Tutor Award

Fiona Pickett

2019 National Winner

Fiona was a trained secondary teacher but losing her hearing meant she couldn’t return to a standard classroom. When she started attending lipreading classes at City Lit it rekindled her interest and enthusiasm for teaching.

“When I tried lipreading classes at City Lit I learnt a huge amount, not just lipreading theory but also how to manage my hearing loss. I realised I was observing the tutor and the techniques for teaching the different lipreading exercises.

I now teach advanced lipreading classes at City Lit. All of my students have an acquired hearing loss, use speech to communicate and use hearing aids or cochlear implants.

My teaching is influenced by my own hearing loss and students know straight away that I get it. They’re supportive of each other and me since, like most of them, my hearing has deteriorated over time. It’s rewarding to see students blossom from their first nervous attendance to becoming confident and assertive, realising that they’re deaf, not daft.

I also teach trainee lipreading tutors on a year-long course, and several times a year I teach deaf awareness to staff from all departments at Transport for London and the British Museum. As part of my continuing professional development I attend Association of Teachers of Lipreading to Adults events and manage a lesson share programme. I’m also learning British Sign Language. This has enabled me to expand the lipreading teacher training course to be more inclusive, enrolling students who were born deaf and revising material and ways of teaching to accommodate them.”

Lorraine Braggins, assistant head of programme for lipreading and acquired hearing loss at City Lit said, “Fiona’s teaching is outstanding and the impact on her learners is exceptional. Her classes provide a lifeline to many who would otherwise struggle to cope.”