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Educational Interpreters vs Communication Education Support Workers

27 Jul 2023

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In the diverse landscape of education, every student deserves the opportunity to communicate effectively and participate fully in their learning journey. That's where the invaluable support of Educational Interpreters (EIs) and Communication/Education Support Workers (C/ESWs) comes into play. These dedicated professionals play crucial roles in supporting students with communication needs, but they have distinct focuses and areas of expertise.

Educational Interpreters:

Educational Interpreters are highly qualified professionals who excel in facilitating communication for Deaf or Hard of Hearing students in educational settings. They possess specialised skills in sign language interpretation, making them indispensable assets for students who use sign language as their primary mode of communication. EIs thrive in environments where information is presented at a faster pace and on complex subject matters, often found providing their expertise in secondary school settings.

Their keen ability to quickly interpret and convey information in sign language ensures that Deaf or Hard of Hearing students can fully grasp the curriculum and actively participate in classroom discussions. By bridging the communication gap, Educational Interpreters empower these students to excel academically and socially, fostering an inclusive and supportive learning environment.

Communication Education Support Workers:

On the other hand, Communication Education Support Workers (C/ESWs) are teacher aides who provide specialist support through New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) for students with various communication needs. Unlike Educational Interpreters, C/ESWs offer a broader range of assistance, catering to the specific requirements of each individual student. C/ESWs are adaptable professionals who ensure every student receives tailored support for optimal communication and learning.

Putting Students First:

When choosing the most suitable support for a student, their unique needs and learning requirements take precedence. Whether an Educational Interpreter or a Communication Education Support Worker is the ideal fit, the decision is made on a case-by-case basis. Every student's journey is treated with the utmost care and individual attention, ensuring they receive the support they need to thrive in their educational environment.

At Ko Taku Reo, we are committed to inclusive education and empowering students with communication needs. To learn more about our NZSL services and the vital roles of Educational Interpreters and Communication Education Support Workers, visit

If you have any questions or require further information about our services or NZSL support, please get in touch with Stephanie Sullivan at We support every student on their path to success and communication excellence.