Tag Archive: Learning


imagesCA8QPK11During this week, a local reporter and photographer interviewed myself and some of my students for  a story for the Redlands Daily Facts newspaper. It was such a great opportunity and experience for me and the students. We were able to share about the wonderful events and learning experiences we are involved in and the difference we are seeking to make in ourselves, school campus and the hearing and deaf communities. We landed a space on the front cover of the newspaper and on the 3rd page of another newspaper titled The Sun.

So often it seems that the positive in the world goes unheard or is ignored to pay attention to the negative going on in the world. This articles highlights some of the positive that happens daily in my classroom and how students apply what they learn in outside of class.

On a personal note, I felt good to be able to share my passion for deaf culture and American Sign Language and how the topic I teach has made a difference to some students that are connected with the class. It also gave me a bit of inspiration to hang in there because sometimes as a teacher we are at the very bottom of the totem pole for recognition and at the very top of the totem pole for blame. This article along with a select group of students reminded me of the short-term and long-term rewards of teaching. To see a students smile because they were able to sign to a deaf person, to read a report about how learning  ASL has changed their life, to hear about the college or career the student selected just because it involves Sign Language and to simply feel the passion a student shows because of how connected they are to the topic. For these experiences I am grateful to simply be an educator.

A link to the article is below, enjoy:)

Silent World Gains A Voice

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help images

Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help! The Beatles – Help! Lyrics

As a teacher every now and then we may teach topics we may not know the technical term for but we now what we are teaching and how to teach it. Sometimes, I will teach a topic and someone will ask if I teach a certain topic or make a comment on the topic I teach and when they use the technical term..I think oh yes that is what is called. My motto is I am always learning and I seek to learn something new as often as possible therefore I am in a constant learning process. What I think I know…. I don’t and what I think I don’t know…I do, odd how that works. However, I know that I know I want to always put my best effort forth and when I am not familiar with a topic I am going to research or ask for help until I get an  answer I understand. Therefore, I was introduced to these four topics some of the topic I knew already and the others I did some research to make sure I understood and now I want other educators, native signers or those knowledgable about linguistics to shed some light. If you could give definitions and examples of how you use this in content, that would be great!

These are 4 topics : Classifiers; Discourse Analysis; Register and ASL Sentence Types. 

Thankyou for your help and feedback!

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” – Dr. Seuss

Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter observes...

Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter observes deaf students on his visit to Kenya. The students are using role playing exercises, educational videos, and other visual aids that Peace Corps Volunteers have developed, including Kenya’s first uniform sign language poster, the “Easy to Learn Sign Language Poster.” Peace Corps Press Release. “Peace Corps Director Visits Kenya and Unique Deaf Education Program .” June 26, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Academics in Deaf education have always been a highly discussed topic. The concern is rather residential schools (schools for the Deaf) truly prepare deaf students at the same rate as their hearing counterpart. The other side if that coin is rather or not public (hearing) schools put effort forth in educating the deaf that attend their schools through on campus deaf and hard of hearing cohort or mainstreamed programs. If you toss in an additional coin the other concern is should the focus of deaf education be on vocational and life skills training to ensure students are functioning in a hearing society. The last side of the coin is for everything else in between.
The benefits for Schools for the Deaf is the school is tailored to meet the needs of the students as a whole; socially, personally, academically and vocational. Students are taught in their primary language which enables a better foundation for learning and increase complex concepts that may be difficult to clarify in English. Teachers are knowledgeable and specialize in Deaf education and have the best strategies on how to teach the deaf. Students are able to see Deaf adults as role models like themselves which encourages them to not limit themselves. Students live with others like themselves who have the same method of communication and similar struggles, they can communicate to support each other through the challenges they face. Schools for the Deaf are great for helping a child identify with their “deafhood” and be proud to be Deaf with a Capitol “D”. The drawbacks of a school like this is it can be sheltering because students live in the deaf world on an ongoing basis. It can be biased in the methods and content taught. Some educators outside the deaf community think students are not being prepared for the real world or college academics because of the lack of information students receive.
The benefits of students attending a mainstreamed program in a hearing public school is they are learning the same content their hearing counterparts are learning. They have access to resources to support their learning such as an interpreter or a note taker. Most importantly to some is that they are learning to function in a hearing environment and are not sheltered in a small world that can help them to exist in a larger world. I have met parents who say they solely chose mainstream programs because they want their children to learn to function in a hearing world. The disability-the lack of hearing will inhibit them from getting jobs and pursuing higher academics if they don’t learn how to communicate with hearing individuals and they feel mainstreamed programs support that. The drawbacks of a mainstreamed program is if the program is not well established with knowledgable teachers, interpreters and administrators deaf students may fall through the cracks if they dn not have advocates putting place best practices and programs for them. Also, regular administrators, teachers and support staff have no idea of how best to help the student besides general concepts like an Assistive Listening device or sitting the student in front of the class room.
There are pros and cons to both environments but what it comes down to is, which is the best environment for the student with the family desires taking a back seat. Which environment will the student be inspired, educated and grow in? This is what a parent should be looking for. Education is a partnership between the parent and the school. In addition, parents should support the student inside school by learning information to advocate on behalf of their child and outside of school by learning sign language to communicate with their child. I believe it is best to have  a combination of both academic and vocational education in any setting students attend. Both of these components will help to build a healthy and succesful student who will become a healthy and successful adult.

Kids Can Sign!

kid signKids Can Sign…..Kids Can Sign…..Kids Can Sign!!!! It’s like a chant because it is true!

I love to see little ones signing! It is astonishing at an early age when they have not formed communication (speech skills) but they can gesture (sign) word to express how they feel.

I am a child of deaf adults and I learned to sign at an early age. I remember signing more than I talked. As a matter of fact, I learned speech from my close family members, t.v. and the radio. I always tease thank goodness the radio and t.v. shows were a lot better at that time, who only knows what I may have learned if I listened to what was on t.v. today. Anything I needed I had to sign to communicate with my parents and siblings. I did not appreciate it as much as I do now. When I gave birth to my first child her grandmother taught her the signs she knows and still remembers at eighteen years old. I am thankful to my mom for giving us a gift that has benefited us in so many ways and moreover a gift that no one can take away. When my mom passed, she stopped signing as it was difficult for her to do without thinking about her grandmother. However, when you put her in a signing environment the signs flow from her hands as if it were yesterday. This proved to me firsthand that once you teach children they retain it especially if your routinely use sign language in their daily lives.

In general it has been said that children who learn sign langauge early on have less issues when comes to frustration, temper tantrums and aggressive behaviors. It also helps increases interaction between parents, educators and children.  Children also build self-esteem by making them feel capable and proud they are able to communicate. If we can start our children off on the right foot why not?

One of the best gifts to give our children and help them start off on the right foot with academics and training for future employment is the gift of being bilingual. There are several commonly used languages in our great country English of course next is Spanish and after that is American Sign Language as other languages rise and become more common, our children need to be bilingual in one of these languages, any popular language. I cannot think of a time where being bilingual has not been a benefit to me or my oldest daughter.  Teach your children ASL from birth and start them on the path to bilingual success.

There are resources below to continue your reading about the benefits of sign language and children.

Benefits of children learning sign language

Baby Signs

The benefits of sign language for all children

Benefits of Signing with your Child