Kurt Cobain Learning Centre

I am Kurt Cobain (Jordan writing from Cobain’s perspective) and you can learn more about me here.

Please feel free to check it out and leave your comments on this post.

 

“Developing the Leaders Around You” – 3 Nuggets of Wisdom

“Developing the Leaders Around You” by John C. Maxwell

My first concept is that leaders have two characteristics, these being that leaders are going somewhere and that they are able to persuade others to go with them. The first characteristic means that leaders have dreams and places they want to be, as well as goals to help them reach those places. The second means that leaders have the ability to “sell” their dreams to others and convince them that they should try to get there as well and help each other work towards those goals. This concept is important to me because I want to be able to think about and know where I want to go and what I want to achieve, as well as how I can get there. I also want to learn how to motivate others around me to work towards common goals, since not only is motivation an important tool to have, uniting a group strengthens its connections. This concept can apply to TALONS because when we are planning events or trips, all group members must have the same end goal that they work towards so that everyone is on the same page. If someone does have an idea for how to make the project better, they have to be able to share it clearly and in a way that convinces the group to add it to the final vision. Knowing what one wants in life or a specific situation and how to achieve that, as well as the ability to convince people to aid in your journey, are important skills to have to be successful, especially in TALONS, when we all have to work together.

The second concept I chose is “it is easier to teach what is right than to do what is right” (Maxwell & Giant Impact, 2014, 15), which means that only saying or explaining a concept is much easier than applying that concept to your own life and following it, which is fairly difficult. However, you can’t expect anyone you are teaching to listen and follow what you say when you don’t even follow it yourself. This concept is important to me because I want to become more aware of how well I am meeting the standards I set for others so I can be an effective leader and role model. Being aware of this will help me either learn to follow all the standards I set or adjust my standards to be what I can meet or am already meeting. This is a very important concept in TALONS because the grade tens have to teach and set a good example for the grade nines. When planning events and trips, instead of assigning tasks to the grade nines, we have to demonstrate how to do the tasks, and guide them through the process. We also have to ensure that we are doing our own tasks and participating in the planning alongside them to show that we apply the lessons to our own lives. Applying the lessons one teaches to others to their own life is a difficult but valuable demonstration of leadership, because it shows that they understand and believe in the content they are teaching, and in TALONS, it is important for being valuable role models.

The third concept I chose is shared in the book as “self-disclosure, the willingness to share parts of one’s own journey when appropriate and the willingness to be honest” (Maxwell & Giant Impact, 2014, 21), and is very important for the growth of everyone in TALONS. This concept means that when a mentor shares information about themselves, their mentee will feel more comfortable sharing, and this process encourages open communication. I chose this concept because I understand that it is important for mentees to feel comfortable since I have felt hesitant to share before and know how hard it can be. When I was struggling with this last year, I always found it very helpful when a grade ten would share an experience in which they struggled because it made me feel better about my journey and it let me know that I could look to that person for help. This concept is helpful for leadership specifically because the grade tens can share past mistakes with the grade nines so that they can learn from them and improve for this year, and if the grade nines feel comfortable sharing with the grade tens, they will be able to ask for help when they are struggling. Finally, this concept encourages open and honest communication between two parties, and communication and sharing of experiences are essential for building a community within TALONS, which is a very important part of leadership and this program. Self-disclosure strengthens connections and maintains comfort with sharing, which ties in with many of the fundamental goals of TALONS.

References

Maxwell, J. C., & Giant Impact. (2014). Developing the Leaders Around You. Giant Impact.

Practice Interview Reflection

During my interview, I started to feel a lot more comfortable interviewing someone and afterwards the feedback I got was very helpful. Usually, I feel very nervous or uncomfortable when interviewing someone because my anxiety kicks in and it ends up being fairly awkward, with me feeling very unsure. However, during these practice interviews, I felt very confident with my answers and I thought that I created a good environment for my partner when asking my questions. This practice was helpful because now I am aware of the skills I have and those I need to work on, and I have gained a better idea of what interviewing someone is like.

I think some of my strengths during these interviews was my clarity and my eye contact. Throughout both interviews, I made sure to maintain constant eye contact so that I was always focused on my partner and what they were saying, and I was always nodding or agreeing with points my partner was making to show that I was listening. I also had a very clear voice during the interviews, keeping it at a steady volume that was acceptable in the environment we were in. I kept most hesitation out of my speech and I spoke with confidence in my answers and questions. I think these are good things for me to be able to do because it makes me seem confident and like

I know what I am doing, which adds to the quality of my interview.

Next are some of my stretches. One of the points that the person overviewing my interview gave me to work on was going deeper with my questions. I believe this is in reference to how I could ask more follow-up questions so that I can receive a more thorough and in-depth answer from my interviewee. I think this is a good point for me to work on because for the most part I just stay on the surface and I am satisfied with simple answers. Instead, I should try to get more details in their answers so that I can learn more from the experience. I can start to do this by just asking more follow-up questions, and as I get better at that, I can start to improve them and make them even more helpful and insightful.

Another thing that I have set for myself to improve on is my improvisation. This actually ties in with my previous stretch, as working on my improv will make it easier to ask follow-up questions. I need to work on this because as of now I mainly stick to questions I have prepared, but limiting myself to this means that I don’t always get all the details or insight that I need. I would like to get better at going off-script and going with the flow when I can, asking questions that fill in any gaps in my information. This will help me be more comfortable in the interview since I won’t need my questions at all times, and it will help me get better at asking follow-up questions, another one of my stretches. My goal for this is to start by asking a couple questions in my interviews that I had not pre-planned, and once I am comfortable with that I can start doing it more often and more naturally.

Overall, I believe that what I am taking away from this experience is really going to help me in my future interviews, because I know what I’m good at and that can give me confidence, and I know what I need to improve on. This will help me know what to practice and I can become a better interviewer with this knowledge.

Blog Reading Reflection

Through the process of reading and leaving comments on the blog posts of my peers, I have gained a better understanding of what makes a good post, which will help me as I progress through this project. As I read other posts, I got to see the different ways that people formatted their information, for instance as two paragraphs or a Q&A with the guiding questions. Because of this, I was able to see possible formatting options and formulate my own opinions on the organization and effectiveness of each. This was helpful because now I am considering how I might format my posts in the future, for example, if I were to redo this previous post, I would have split it into two paragraphs so that it was easier to read. I also saw what information they included and what info I found most important and valuable as I was reading, which will help me as I move forward as I try to decide what information to include in my posts and how. Reviewing others’ posts was a useful experience for me because I got the chance to see what was good and what I should work towards as well as what could have been improved and that I should try to avoid.

Eminent Person Introduction

Hello, my name is Jordan and this is my introductory blog post about my eminent person, Kurt Cobain.

“With Kurt Cobain you felt you were connecting to the real person, not to a perception of who he was — you were not connecting to an image or a manufactured cut-out. You felt that between you and him there was nothing — it was heart-to-heart. There are very few people who have that ability.” – Lars Ulrich, Metallica (2004)

Kurt Cobain (1991)

I am going to research Kurt Cobain as my eminent person for his contributions to the music world and because I have a strong connection to him and his music. Kurt Cobain was the lead singer, main songwriter, and guitarist of Nirvana, a rock and grunge band active from 1987 to 1994. Cobain heavily contributed to the formation and popularization of the “grunge” genre in music, an alternative rock genre that usually features angst-filled lyrics and music. He combined different genres and inspirations to create a new sound that was almost entirely his own and has inspired many musicians, especially in the grunge genre. His profound lyrics, interesting melodies and anti-establishment persona helped make him an icon of the grunge era and Generation X, and his music influenced and strongly connected with many people. He took risks in his lyrical content by tackling sensitive, important and current issues like rape, drug addiction, and women’s right in many of his songs, which also made them very meaningful and important additions to the genre and music world. His musical ability is very notable, as he sang and played guitar for Nirvana and wrote the lyrics and melodies for their songs, which is an impressive role for him to have had, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 after he passed. He advocated for the rights of women, POC, and the LGBTQ+ community, for example, a performance he did at a benefit opposing the 1992 Oregon Ballot Measure 9, the purpose of which included promoting anti-gay ideals in schools. As an example of his views and how he expressed them, in the liner notes of one of his albums, Incesticide, he included, “If any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different colour, or women, please do this one favour for us—leave us the fuck alone! Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records” (Cobain, 1992). He became extremely notable despite a messy childhood, and a struggle with depression for most of his life, up until he committed suicide in 1994. He also struggled with his eminence and fame, because he was an introvert and didn’t like the attention, and it was very difficult for him to be in the spotlight like he was, especially when he “believed his message and artistic vision had been misinterpreted by the public” (“Kurt Cobain,” n.d.). I feel I have a very strong connection to Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, even since I was younger when my parents first introduced me to his music. I can also relate to him in many ways, which can give me a deeper understanding of him throughout my research. His songwriting was an integral part of his music and rise to fame, and my interest in poetry draws me to his writing. He obviously had a very strong interest in writing and music, and so do I, as well, both of us are very creative and in tune with our emotions, meaning we try to express our emotions in creative ways. I aspire to be like him in the sense that he took initiative in his life and followed his passion, working hard to develop his skills, which is something I aim to do, especially as I progress through TALONS. Although I am different from him in many ways as well, including our religious beliefs, upbringings, and gender, I feel that I can overcome these barriers by gaining an understanding of how he felt about these aspects of his life and therefore developing a deeper connection with who he was as a person. I see Kurt Cobain as a person of eminence because of his creative and musical ability, what his music contributed to the generation and genre he was a part of, as well as his mental and vocal stance on important issues like equality, and I think I have enough interest in and connection to him to work towards gaining a meaningful understanding of who he was through my research.

In the next steps of my research, my goal is to widen my scope of research. Throughout this beginning stage, I have used a very limited number of sources to find my information. While this makes it easier because it is all in one place, I think I should be broadening my search and utilizing other resources as well. I think this would benefit me because I could find new information and other perspectives if they are written subjectively, which could help enrich my learning further. It can also provide credibility if multiple websites have the same information. Because of this, I am going to set a goal of visiting at least 3 different websites when researching a new topic to help me practice using more sources.

Bibliography:

Blabbermouth. (2004, April 1). Lars Ulrich: Kurt Cobain didn’t want to share the stage with Guns N’ roses. BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://www.blabbermouth.net/news/lars-ulrich-kurt-cobain-didn-t-want-to-share-the-stage-with-guns-n-roses/#JWEozW71A6XwGAlU.99.

Kevin Allman. (n.d.). Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://kevinallman.typepad.com/ARTICLES/MAGAZINES/Advo-Cobain.pdf.

Kramer, J. (2019). Cobain wearing headphones at a microphone. File:Kurt Cobain 1991 cropped.jpg. Retrieved October 21, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Cobain#/media/File:Kurt_Cobain_1991_cropped.jpg.

Wikimedia Foundation. (2021, October 8). Kurt Cobain. Wikipedia. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Cobain.

Remote Learning Reflection Digital Literacy

· What are your thoughts on hybrid learning (in person and at home) compared to when you are in your learning groups (at school for all classes). Which format do you prefer, and why?

I think it really depends on the class that I’m in. For some classes, the hybrid method is hard for keeping up, such as drama, which primarily needs to be in person to work, but most are fairly suited for it. In terms of schedule and getting to and from school, the hybrid learning at the same time as a learning group is very difficult to maintain because it’s a lot of back and forth and it seems unnecessary to be in class for only two hours, so the mix of both is not great in my opinion. The learning groups are good because we’re constantly learning and it’s easier not to forget things in between, but it’s also important to take breaks between that to not get burnt out and lose focus. I really like the hybrid learning because we get the chance to work on assignments on our own time and in the comfort of our own home instead of being chained to a desk, and we also get breaks from in-class lessons, like mentioned above. For these reasons, for the most part I prefer the hybrid learning on its own.

· How has technology benefited you during the hybrid learning experience?

Technology has benefited me with hybrid learning because it allows me to very easily work on any digital assignment I have whenever I’m at home. I have a laptop, which means that it’s a lot easier to do most of my assignments because many of them involve lots of writing, which is difficult to complete on a phone or other small device. Having this technology also means that I can easily contact my teachers and peers to ask for information or help with work using multiple platforms, which has helped me get out of a few difficult spots.

· How has technology impeded you during the hybrid learning experience?

There were multiple times when I had an assignment that involved using specific aspects of technology, and I either couldn’t figure out the program, or it malfunctioned. For instance, there was a project that I was part way through, and my laptop crashed out of nowhere, meaning I lost all of my data. I had to restart the project from almost scratch and memory, which was stressful for me. Technology isn’t always perfect, so putting all of my faith in it was my downfall in certain situations.

· Is there anything that you hope remains a part of school that was new because of hybrid learning after the pandemic is over and school returns to normal?

I hope that teachers still use certain aspects of Teams as part of their learning materials, such as the Assignments tab. Not that the entire program needs to be as integral a piece of our learning as it has been, but I do appreciate that feature on Teams because it gives all the resources and information needed for that assignment, as well as the due date, which helps me because I sometimes forget due dates. It’s also very present on Teams, and it’s a very convenient way to hand in work, rather than hard copies in person or emails, so I would like if that was still a primary way of completing work in the future.

· Link to 2 Projects in school/TALONS that used digital technology, and explain how the use of that digital technology enhanced your project. Ideas include In-Depth, Eminent, Zip, individual class projects in Talons or other subjects…

In-Depth Learning Centre: My topic was ASL (American Sign Language), so it would have been very difficult for me to present my learning without signing. But, because of the deaf culture I can’t actually “teach” it. This would have been an issue, but since I was using a digital presentation, it was a lot easier to work around it. I chose to also show proof from an official dictionary alongside videos of my own signing, and this was very easy to do because using technology I could very easily place them side by side in a convenient fashion for the viewer.

Ella Fitzgerald Learning Centre (Eminent): Using technology to complete this project was beneficial because it allowed me to easily organize all of my information in a way that I could see clearly how I had laid it out. Also, in this project I used a timeline, and using a website to create it was much easier than it would have been to make it by hand, and it was also very clean and even, making it look really nice, and it was so easy to just move an image of this to my presentation. So, technology made the important part of this project really easy to complete.

In-Depth Learning Centre

Hey everyone! And welcome back to my blog! Tonight is In-Depth night, and we get to share all of our learning centres. I have used Google Slides for mine because I could not add the videos I needed into a PowerPoint, and I hope that still works for everyone. I hope you enjoy my presentation and learn something new from it.

Also, I appreciate any feedback you can offer, and would love for you to share that so I can improve. You can use this blog to do so, or you can comment on the presentation itself after you have watched it. This is done using a button near the top right hand corner, but please keep this as a place for specific feedback on the presentation rather than a way to communicate with me or others. Thanks.

And lastly, you do not need to click the video for it to play, you just need to press the key that moves you through the slideshow once you reach the slide and it will play it for you. Click it again and the next video will play. This key is the only one you should have to use (right arrow, space bar, etc.) throughout the presentation.

Have fun learning!

Here is my learning centre: American Sign Language (ASL)

In-Depth Post #6

Hey everyone! I’m back with my final update on my project until In-Depth Night! This post happens to be a bit later than usual, but that just means that I’ll be covering content from two of my meetings. I will also discuss what my plan for my learning centre is.

First meeting

This meeting was on Sunday, April 11th, and had lots of important information. To prepare for this meeting, my group and I all watched a documentary called “Through Deaf Eyes”, from Gallaudet University for the Deaf. It covers deaf history spanning back to the 19th century, mentioning how deaf education first came about, how it developed and split into different learning systems, how different individuals deal with being deaf, and just life from a deaf person’s perspective in general. It includes interviews from deaf people, such as historians, actors, and other deaf Americans. I would suggest watching it if any of you are interested in learning about deaf culture. Here is the link: Through Deaf Eyes

During the meeting, we had a discussion about any thoughts we had about the video and we were free to ask our mentor any questions we had. The video focused a lot on the fact that for a long time, ASL was not an accepted language and deaf children were taught with the oral method. The oral method is teaching them to communicate verbally and speak out loud, without using hand movements. This included lots of development, which meant learning mouth shapes, breath and airflow control and how to produce the sounds. At least in the beginning, these schools did not allow the students to use any form of hand gestures to make sure that they were focusing on learning to speak. In our meeting Sinu mentioned a method that he saw being used in some of the video footage for these schools. It was a deaf child touching the teacher’s face, presumably to feel the vibrations and mouth shapes so they could attempt to replicate them.

I brought up the fact that ASL is it’s own language and is not English translated into signs. And yet, in the documentary it talked about how, for a long time, many deaf people treated it as a representation of English and it was just a way of using gestures to show what they were saying. I believe it was actually a hearing person, who came to work as a professor at Gallaudet, that proposed the concept of ASL being it’s own language, with it’s own grammar, structure, rules and nuances. At first, this idea was not well received, even the deaf community was against it, as they had been raised with the opposing belief that it was not a separate language for so long. At hearing my thoughts on this, my mentor talked about how that relates to there being two different ways of signing in an English-speaking country. The first is sign languages such as ASL (American), BSL (British), Auslan (Australian), etc, and the second is signed English. Signed English is more of that representation of English using gestures that people used to think ASL was. Usually the sign is very related to the word you are trying to express, and often uses the first letter of the word finger-spelled as the hand-shape in the sign. It also uses English grammar and is directly translating into signs, making up signs for words like “the”, “to”, “is”, that ASL does not have. Although some people do use this form of signing, it is usually thought of in a more negative light as it is not a language and kind of takes away from the independence of deaf culture, trying to fit into the hearing community norm.

My mentor, Tori, told us something that she had learned in a class she took, about the development of a new sign language. She didn’t quite remember the country it took place in, so I’ll just refer to it non-descriptively. So there was a school in this country that was teaching deaf students, and was taking the oral approach, as they believed that was really the only way to speak, and at the time, the country did not have its own sign language. The students were prevented from using other ways to communicate while learning, but while on the playground, at lunch time and such, the kids began to create their own signs. The children wanted some way to communicate more easily with each other, and so they started making up hand gestures that they would use with each other. Although they didn’t have the grammar and structure that full languages do, they kept expanding the basic vocabulary it was still an effective way to show what they were saying. At one point, the teachers noticed this happening and began to observe the signing, occasionally trying to interact with the students in this language they had built. Eventually this spread from the school and started to gain traction in the rest of the country, developing into a new language. I found it crazy that an entire sign language was made just by some kids trying to talk with each other on the playground.

Another thing that we talked about was different accents in sign language. Although many of us haven’t thought about this as something that really happens, it is the same idea as with verbal accents. Tori said that some people will have “very precise hand movements”, whereas others might be more relaxed and kind of “drift from one sign to the next”. Lots of people also use slang when signing, some of it being very specific to a certain group of people. This prompted a question from Sinu, that was basically how can people understand someone if they have an accent that is foreign to them and use slang that they have never seen before? Tori replied by saying that it can be assumed that they can still understand the gist of what they are trying to say. She mentioned that it is most likely very similar to when someone from Canada or America, say, is talking with someone from Australia. Although they might have an accent and use terms and phrases that are very different from ours so their slang is unfamiliar to us, we can still usually deduce what they are trying to say, since they are still speaking English. She said that accents can also vary in intensity, for example someone can have a very thick Scottish accent, making it difficult to understand them, or they can have a slight accent that doesn’t really affect the way they speak very much. It is most likely the same in signing.

During this meeting, we also went over new signs that included school subjects and “filler words/exclamations”. This second category is made up of words such as the five W’s, replies like cool, amazing, same, I agree, and others like thanks, you’re welcome, do you understand, etc. I found learning these signs helpful because I tend to use these a lot in conversation when I am trying to show my interest or how I feel about something, as well as I think it’s important to know how to reply quickly with words like sorry. Something that I think a lot of us struggled with though while learning these was that when using an ASL dictionary there were a lot of different variations, and it was confusing because we weren’t sure which one we were supposed to use. Fortunately, we were able to clear up most of this confusion when we asked Tori about them, discussing the differences between what she showed us and how we each learned it.

Second Meeting

This meeting took place on Sunday, April 18th and actually ended up being mostly review. We had to keep it short so that it didn’t conflict with some of our schedules, but I believe it still lasted about an hour. Although we did review some new signs, which were from the category clothing, and a few like middle school, elementary school, etc, we spent most of the meeting going over all the categories we had learned over the course of the project. This was very helpful, because I know personally I had forgotten some of these over time, and this refresher was a nice way to not only practice what I know but make sure that I remembered the signs. Also, if during our review session I was confused because I had forgotten something, I knew that I should go back and learn that again and focus on trying to commit the section that I struggled with to memory. The way we practised these was a mostly voice off session where Tori would sign or finger-spell a word and we would do the opposite back to her with the same word.

How to Have a Beautiful Mind

Concepts:

  • Deaf education
    • This would include the different ways to teach deaf students, such as the oral method, or teaching sign language
    • Although deaf people might not learn the same way we do, it does not make them any less or more intelligent, we all have our strengths and limitations, they are just different when it comes to hearing and deaf people
  • Memory when learning a language
    • We need to remember signs so that we can have them at our disposal in conversation
    • We can practice with others
    • Constant personal review
  • Being respectful to the deaf community
    • Understanding that being deaf is not a disability and they are a completely normal part of society
    • Always being inclusive and staying within their limitations when interacting with a deaf person
    • Not performing using ASL if you are hearing

Alternatives:

Throughout the project, Tori has been very kind in allowing us lots of freedom in choosing how we want to learn. We always get to pick what sign categories we learn, based on what we think is important, and this changes what what we can say and ask and what kinds of conversation we can take part in. Most of what we have can be used in small talk and we can have short back and forth Q&As and chats with each other. We have also chosen to focus on the actual signs more than the grammar. We planned to cover grammar later on, but I don’t think that we will get to that before the project end. This means that even though we know the words, we are not quite able to easily piece them together into proper sentences and therefore we are not able to have full conversations and speak fluently with what we know. This may also be in part because Tori is also not completely fluent in ASL, even though she has an extensive knowledge, meaning that the grammar is not her strong suit and it is quite complicated, so it makes sense that it has not been our main focus. I believe that if we had been able to find a mentor fluent in ASL, most likely a deaf person, then we may have had an opportunity to learn that a bit more, but we could not find anyone who fit that description in the time given. I also think that having a deaf mentor would have given us a chance to learn the culture from that perspective firsthand, we would have been able to ask questions about that in particular very easily. But I think it also would have been a challenge, because we did not know almost any ASL at the beginning of the project and we are still learning, so for the most part, we would have to use only the chat to communicate with our mentor, which I think would have been kind of difficult. Besides, Tori has been an amazing mentor and has taught us so much and helped us with any issues we’ve had, eagerly participating in discussion about them, while being very friendly and casual and allowing us a lot of freedom and control over our project, so I am extremely grateful for her time and effort.

Learning Centre

Unfortunately at this time I have not decided on what I am going to do for my learning centre. I have possible ideas, but I’m not sure if they would be appropriate as I am hearing and not fluent in ASL. These include teaching a couple of signs or demonstrating a mock conversation in ASL but again, I am not sure if these are acceptable or not. For this reason, I plan to ask the deaf individual that my group and I will be meeting with in a couple weeks if I would be allowed to use any of these ideas for this part of the project. I apologize for the lack of this information, but respect for deaf culture is an important and tricky subject. Thanks for your understanding.

 

 

 

 

In-Depth Post #5

Hi everyone! I’m back for another post!

I have had another meeting with my group and mentor and I have learned more about my topic, ASL.

Progress Report

So far, we have learned vocabulary from 5 categories that we established, including greetings/basics, activities, time/calendar, people and emotions. We have used these signs to create and ask questions to each other in our meetings during our voice off sessions, having sort of small conversations. Each meeting, we discuss where everyone is at with what they have learned in between meetings, attempting to get everyone on the same page. We also use this start time to ask any questions that we have thought of, especially about deaf culture and such. We review the signs we learned in our previous one, then we see how much we each learned and remember from the new vocab, all done using a mentor-led voice-off session. Using the voice-off session really helps me improve my skills in paying attention and focusing on the person “speaking”, knowing that I need to concentrate on what they are saying. It helps me get better at being aware of those movements that tell me I need to pay attention, which is something that I know I need to work on if I want to be able to converse in ASL. It also helps me practice my finger-spelling and finger-spelling interpretation, I’ve built up my speed in both with the use of these sessions. Also, whenever there is a minute or so where Tori is not just saying one sign, but a sentence, I find that I really try to translate as quick as a I can, occasionally missing a word or two, but I’ve improved with my fast translation a lot since the beginning of the project. This is great because that will help me in understanding what is being said to me in ASL, especially when it is a fluent ASL speaker, since they will most likely be signing much faster. Using the signs we’ve learned so far, we come up with questions that we can ask relating to the topics/categories. These give us things to talk about when conversing in ASL, and they also teach us a little about the grammar of ASL and how to structure the individual signs sentences. They also allow us to learn a little bit more about each other through asking them and replying correctly in ASL, as well as just being really useful practice.

Next Meeting

We were recommended to watch two different documentaries to help us learn about deaf history and culture as we will move on to current activism in our upcoming meeting. We will learn signs from the categories food and colours, as well as a spattering of other signs that we will need for the new set of questions that we came up with in the two weeks in between meetings. We will practice these questions and how to answer them with each other in pairs next meeting to learn more about the other person through ASL, asking about family, emotions, favourite activities, etc. Next meeting we will review previous signs and the new categories that we learned using the same process as previous meetings.

Challenges/Obstacles

Since we are supposed to learn the sign categories between meetings, I find myself sometimes procrastinating that task. I end up looking them up and learning them last minute so I’m caught up, but this means that I forget some of them during the meeting because I didn’t spend very much time on learning them. I do this a lot because at the beginning I put it off for later, then as the two weeks progress I forget that I still have that to do. Breaking this habit will help me to take my time with them and commit them to memory more, as well as relieve any stress related to the task. I am already improving with this by doing it straight away at least within two days of the meeting, before I forget to. I did this for this past meeting and I feel much better because I won’t be rushing to complete the task later. I will try to keep up this habit to continue to make this learning process easier and more effective.

Learning Contract

I have referred back to my learning contract, and upon revisiting the timeline/goals I had set up, I am realizing that my learning has strayed from that. A few of the things I mentioned, including the structure and hand-shapes in the signs, I can not really learn because that is not something my mentor is equipped to teach. Instead, I am learning deaf culture and history, as well as current activism. I plan to continue learning the signs throughout the project and restructure my timeline along with that. I have already mostly completed the goal in which I learn what is considered rude and appropriate so I can be respectful when communicating with deaf individuals. In the next few meetings I hope to discuss the resources posted by my mentor about the history and discuss current events to help us understand the culture better, and I think that this is a good place in the project because it is sort of in the middle. We know enough respect so far, and continuing forward, this information on deaf culture will help us learn more thoughtfully. Then, I hope to move forward into grammar as we near the end of the project to help us translate quickly in our heads and practically put the signs we’ve learned to work in a regular non-practice environment. Along the way, I would also like to find out if my mentor knows any slang or shortcuts that fluent speakers use for fast communication, so I can become more versed in the slight nuances in the language and be a more natural ASL speaker. I will also ask the questions that I had come up with for my learning contract in the next couple of meetings.

In my learning contract as one of the possible issues, I put miscommunication/lack of info and missed meetings. I believe we have done a very good job avoiding these problems, as we have set up a meeting schedule that always stays on the same day and time, once every two weeks, and it works with when everyone is available. Whenever one person is going to be a little late, we just postpone the meeting until then, which works fine, especially since this has only happened once and only for fifteen minutes.  As for any information that we share as a group, it is stored in a shared document that we can edit and reference, keeping track of what needs to be reviewed for next meeting as well as resources posted by our mentor. This has been very helpful as it is an easy and convenient way to find any information that you need and are missing or have forgotten, all of it being the same for each person since it is a collective effort, solving this problem before it begins. We also have a few different ways of communicating inside our group and contacting each other if any specific questions arise.

How to Have A Beautiful Mind

I am not going to be directly quoting a conversation that has been recorded, but instead I will summarize the discussion using the parts where the roles of the hats were included. (Each of the points made is something we discussed in the meetings)

We talked about how Tori had been in contact with someone she knew who was deaf and an ASL instructor, and that he was possible willing to join us for a meeting and have a conversation with us.

White Hat – We know that he is fluent in the language because it his primary language and he teaches it, meaning he has an extensive knowledge. We know that he understands how to work with students and people who are not fully fluent in the language and will be cooperative when communicating with us. We know that he is deaf, and therefore to be respectful our meeting would have to be completely voice-off.

Red Hat – We all thought that meeting with him would be a really good idea. I thought that we should meet with him near the end of our project, after we have learned more and can more easily communicate voice-off. This way we will feel more comfortable in our meeting.

Black Hat – If we meet at the end of the project, we will be stronger with our abilities speaking in ASL and will be able to successfully have a conversation with him. Because it will be a voice-off meeting, we may struggle with saying things sometimes. It will be easy to arrange this meeting, since it will be online and it is much easier to jump on a Zoom call than actually meet up in person, so this works out rather nicely. We discussed if we might need an interpreter to help us, but we decided against it because it would cost money and would be unnecessary if we problem-solve (see green hat section)

Yellow Hat – Meeting with a deaf individual will give us practical experience in using ASL, giving us an idea of what it is like to use it in daily life. He can provide insight into the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and teach us the lesser known things about deaf culture and ASL. We will learn what it is like to talk with a deaf person. It can be a nice way to test our knowledge at the end of the project and appreciate what we’ve learned, being an option for our final test included in our learning contract.

Green Hat – If we come across something that we want to say but don’t know how to, we can ask using finger-spelling and hopefully he can help us or Tori can. Although it will be completely voice-off and we can still use ASL to ask questions if we are stuck or confused, it is likely that we might have an instance where we can’t figure out our issue that way. Fortunately, if we really get stuck, we can still remain voice-off and don’t need an interpreter as suggested in the black hat section. Because our meeting will be online, if need be, we can use the chat as a backup form of communication.

Blue Hat – We discussed these topics in an orderly fashion, we first considered the initial idea and decided how that would help us and if we should do it. Then we brought up different possibilities for the timing/date of the meeting, thinking about how the conversation would change in relation to that. And afterwards, we talked about the technicalities and parts that might be important moving forwards to know how things will run smoothly.

 

 

In-Depth Post #4

Hey everyone! Hope you’re all doing well!

I have had another meeting with my mentor and group, where we continued to structure the project and our “curriculum”, as well as learn/practice new signs.

Early on in the meeting, I asked a question that I had come up with a few days before. Previously, I had learned that it is considered more respectful to not use the term “hearing loss”, implying that deaf individuals have lost something, which is not the case. Being deaf or hard-of-hearing is not a disability and it should be treated as such, so “deaf” and “hard-of-hearing” are the preferred terms in the deaf community.

But I had recently come across a hypothetical situation in which the person was able to hear, but over time something caused them to become deaf. This had me thinking, because technically, they have “lost” their hearing. And not in the sense that it is something that they are missing and it’s a detriment, but they had the ability to hear and then that went away, so I was very curious as to what you would call that if not “hearing loss”.

I asked Tori if that was an appropriate situation to use the term, or if there was something else to call it. Unfortunately, I asked this question right before the meeting started recording, so I don’t have her direct quote, but I will paraphrase her basic answer. She mentioned how the medical terms and the social terms are used differently, so medically, in that scenario, it is called hearing loss or something similar. But it’s not always used the same way in a social environment, where it could be used more figuratively as described in the first paragraph, rather than literally as a technical term, such as from a medical standpoint. She brought up a few more things about the technicalities as well:

  • How there is a scale of deafness, so that one person could just have trouble hearing, but still be able to, whereas another could be completely deaf. This means that someone could progress along this scale, for example gradually becoming more deaf, which would create different circumstances possibly, than someone born deaf.
  • There are different causes and types of deafness, so that must be taken into account when thinking about how the social and medical aspects of deafness differ and come into play

Learning about all this and the proper terms to use, etc. has made me really think about what I’m saying when I’m talking about deafness; I have to adjust so that I am being respectful and accurate. Since beginning this project, my perception on deafness has kind of changed, because I always knew that there was an entire culture behind it, but I never realized just how complex it really is. I find that I see things differently, I notice more when I see or say something pertaining to deafness, and I am often searching to understand it better.

 

We decided to focus on deaf culture history and current events in our upcoming meetings. Learning the current events and activism relating to deaf culture will be helpful to us because we will be well informed on how it is progressing in our society, giving us a more relevant understanding of deaf culture. We will also learn the history of deaf culture because it will show some of the reasoning behind it, which will not only help us accept it into our learning and our lives, but it will make the current events make more sense.

Before our last meeting, we learned a spattering of signs from the calendar/time and activities categories, seeing as these are good small talk topics and will help us when attempting to communicate in ASL. In our meeting, we reviewed these predetermined signs and learned any we didn’t know to make sure that everyone in the group was on the same page. Some of these signs included the times of day (morning, noon, night, etc.), periods of time, school, study, and many others. To practice them, we had a voice-off period where Tori would finger-spell one of the signs and we would have to sign what it was back to her, and where she would sign something and we would finger-spell it. This helped us not only to remember the signs more easily, but to get better with using and interpreting finger-spelling, which can be very useful to non-fluent ASL speakers.

When we were finished practising, we decided on the signs to learn for next meeting. We chose the categories “people” and “emotions”, which will also be common in conversation because you can say how you are feeling and you can talk about your family, friends, etc. We also came up with questions and sentences using what we have learned so far to use in conversation and that we will practice.

For this in-depth project, we must complete a test of our newly learned skill, which we decided on before starting. But after learning more about deaf culture and what is acceptable, I have found that my original idea will not work, because a hearing person should not use ASL for performance purposes. So I have adjusted my plan so that at the end of the project, my group and I will have a conversation with a deaf individual using what we have learned from our mentor. Leading up to this, we may also get a chance to meet with multiple other deaf people to further our knowledge and gain insight from people who are part of the deaf community, as well as practice conversing in ASL.