Dr. Paulson Skerrit has a BEd. in Primary Education- Special Needs., and used his award of two successive First Class Honours Post Graduate Scholarships to pursue a Master of Science in Teacher Education- Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and a Doctor of Philosophy in Education- Literacy Studies. Paulson supervised and taught student-teachers pursuing their teaching licensure during his post-graduate work at the University of Tennessee, and subsequently, in 2016, he lectured at The UTT’s Centre for Educational Programs as a Senior Instructor in the Special Education Needs specialization. In 2017, he continued his work as a teacher educator in the area of Reading Education as a Lecturer at The UWI, St. Augustine. In 2018, Dr. Skerrit worked with a team including Professor Jerome De Lisle, Dr. Korinne Lousion and Dr. Elna Carrington Blaides to establish the Pyschoeducational Diagnostic and Intervention Clinic (PEDIC) and to apply for the Research and Development Initiative Grant Fund (RDI). These two projects were approved in 2019 with smaller associated incubator projects ongoing since 2018.
Dr. Skerrit’s primary research agenda focuses on reading education for struggling readers with a particular concern for those in coastal areas in Trinidad and Tobago, the poor, the gifted and a special interest in the Deaf and hard of hearing- a unique population of struggling readers. Paulson is also interested in the use of technology in teaching and learning and teacher educator leadership in the classroom. He is currently working with doctoral and M.Ed students doing research in the teaching of readings and reading comprehension, Deaf writing, reading interventions for struggling readers, education of the Deaf and hard of hearing, special needs teacher training programs, and effective professional development for new Ministry of Education initiatives.
Dr. Skerrit is instrumental in establishing the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Sign Language Interpreters (TTASLI) that would pursue membership in first world interpreter organizations and serve as the certifying body for interpreters in Trinidad and Tobago. Paulson has learned American Sign Language (ASL) and Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language (TTSL) through association with Deaf acquaintances and has since been certified by means of Sign Language Proficiency Interviews as an advanced signer both in Trinidad and Tobago and in the United States. His interpreting services paved the way for the first Deaf person to successfully pursue a B,Ed degree at The UTT, with 3 other Deaf persons following suit. In 2017, the first Deaf fashion designer was able to benefit from training provided by the newly established Fashion TT as a result of interpreting services that Paulson provided.
Dr. Skerrit is partnering with Gallaudet University to offer a professional development courses for Teachers of the Deaf from Trinidad and Tobago in WDC and in Trinidad and Tobago. Another research project being developed involves reading classes with young adult Deaf and hard of hearing struggling readers. Unique aspects of this project involve instruction by native Deaf signers, instruction in the native sign language, trained Deaf teachers and professional development of the teachers in Strategic Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI)- a framework for teaching writing that will be used to teach reading from the theoretical perspective of the reading-writing connection. Also on the agenda is a partnership with literacy coaches to assess struggling readers at a nearby high performing school and to provide reading intervention services aimed at achieving significant gains in reading proficiency.
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