Verbal communication is at the forefront of how we learn, and for some students who rely on seeing lip and mouth movements, masks can be a barrier. Winton Woods City Schools, a district with a culturally diverse population of over 31 languages spoken, is prepared to make an inclusive learning environment for all. This year, see-through masks have been provided to teachers, tutors, staff, and students across the district who need these specifically designed face masks to teach and learn while remaining safe. Recipients included speech-language pathologists and their students and English as Second Language (ESL) teachers and English Learners (ELs). All protective coverings have a clear plastic material where the student’s mouth is positioned.
“The mask can help students who are learning to pronounce new and unfamiliar words. It helps the teachers see what the lips, teeth, and tongue are doing in order to make the different sounds,” said District ESL Coordinator Gary Giblin. “In Spanish, the letters b and v represent the same sound. However, in English, b is made with the lips coming together and then parting while v is made with the lower lip touching the upper teeth. Being able to see this process through the mask helps students learn to pronounce the different sounds correctly.”
Director of Student Services Tonya Bray said, “We have students who need to visually see and be able to look at and mimic the speech and language pathologist’s lips so that they are able to repeat and have correct articulation for speech and language. Sight and sound together are very important because this teaches our students how to form words and sounds.”
The Winton Woods City School District is host to over 1,000 EL students, whose families come from Guatemala, Mexico, Nepal, Senegal, Ghana and many other countries. Giblin spoke with some of the students who are using the masks and says they seem to be enjoying them. “The masks show that Winton Woods City Schools continues to make students’ safety and education a priority.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Winton Woods City Schools ESL Coordinator Gary Giblin wearing his protective see-through mask. Photo by Drew Jackson.