Do we need hearing teachers in deaf ed at all?

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
Interesting. Cultural competence is a big advantage interpreters got. It's as much about culture as it's language. I am sure your students appreciate your work.

It's still a puzzle how some hearing teachers, after 20 years of teaching deaf people, still don't understand anything about deaf culture. Sure, knowing a language isn't enough, but so is interacting with deaf people, it's obviously not enough for many people. I have met interpreters with bicultural education, that still don't know how to threat deaf people or handle deaf culture. I suspect a third factor plays in here: attitude(common saying in ASL). "Good attitude" is essential, and requires knowledge how much one can fit into the deaf culture and personal limits and strengths. This in addtition to language, culture and skills in pedagogy. The funtion of beeing a role model is still limited, but that's another dicussion.

This is my theory, and that's why I think it's much harder for hearing people to fit into high level deaf edcuation, in spite of the much larger pool of hearing people and the fact that hearing people aren't worse or better than deaf people as human beings.

The best hearing teachers I've had, have usually been ex-terps :)


I have seen that too here in the States. It is a shame.
 

deafskeptic

Active Member
Premium Member
Interesting. I've never had hearing teachers for the Deaf who were ex-terps; two come close though and I think it was because of their attitude toward the deaf culture. They never felt a need to put down Deaf culture or ASL and I thank my MSSD teacher Chic for getting me interested in ASL Linguistics. I am not very familar with Linguistics though.

Yeah, excellent posting by both Flip and Interpretator..
 

Interpretrator

Crime fighter
Premium Member
Good idea. I think results would soar if deaf teached hearings and hearings teached deaf because hearing people would realize that they can't teach shit to deaf people, and require deaf people to teach properly to hearing children.:hmm:

Yeah, I would really love to have a mainstream teacher come into my class and try to teach it. Even with an interpreter it would be impossible for someone without knowledge of ASL and Deaf culture. For one thing, it's very easy for me to pick out the grammatical points to focus on, as they are the ones that exist in English but not in ASL (such as articles or noun-verb agreement), and teach them by comparing the two languages. A teacher without knowledge of both English and ASL is just going to be flummoxed as to why the majority of her students repeatedly commit certain errors.

We need more bicultural teachers (deaf, Deaf, or hearing, as long as they're qualified) and programs starting at the kindergarten level so that my job would, in a perfect world, not need to exist anywhere. I don't think it's about deafness and hearing so much as language and culture.
 

flip

New Member
Yeah, I would really love to have a mainstream teacher come into my class and try to teach it. Even with an interpreter it would be impossible for someone without knowledge of ASL and Deaf culture. For one thing, it's very easy for me to pick out the grammatical points to focus on, as they are the ones that exist in English but not in ASL (such as articles or noun-verb agreement), and teach them by comparing the two languages. A teacher without knowledge of both English and ASL is just going to be flummoxed as to why the majority of her students repeatedly commit certain errors.

We need more bicultural teachers (deaf, Deaf, or hearing, as long as they're qualified) and programs starting at the kindergarten level so that my job would, in a perfect world, not need to exist anywhere. I don't think it's about deafness and hearing so much as language and culture.

I agree much with what you say. The topic of this thread is provocative, and I am sorry if some of the hearing teachers is offended. One of my points with this thread is to explore the statements in other threads that parents wants hearing teachers for deaf children. I think it's hard to talk about this, without offending both deaf or hearing teachers, and hope everyone have this in mind when diccussing this issue. I do not want to put down people, but diccuss hard facts, for the sake of quality in deaf education.

I read once about some findings in mexico, in a school with indians. I belive this was in a book from one of the big names in bilingual researh, Cummins or Kutnabb(?). The teachers who was indians themselves, had best results when teaching spanish, while the indian speaking spanish(race) teachers, who was more skilled in spanish on the paper, did not have as good results. I can't see why the same should apply in deaf education.

I recently diccussed with a HOH teacher that had been in the field of deaf education on and off for about 20 years, about the limitations hearing people often have when teaching languages to deaf children. His sign language skills was crap and he did not socialize with deaf signers(but is planning to do due to progressive hearing loss). I had to use voice and SEE style with him. With this in mind it was surprising how much we agreed on when a deaf child is learning, and when it's not, and what is important and not important. I would never mind letting him have responsibility for my deaf children. Hearing teachers I have met, often have way different perspectives, even if they are very supportive of deaf culture and behave political correct. This makes me wonder if the most important factor is the first hand experience of reduced listening skills, and how language then works in the mind, spoken, written or signed.
 

deafbajagal

New Member
Some of the very best teachers in deaf education I've been fortunate to work alongside with happen to be hearing.

I've also known some shitty teachers who are deaf.

The coin flips both sides.
 

Tousi

Well-Known Member
Some of the very best teachers in deaf education I've been fortunate to work alongside with happen to be hearing.

I've also known some shitty teachers who are deaf.

The coin flips both sides.

I certainly echo your sentiment without reservation.
 

jillio

New Member
Yeah, I would really love to have a mainstream teacher come into my class and try to teach it. Even with an interpreter it would be impossible for someone without knowledge of ASL and Deaf culture. For one thing, it's very easy for me to pick out the grammatical points to focus on, as they are the ones that exist in English but not in ASL (such as articles or noun-verb agreement), and teach them by comparing the two languages. A teacher without knowledge of both English and ASL is just going to be flummoxed as to why the majority of her students repeatedly commit certain errors.

We need more bicultural teachers (deaf, Deaf, or hearing, as long as they're qualified) and programs starting at the kindergarten level so that my job would, in a perfect world, not need to exist anywhere. I don't think it's about deafness and hearing so much as language and culture.

That is it in a nutshell, Interretator. I wish we could get more people to understand that very basic concept.
 

flip

New Member
I know I am not politically correct and shit teachers are everywhere. I have seen both among deaf and hearing teachers, but I have this feeling that if we tested deaf children with hearing teachers and deaf teachers, the children with deaf teachers would do better in literacy at an average. Not sligthly, but at a very noticable scale. It seems research on bilingual education in general(mostly spanish/english) support this. :dunno:
 

Interpretrator

Crime fighter
Premium Member
I have this feeling that if we tested deaf children with hearing teachers and deaf teachers, the children with deaf teachers would do better in literacy at an average.

I'm sorry to say that in my experience as an interpreter and a teacher (both at college level), I have not seen this correlation. There are as many bad deaf teachers as there are bad hearing teachers. I have encountered many students from deaf schools or programs who were barely literate (as well as many who were very skilled).

While being involved in Deaf culture is a major issue, teaching skill is no less important. In my opinion, between a hearing teacher who can sign and is extremely skilled at teaching English, and a Deaf teacher who was born into the culture but who is only okay at teaching standard academic English (which is what schools expect of students), I would hire the hearing teacher, no doubt.

Note I'm talking about relatively advanced levels of English here. For K-6 I would prefer the Deaf teacher (assuming the students had ASL as their first language), because at that age the English is less complex to teach, and Deaf role models are vital. At my level, no one is expecting me to be an ASL language model so my English knowledge and teaching ability are more important.

I think I rambled here but maybe there's some sense. :)
 

flip

New Member
I'm sorry to say that in my experience as an interpreter and a teacher (both at college level), I have not seen this correlation. There are as many bad deaf teachers as there are bad hearing teachers. I have encountered many students from deaf schools or programs who were barely literate (as well as many who were very skilled).

While being involved in Deaf culture is a major issue, teaching skill is no less important. In my opinion, between a hearing teacher who can sign and is extremely skilled at teaching English, and a Deaf teacher who was born into the culture but who is only okay at teaching standard academic English (which is what schools expect of students), I would hire the hearing teacher, no doubt.

Note I'm talking about relatively advanced levels of English here. For K-6 I would prefer the Deaf teacher (assuming the students had ASL as their first language), because at that age the English is less complex to teach, and Deaf role models are vital. At my level, no one is expecting me to be an ASL language model so my English knowledge and teaching ability are more important.

I think I rambled here but maybe there's some sense. :)

I agree that it does not matter much if we are talking about advanced levels of english. At university I would not care much if the teacher was a green alien or a deaf person, as long they have the knowledge you describe. I realized I used the words "high levels" in one post here, and with that I don't mean higher grades. With "high level" I mean high quality education. Sorry if I was unclear on this one.

And, I am not sure about all of this, it's just a feeling I got, and would like to see some research on this. It's hard to make sense of much litteracy research going on when we know little about the teachers in those researchs as almost anyone can call themselves a TOD, even those who do not know any ASL.

Keep up the great work, Interpretrator!
 

Interpretrator

Crime fighter
Premium Member
Ah, I gotcha. Yeah, I completely agree there is a desperate need for ASL language models for young kids, but there's also the problem that so many deaf kids don't get any language at home (English, ASL, Spanish, whatever) so that even if they do get it at school, it is not emphasized or, obviously, valued. Bi-bi education requires an investment on the part of the parents to become as proficient as possible in ASL or the kid is just going to get parts of languages.
 

flip

New Member
Let's not forget that research from Mark Marschall shows moderate levels of ASL among parents is enough. But yeah, there are other factors than the teacher that can limit the level of literacy and quality of education.

My point with this thread is the role of teacher in deaf education, though there are other challenges, too, like you mention. One thing that worry me is that it seems it's common to blame low levels of interaction at home, ASL beeing very different from written language, brain damage among students, limited information from the environment compared to hearing students, even if the students don't understand what the teacher says, and the teacher don't understand how a deaf child can learn to write without speaking. I think more focus on who the teachers in deaf education are would be useful, we know too much about the students.

The ability to understand the deaf way, how to cope with "limitations" in information from the environment, that perhaps is one of the biggest fear hearing people often have toward deafness, how a language model works, and the different way deaf people learn languages, and where the limitations really are and where they not are, is something I wonder still is severly underrated in deaf education today. We see research on what mode of language is best, but few researchers is talking about the "deaf way". Mark Marschall is one of few. Deaf teachers, with proper education and not suffering too much from oppression, would perhaps be the best sources for this information.
 

jillio

New Member
Let's not forget that research from Mark Marschall shows moderate levels of ASL among parents is enough. But yeah, there are other factors than the teacher that can limit the level of literacy and quality of education.

My point with this thread is the role of teacher in deaf education, though there are other challenges, too, like you mention. One thing that worry me is that it seems it's common to blame low levels of interaction at home, ASL beeing very different from written language, brain damage among students, limited information from the environment compared to hearing students, even if the students don't understand what the teacher says, and the teacher don't understand how a deaf child can learn to write without speaking. I think more focus on who the teachers in deaf education are would be useful, we know too much about the students.

The ability to understand the deaf way, how to cope with "limitations" in information from the environment, that perhaps is one of the biggest fear hearing people often have toward deafness, how a language model works, and the different way deaf people learn languages, and where the limitations really are and where they not are, is something I wonder still is severly underrated in deaf education today. We see research on what mode of language is best, but few researchers is talking about the "deaf way". Mark Marschall is one of few. Deaf teachers, with proper education and not suffering too much from oppression, would perhaps be the best sources for this information.

:gpost:
 
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