History Through Deaf Eyes
Today, May 1st is Immigrant Rights Day! Consider, to begin with a colonialism scene in Deaf world–especially in America that time. In 1816, Laurent Clerc to begin his journey for America knew the destiny to create in the name of Deaf Education. Clerc was the ONE who generated Deaf Education, without him, it would not be the same. It was a fate to get rid of Audism and break the colonization.
This was the time that Clerc had to articulate his teaching philosophy in America. The ability to acquire and use sign language exclusively is valuable for Deaf students in the field of literatures and Clerc strive to have students actively thinking about higher education within minutes of entering the classroom, and when communication something Clerc pushed to use as much sign language as possible.
Clerc had been teaching for long time, and I’m sure he enjoyed this work a lot. He had coordinated Deaf Education and there is no way he would realize that his presence had developed and facilitated many courses through the College-wide Curriculum Committees and Higher Education Commission. His gift for America was a huge amount of time, and through this process, he determined to boil down his teaching philosophy to higher principles that Clerc as an immigrant made a huge difference today.
The most important principle of Deaf Education is always demonstrating a passion for higher learning. Unfortunately, there is no unique recipe for passion that works for all Deaf students. While for some Deaf students it is important to know how to use ASL, others find the ideas for education in ASL interesting by themselves.
The final grade has been a top-priority for many Deaf students, but I am sure that Clerc always do his best to explain that it should an ultimate goal for acquiring skills in ASL. Otherwise, students would gain the skills in ASL after classroom is over and that is very desirable for Clerc.
So, I feel that Clerc as an immigrant with his credentials why Deaf Education is important and where it is used today and explain the ideas behind philosophy and linguistics, propagating the idea that ASL can be approached from two perspectives, science (descriptive) and art (prescriptive). Before proceeding to the theory Clerc would give a lot of examples and usually draw appropriate pictures.
Clerc’s passion is enthusiasm for acquiring and mastering ASL for Deaf students. His enthusiasm must be infectious enough to transmit to the students. In this case they would learn ASL because of ASL itself and not only because it is used somewhere else. The goal here is to share the beauty of ASL. Deaf students, I am sure that have never complained about a lack of enthusiasm.
We reinforce Deafhood every time we use ASL. © Jason “JT” Tozier 2017
Clerc might not also realize that he brought human rights of the Deaf in America. It was all about modeling and teaching professional behavior and respect. To Clerc, teaching and learning is palpable: When Clerc can see it in a student’s visible delight in acquiring and using ASL jargon; when Clerc can read the excitement in students’ essays about ASL or Deaf experience that is also part of Deaf Studies, Clerc cannot say anything better than an Irish writer, W.B. Yeats about teaching when he wrote:
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
Clerc’s energy had ignited in Deaf students a passion to learn as much as possible and be professional within the field of Deaf Studies. I can best summarize in one word for Clerc: passion. Passion helps the Deaf students engage in the course assignment, even if there is no “correct answer” in the processes of exploring the language and culture of the Deaf. Engaged students in classrooms must work hard, write about their Deaf experiences, and learn to think, respect others, and above all, have fun!
Clerc was the most important Deaf immigrant in America. Thank you, Laurent Clerc for your genius and innovations. You were the face of human rights! After all, we are a nation of immigrants. Behold the Deaf community in highest standard possible! Yes, Immigrant Rights are Human Rights!
Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier
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