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Deaf Education: Elements of a Critical Pedagogy

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Pope Gregory I forbidding bishops to real pagan literature in the Fourth Council of Carthage in 398 A.D.—

It has come to my attention that you, my dear Brethren, have been explaining pagan literature to certain individuals….We received this matter reluctantly and vehemently rejected it…because the praises of Christ cannot coexist in the same mouth with the praises of Jupiter.

Sociological topic: Can we discuss the concepts in ASL in the same “mouth” with the concepts in Spoken English?

For years, a controversy has raged over the use of ASL in schools. Some people believe that it affronts “spoken” English and should be banned. Others regard it as quite harmless. Still other claims that ASL is beneficial, that it helps develop cognitions and provide a means to strength ASL- Written English bilingualism. Apply your creative and critical thinking and resolve the below issues.

This week—200 years ago (1816), Laurent Clerc and The Reverent Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet were on a voyage that was believed to be the greatest story of all time in Deaf Studies. They were about to leave France for America on June 18th—what did they have talked about before the land of the freedom? What kind of questions? What kind of missions? What kind of goals?

Was it ASL-Written English interpretation that has been carried on mainly at Gallaudet University? The Reverent Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet introduces Laurent Clerc, a Deaf French educator, and together they set up the first American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut.

Before this, Deaf Americans had no formal schooling, and, in only 47 years after the Hartford School, in 1864 (during the American Civil War), the first National Deaf-Mute College (known today as Gallaudet University) was opened on Kendall Green in Washington, D.C., by Edward Miner Gallaudet, the youngest son of The Reverend Gallaudet and Sophia Fowler (a Deaf woman) and a native ASL- Written English.

Please note that I do not support the idea of “spoken English”–this ASL- Written English Interpretation class has perceived itself as having three major roles in our world society: (1) providing information about the interpretation of signed and written languages through research; (2) educating the citizenry of the practices and principles of signed-written language interpretation; and (3) helping to develop public policies on signed-written language interpretation.

However, two major controversies, interwoven with each other, have sorely divided the profession from its inception. The first is the division between institutional traditionalism on one side and linguistic studies on the other. The second controversy is between idealism (Alexander Graham Bell insisted that Deaf children must forget that they are Deaf.) and realism (the Junior National Association of the Deaf motto: Promoting tomorrow of all the Deaf by working with the Deaf youth of today.).

As mentioned earlier, the first ASL- Written English Interpretation in the United States was heavily influenced by the French model, which emphasized education in English. Following this French model, the traditional approach to signed-written language interpretation is grounded upon describing Deaf Education and evaluating its effects upon the ASL- Written English Interpretation. The goal is to understand both languages in order to improve life and intelligence. Traditionalism therefore combines an interest in description with a desire to prescribe changes in education for the Deaf.

In the last half century, this approach was increasingly challenged by linguistics–science of language–, which looked for ways to use ASL to study and master the English language. ASL linguistics was based upon the philosophy of science known as positivism, whose basic premise is that scientific knowledge should be derived solely from positive data, that is, from information gained by observing phenomena with our senses. Positive data in ASL-Written English interpretation include linguistic claims such as linguistic aspects of signs and words.

Much controversy developed over the application of traditional versus scientific methods to ASL-Written English Interpretation. Alexander Graham Bell’s statement to forget the “Deaf” tells us nothing and therefore is nonsense. Any statement purport to describe reality, on the other hand, is positive, and may be refuted by observation.

That is exactly why Bimodality needs to be challenged and stopped in “spoken English” in Deaf schools, Lead-K (Language Equality & Acquisition for Deaf Kids) bill proposals and even Gallaudet University, too. It would be much healthier to switch to biliteracy.

Bimodality is the perfect example of linguicism: language oppression and….Audism: a racial term coined in early 1970s to suggest that it is better to hear and speak than not because of strong hearing supremacy that we need to be radicalized and will not be tolerated by being oppressed–to protect our Deaf roots. Two isms: Linguicism and Audism=Bimodality.

In other words, Bimodality is an important reason for the poor state of critical learning and thinking, which we have concerned year after year.

After all, a Norwegian philosopher, Arne Naess once told a story as a kid, he was searching for two pebbles that needs to be exactly matched, but could not complete his mission then as an adult, he was looking for two summits that needs to be exactly the same, once again, failed—in other words, no two languages are alike and I am talking about ASL and Spoken English–no way they are alike.

If you want to know more what radical is all about:

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2013/09/23/radicalism-at-gallaudet-big-questions-to-ask/

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-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

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3 responses

  1. Concerned Deaf Citizen | Reply

    I totally agree with your comment, “Please note that I do not support the idea of “spoken English…” However, Lead-K promotes not only ASL, but English as well. Please keep in mind that English is defined in SB 210 as “written English, spoken English, and English with the use of visual supplements.” The visual supplements include SEE, cued speech, oralism, CASE, CART, and so on.

    Looking forward to hearing from you…

    1. It is dangerous plan–“visual supplements” and you’re right on the nose! I am with you all the way. I have not feeling “right” about Lead-K for a while.

    2. Good morning! You helped me realize more–and I will make a vlog and blog about this. Thank you!

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