Hearing people teaching ASL?

Discussion in 'Sign Language & Deaf Education' started by shel90, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. shel90

    shel90 Audist are not welcome Premium Member

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    If it is alright for hearing people to teach ASL, why isn't it alright for DEAF people to teach speech? - Gil Eastman

    I found this statement in another website...I havent thought of it in a long time but it is true in a way. Two of my former classmates at Gallaudet who are hearing didnt know ASL when they started the grad program and 2 years later after graduating, they got jobs teaching ASL at colleges. I thought they werent qualified and it sparked a debate among my hearing and deaf classmates.


    What do u think? Should hearing people who just recently learned ASL teach ASL classes? I know CODAs are just as qualified as Deaf people to teach ASL.
     
  2. Interpretrator

    Interpretrator Crime fighter Premium Member

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    It depends on the kind of class, I think. If you're teaching "survival ASL," as in the alphabet and very basic signs for communication, I don't really have a problem with it. Like those one-day classes for businesses.

    But for a full-on curriculum that starts with ASL 1 and, for example, would use the Signing Naturally curriculum, then no. That should be taught by FLUENT signers. Doesn't matter if they're deaf or hearing, they must be fluent if they're really going to be teaching students how to use the language.
     
  3. shel90

    shel90 Audist are not welcome Premium Member

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    Right...When I entered Gallaudet, I wouldnt have consider myself qualified to teach ASL at that time cuz my signing wasnt that good and I still had a lot to learn. Some people think only deaf people should teach ASL and I asked them why and they said that hearing people can find different kinds of jobs so why take a job teaching ASL? I didnt know what to say to that except it is a free country. LOL!

    Anyway, should deaf people teach speech classes? What about deaf people who have CIs?
     
  4. pek1

    pek1 New Member

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    Suppose I just graduated last week from med school (haven't even gone through the residency part yet). You need open heart surgery. My argument: I'm an MD, I can do it. Your argument: You are not qualified. Rightly so. If a doctor has never seen a patient and wants to perform open heart surgery (alone, no doubt, which will never happen), he or she will have to go through the residency program and get their qualifications (experience). A person who just learned asl last week is not qualified to teach it. If they don't have years of experience both signing, then interpreting and getting the qualifications to do the latter, they need to sit down and let someone else teach that is better qualified.
     
  5. Interpretrator

    Interpretrator Crime fighter Premium Member

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    That reminds me of the debate about NNESTs (non-native English speakers) teaching English. The answer, to me, is the same: if the teacher has the appropriate skills and abilities to teach the class, then yes. If not, then no.

    Also it depends on what you mean by "speech class." Do you mean a class for learning to speak, like speech therapy? I would think, like NNESTs who teach English or English as a second language, deaf people who have learned to speak would have a special perspective on that subject matter since they have gone through it themselves, and as long as they can communicate with their students effectively (possibly, in the case of the deaf teacher, with the use of an interpreter), it would seem to be a positive.

    If you mean a class where students learn to do public speaking by giving speeches and engaging in debates, that would really depend. The deaf person would have to be fluent in English and either have a good amount of hearing or be able to use an interpreter without disrupting the class. And honestly I would have my doubts about the latter, since these kinds of speech classes require the teacher to analyze students' voice and use of language directly, and the use of an intermediary would defeat that purpose.
     
  6. jillio

    jillio New Member

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    Interesting. We currently have a Deaf woman teaching ASL here. She came on staff after I repeatedly complained that one of the women teaching was not teaching ASL, but was teaching PSE. The other two instructors are a CODA (teaches ASL) and a parent of a deaf kid who tries to teach ASL, but is simply not as fluent as a native speaker. The woman who was dismissed was also teaching some very incorrect things about Deaf Culture. All the students say they have learned more in one quarter from the Deaf instructor than they have learned the entire time before.
     
  7. Interpretrator

    Interpretrator Crime fighter Premium Member

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    And in my case, the Deaf instructor I had for ASL 1 the first time, when I was an undergrad, did not teach the language very well at all. I understood more about Deaf culture and I learned some really good, very Deaf-like fingerspelling tips that I've hung on to, but she taught us with the old-school method of just listing off signs for us to learn and then we put them together to make sentences. Didn't retain a thing.

    The next time I started learning sign, I started over again in ASL 1 and in my ITP had two hearing teachers, one a CODA, who were phenomenal teachers. The other one didn't have a native-like accent but was both fluent and clearly understood and conveyed the grammar as well as the storytelling techniques of ASL.

    So it really depends. I think whether the candidate is Deaf or hearing is less important than whether he is a good teacher.
     
  8. Tousi

    Tousi Well-Known Member

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    I agree, Terpretator cuz I've known more than one deaf ASL instructor/teacher who just totally, downright didn't know how to teach AND were disgustingly bereft of the dynamics/principles of ASL, the language.
     
  9. jillio

    jillio New Member

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    Great analogy!
     
  10. jillio

    jillio New Member

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    **nodding agreement** Being a native signer does not necessarilly make a good teacher. But in the case I was refering to, the hearing woman who had been teaching was using the old school method of listing signs to memorize, and had, herself, no exposure to Deaf culture. She was not teaching classifiers, mouth morphemes, syntax, and after 5 quarters, her students could only count to 10!!! She also taught to "say everything you sign". It doesn't necessarily apply across the board, but she was completely unqualified.
     
  11. shel90

    shel90 Audist are not welcome Premium Member

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    It seemed like some of the people who disagreed with me at that time thought ASL was a secondary language full of gestures that anyone can teach it.

    I think the same attitude occurs in the public schools when hiring terps..that as long as the hearing person happened to know some signs, they are qualified to be terps.
     
  12. Interpretrator

    Interpretrator Crime fighter Premium Member

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    It doesn't apply across the board. Deafness or hearing does not have anything to do with teaching skill. Given a choice between your bad hearing teacher and my bad Deaf teacher I wouldn't pick either, I'd look for a new candidate.
     
  13. jillio

    jillio New Member

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    **nodding agreement**
     
  14. jillio

    jillio New Member

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    Yep. Someone who knows just a little can convince those who know nothing that they are fluent.
     
  15. Interpretrator

    Interpretrator Crime fighter Premium Member

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    It happens the other way as well. People who know nothing are able to convince someone who knows a little that she is fluent. It's that "you took ASL 1 didn't you? Well then you can interpret!" thing that can be really hard to turn down when the person asking you is desperate. It's why they teach us early on about not accepting assignments we know we aren't qualified for; it's hard to say no but far better than accepting and potentially making matters worse.
     

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