Torill Ringsø (NO)

Torill Ringsø (NO)

Assistant Professor, Division of Language and Communication Signed language and interpreting, Department of language and literature. Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway


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1. What, in your opinion, are the strengths / weaknesses of the current system in your country? That is: the current system of teaching sign language and the training of sign language teachers.

The most important weakness is that there is no organised education/training for sign language teachers in Norway. There are also very few deaf young people who choose to study teaching. Most of the sign language teaching happens in university or university colleges and resource centres, where there is a requirement to have a Masters degree in order to be hired. A strength is that the community is tight knit, so we all know each other and can pull our resources together when we need to. 

2. Can you give us examples of ‘best practice’ in your country?

When educational institutions work with the deaf community to give sign language learners access to deaf social arenas, for example taking students to the deaf club. 

3. Can you tell us about the accreditation of sign language teachers, in your county?

Is there a (formal, informal) system? How does it work? Does it work well? Does it include different qualifications for teachers of different target groups, e.g. teaching parents, teaching university students, etc.? Is the system as accessible for Deaf teachers, as for hearing teachers?

This goes back to question number one. To be hired as a teacher where most of the sign language training goes on, you have to have an MA, in some cases a BA. But again, we need better opportunities to train sign language teachers. Deaf students may enter both teacher programmes and sign language interpreter programmes, and hopefully, we`ll have more deaf teachers with proper training in the years to come. 

4. Can you tell us something about curriculum development in your country? Are curricula based on the CEFR?

There are three ITPs (interpreter training programmes) in Norway, at university and university college level. They are cooperating on developing their curriculums, but so far it is not based on the CEFR. However, more of the staff is increasingly learning about the CEFR and it will most likely affect future developments.  

5. What, in your opinion, is the way forward, for sign language teaching & the training of sign language teachers in your country, and/or in Europe?

Provision of training for future teachers of Signed Language at BA and MA-level. We particularly need more deaf sign language teachers, and we must encourage them to enter this exciting field. 

Date of the interview: May 2017