise information, Paroles Voyageuses can provide annual reports.
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
- Each year the number of students accompanied has slightly increased. The quantitative and qualitative results meet or exceed the set objectives (validation of the academic year, mention (high grade) for the thesis, support in higher education ...). The student satisfaction questionnaires are positive. For them "Write and Succeed" greatly facilitates the pursuit of higher education.
- Winner 2016 of the 9th edition of OCIRP Economic & Handicap Actors Prize in the "School & Education Career" category
- Paroles Voyageuses is a training organisation recognised by the National Agency for Fighting Illiteracy (ANLCI), from various OPCA. It is also authorised by Coparef.
This project meets a need until now not covered in France. Its specific approach with professional and specialised trainers enables the difficulties encountered by deaf people with written French to be overcome. Indeed, these challenges are not the same as those usually encountered by hearing people. The pedagogy is therefore adapted and specific. It comes from a bilingual approach where written French and the LSF are equal. "Write and Succeed" can support deaf students in a participatory way, in return for a reasonable financial contribution.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
CNRS - Laboratory "Formal Structures of Language", University Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
- Distribution of difficult information, especially towards disability projects in universities
- Complexity of the French training organisation (to adjust each year according to the students)
- Long and difficult process to renew grants to enter into the 4th year of the device’s implementation.
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
- Expansion of the network and activities of the association’s Deaf department
- Adaptation of the project according to the demands of deaf students
- Implementation of a sustainability plan in terms of finance
Suggestions for future improvement :
Medium-term project to create partnerships with certain public institutions to provide catch-up training in written French to deaf students as part of their course curriculum.
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
- Membership: €60 per year (€10 Membership + €50 participation fee). Please note, this rate is only possible if the grants are renewed. The sustainability plan expects new terms.
- Number of places limited to twenty students per academic year to offer good quality support.
- Each student is supported by an assistant corrector employed by the association, who has an excellent level of LSF and written French. The assistants are thus paid by Paroles Voyageuses.
- Specific features of the project: progress in written French in context (via writing of the dissertation or internship report); active participation from the student in correcting their work; no interventions from the corrector on the content of the dissertation (role of university tutor) but simply on the form.
- Scientific Committee which brings an outside perspective. Composition: Brigitte Garcia, researcher-teacher and director of the UFR Language Sciences (Université Paris 8), Marie-Thérèse L'Huillier, an engineering student and deaf (CNRS)
- Attendance and participation of deaf people in the entire project (corrector-assistant, French trainer, scientific committee, students)