TCELT Research Seminar: Breaking Down Barriers to Create an Inclusive Learning Environment through the use of Music and Makaton

In this seminar, Sharon Tonner-Saunders will present her current work with schools around the world and discuss possible research outputs from the project.  Sharon is currently involved in an international project, called Hands of the World (HOTW), with over 50 educational settings (Nursery through to TEI) around the world, that connects them together through the use of Makaton and music. Each month a song is released and each school that is involved is assigned a line from the song which children/ young adults sing and sign. Schools video their lines and send the video clips to Sharon who knits them together to create one video that is signed by many hands around the world: As well as the monthly song, a weekly Makaton challenge is released where schools sign a specific word or phrase and say it in their native language. 

Sharon created the project as part of her Scholarship work, through her role as an Ambassador for British Council's eTwinning. The project is part of an initiative that Sharon created to develop PGDE student teachers' awareness of how to create meaningful collaborative learning opportunities for children with their global peers. Alongside this project, Sharon has partnered interested PGDE student teachers with experienced eTwinning teachers who are currently involved in collaborative work with schools in other countries. This is proving to be a very valuable experience for those involved. 



Sharon Tonner-Saunders is lecturer in Technologies-ICT and Music in the School of Education and Social Work. She joined the University in August 2008 after working for seven years as a primary school teacher, where the last four years were spend teaching ICT to all primary pupils.  During this time, Sharon was awarded the British Council's eTwinning Award for Excellence in using innovative methods to connect children with their peers around the world. This followed shortly with Sharon becoming a British Council eTwinning Ambassador where her role is to promote and train European educators how to use technologies to create collaborative projects with schools around Europe.  


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