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Toronto – Signing off with deaf educators

March 29, 2009

Last week was  a literal pain in the posterior for any procrastinative activities!  Mid-semester hit and it was full of assignments and exams so there was a lot of setting and marking those things, so I kind of missed posting anything.  So to make up for it, THIS week will be Canada week.

Today’s institution is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Now my geography isn’t so great, but I always thought Toronto and Ontario were in different areas of Canada…..

Anyway!  This institution has a small range of educational areas including health and community, business, arts, design, engineering and hospitality.  They do also carry out research activities, they are:

George Brown College

Now when I first looked at the site I got that Technical College feel, with more practical as well as scholarly activities.  Today’s paper is entitled:

McDermid, C., Social Construction of American Sign Language-English Interpreters, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 14(1), 105-130

The study focuses on instructors within a few selected deaf education programs within North America and Canada and their experiences as educators – a worthy piece of research.  I’m not too good at evalating social scientific research so I may have to go for the warm fuzzy factor here.

The work tends to look at commonalities between the instructors based on background and teaching ethic.  The importance of cultural sensitivity and a particular awareness of deaf culture, as well as the right attitude is emphasised.  (Am I the only one wishing I knew how to sign jokes?).  There are some interesting comments with regards to older students in the deaf education classes, here’s a real pearl “Deaf faculty members in particular felt
that there were some restrictions or limits on their ability to learn, which might have been due to fossilized habits or because they were unable to memorize things as quickly as the younger students.”

I suspect I may have fossilised habits too (Excuse my NZ/Australian spelling) – some things I just like to do a particular way because I always have.  I’m not anywhere near ‘mature age’ yet though, so I find this comment particularly ageist, considering it’s not only older students that suffer from this.

An even better comment is here: “One participant described the ability of older students to learn ASL in this way: ‘‘I’ll use the analogy of a sponge. Their sponge is a bit dry and it is harder for them to absorb the language.’’”  Priceless!  I love qualitative research for the pure entertainment that can be had in some cases.

Ok my attention span is now spent and I have a tired 1 year old to attend to so I’ll leave it there.  Slackness abounds today unfortunately.

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