Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Are Hearing People Destroying Deaf Education

ATR: One suspects hearing areas are trying to establish a norm regarding sign language to enable children deaf more able to integrate with hearing?  But yes, commercialisation of sign language is the norm in the UK too, the success of deaf activism in selling sign language was seen an opportunity by hearing areas to capitalise on.   Sign is a victim of its own 'success' and the deaf cannot compete with hearing sales-wise.  I would have thought such commercialisation was part of the American dream anyway?  Many DEAF ASL users have made a business of it also, some less than sticking to the script!


Mary Pat Luetke-Stahlman Callista, a teacher of the Deaf with a masters in Deaf education posted a vlog on her personal wall discussing the issues of culture appropriation when it comes to ASL items for sale. 

She met with Mary Pat from The Deaf Report to discuss some concerns she had with a situation that happened recently. According to Callista’s research, the majority of people that work on ASL resources are hearing. One of the biggest concerns is that many of the resources being developed by hearing people are not utilizing proper rules or word order/classifiers. Missing things such as order of words and what needs to be taught first. 

These errors are critical in the development of language for children and because of the tools missing these things, the language being taught can be taught inaccurately and affect the quality of education students are receiving from the teachers utilizing these same tools. This is a widespread problem Sheena Lyles does a lot of videos demonstrating how people sign things inaccurately and are teaching these signs to hearing people. Destiny Slater also discusses issues in 3D animation and hearing people designing animations signing ASL that are not fully accurate. It appears that more people were utilizing a certain type of clipart, which was developed by a hearing person. 

With the increase in demand, the owners changed their terms of use was changed. Once that happened, Callista realized that continuing to use their clipart was not feasible for her future work so she stepped back and reassessed her products. Callista decided to start utilizing her own artistic skills to develop her own characters and signs. “This is so time consuming but it is worth it because I need the conceptual signs that have multiple meanings e.g. run. Run can be applied in so many ways such as “runny nose” or “running” or “the program kept running”.” (Callista) 2 weeks ago Callista received a take down notice from someone else. This puzzled her and in an attempt to understand what was going on, she did some additional research. 

“When I did further research, there was ONE product that looks very similar but the inside resource is completely different.” (Callista) How this is different is on the cover of the template that shows a “flip book” model that has five sections. You can develop any flap book from this. Both of them had classifiers. (CL:1 CL: B Cl:A ) “Hers (the woman who sent the take down notice) had just a word definition or description in text. Mine had more visual cues such as hand shapes to demonstrate each classifier. So because she saw the cover on Pinterest, it was reported that copyright infringement occurred.” (Callista) Callista did further research and both of them had developed the tool Feb 2018. Both Callista and the person that submitted the copyright infringement statement developed their tool at the same time without knowing each other. 

“After I’ve seen hearing people teaching wrong signs and then seeing Destiny Slater’s vlog, I realized it was necessary to say something” (Callista) When asked about changing the external portion of the “flipbook”, Callista explained that the change would require a lot of things such as the jpeg, PDF, and so forth. Many steps in changing one item. When Callista found out that other people were hearing, there was this feeling that something was not right. When Callista did some more research, this person is an ASL teacher in California and is hearing. 

This is what led to the vlog that she did to discuss culture appropriation within ASL material development. Most people that demonstrate their products use English spoken language without any sign language. This woman is selling ASL products without any kind of visual language in her vlog. “This is oppressive, speaking but not signing when selling ASL Products.” (Callista)

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