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.
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)
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.
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.
· 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.
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)
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.
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.
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
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since my last post I have met with my mentor, Tori, along with the four others in my group. This includes Sinu, Xylia and Anya. We decided to learn together to make it a less complicated schedule for Tori, making it more efficient to learn, and practising a language with others is the best way to learn it.
During the meeting we discussed what we intended to learn throughout the project to get a clearer view of the coming lessons, Tori answered some questions about deaf culture and other important points, we learned the basic greeting signs together, and we defined a meeting schedule that works for everyone.
We intend to learn the important signs that would help us get through in a conversation, allowing us to small talk in ASL, and although Tori can’t teach us all the signs because she is not completely fluent or certified, she is going to give us resources to learn from and act as someone we can practice with. Once we know some vocabulary, we can look more into grammar, since ASL has its own grammar and is not the same as English, so that will be helpful in being better at communicating in the language. Then, learning the deaf culture is an extremely important part of learning ASL because being respectful to the deaf community is necessary when speaking in the primarily used language in that group. I made sure to make it clear that this was something that I was really wanting to focus on at some point in our mentor-ship.
We started with Tori answering questions that a couple of us had come up with, which included a few different topics. The first one covered was, “How did your research on the culture and history of ASL change your perspective on the language? Did your developing understanding help or change nothing when learning ASL?”, which was asked by Anya. I have included parts of Tori’s answer that I thought were representative of her thoughts.
“Learning the background of this language has made me think twice about how I use it, making sure I’m respecting the language and making sure I’m using it in a way that’s not going to offend anyone. For example, a hearing person should never use ASL for a performance purpose because that’s kind of retracting from the language and the culture.” “…Making sure you’re using it in the right ways and for the right reasons.” I pulled interest from this because I really connected with that statement. Recently I have been thinking about how I can be respectful of the deaf community when learning and using ASL, as well as reflecting on why I want to learn the language. So I thought that this encapsulated those feelings in a very concise way and explains it well.
The second question was, “What can we expect to experience or what challenges will we face while trying to learn and understand ASL as a language and culturally?”, also asked by Anya. She mentioned that we should be careful when looking at articles from deaf people, because there are lots of opinion pieces and are not always fact for everyone and there are different opinions within the community, so we should be careful to not generalize those pieces. Something that also stood out to me was when she talked a little about one of her early struggles. “…One thing for me was for a while, when I was learning ASL I was kind of thinking of it as another way to express English… ASL is an entire language on its own and it has its own grammar…” She talked about how it’s not just another version of English and I enjoyed this answer because thinking about different languages in that way has really helped me in learning other ones as well, making it easier to think about translation.
Tori spoke about what would be considered rude or offensive in the deaf community, from my prompting in our previous meeting. This included not seeing being deaf or hard of hearing as a disability, like they’re missing something or have lost something, because it’s not a bad thing or a disability. This means that calling it hearing “loss” is not considered polite. “People in deaf culture very much take on their deafness as something that is part of them, something that shouldn’t be fixed, something that is just being a different culture.” I found this to be really powerful because it makes you think more about how being deaf is actually thought of from a deaf persons perspective, helping understand that community more. She also mentioned some rude/offensive phrases, saying and such to avoid like, “I’m so sorry for you”, “deaf as a doorknob”, “deaf and dumb/deaf and mute” (the last two are older sayings). Another thing is the “no never mind rule”, basically about how deaf or hard of hearing people will miss a lot of things you might say quieter or harder to notice, so you should never say “no never mind” and should repeat yourself, even if you rethink your statement, out of respect so they don’t feel like they’re being left out of something. I had to commit this to my memory, because I tend to mutter to myself and say never mind a lot, so I would have to work on this to be more polite.
We also learned how to greet someone and introduce ourselves with finger-spelling, along with “nice to meet you”, “what’s your name”, “how old are you”, how to sign your age, and how to ask and reply to “how are you”. We practice this by signing each other’s names and asking a question to that person in ASL, which they have to respond to. While learning these, a question came up as to what hand-shape should be used for sign the sign for “my”, and Tori answered saying that you use your palm on your chest and not your pointer finger, which is “I”. I supported this fact by saying it is the same as “you” vs “your”, using your index finger vs your palm, respectively. I knew this from previous learning of basic signs on a website, and I wanted to clarify and connect with that.
During our meeting, we decide that we would meet at 2 pm every second Sunday for probably an hour each, starting with vocabulary and progressing through our “curriculum”. We would try to dedicate a small amount of time once we had some basic knowledge to practising without speaking each meeting to build our comfort in using ASL. In between meetings, we use resources provided by Tori to learn some basic vocab from a list that we put together in a shared document. Because I already know a fair amount of ASL from previous learning experience, I knew that I was going to be adjusting the list that I personally needed to learn, making it more specific to me. Also, if, as the project progresses, we are not reaching the material that I hope to learn, and I find that much of what we are learning is knowledge I already have, I plan to possibly set up extra one-on-one meetings with Tori tailored to my progress, as well as attending the group meetings.
In conclusion, I found that the techniques from the “How To Have A Beautiful Mind” criteria I used mainly were:
#6 “To find and make connections that link matters together and generates interest.”
#10 “To explore, to elaborate and to pull interest out of the matter.”
#3 “To support a point your mentor makes with additional facts, figures, evidence etc.”
#10 “To modify an idea to make it more acceptable to yourself and to make it stronger or more practical.”
Thanks for reading!
So far with my mentor I have come up with a regular schedule for meetings to ensure that I am continuously working on the project and learning my skill. I have also learned more about the specific knowledge of my chosen mentor which decides what aspects of my skill I can learn from them. I know basic signs like greetings and introductions, which is a great basis for continuing on, as it is necessary vocabulary and is a good introduction to the language and how it works.
As I was arranging the first meeting with my mentor I asked when she was most available to work around her busy schedule. I respected that, and I politely asked if she could do it on an earlier date than the day she suggested because that would help me more. In this way we figured out a time and date that worked for the both of us without conflicting with our schedules.
Currently, there isn’t much to use the “How To Have A Beautiful Mind” content with in our interactions, but as we progress with the project there will be more opportunities to. As I start learning more about the deaf culture and what is considered rude or disrespectful when it comes to “speaking” the language, I will be able to express my opinions on this subject. I can ask questions as to why it might be that way and I can discuss what I think about it, taking into account the experience and thoughts, etc. of the deaf community. I will express my opinions about the topics using the Beautiful Mind habits and strategies.
To fully develop an opinion on the social “rules” of the language I need to understand the history and the reasons behind them, which includes the feelings of the deaf community that influenced the creation of those rules. I will explore all of this with mentor and try to understand the reasoning and if I disagree with something I will figure out why and express that in a reasonable, logical way to my mentor using the techniques discussed in the book.
Because my mentor isn’t completely fluent in the language if I know something that I think she didn’t necessarily get correct I can politely tell her that I am aware of something else, and find out if she has an explanation for why I have different information. Then if she does I can agree and say that I didn’t know that and it will be resolved.
In conclusion, I have confirmed a meeting schedule to keep me on track with the project and to eliminate unnecessary time spent on planning the next meeting. I have not yet been able to really use the skills explained in “How To Have A Beautiful Mind” in learning ASL with my mentor, but as I continue on to learning deaf culture and such I will try to incorporate them into developing my own thoughts on the social aspect of the language.
In-Depth is an opportunity to learn a skill that interests you, which you are passionate about. You should be motivated to learn this skill because it coincides with your interests. You should have an in-depth plan for learning your skill in place before you begin so that you know exactly how you want everything to play out. This should include contingency plans, your goal and anything else that is important to the project and how you will complete it. To learn your skill you must recruit a mentor to teach you, this person should have an extensive knowledge of your chosen skill and be willing to meet with you at least once a month to teach you.
The In-Depth skill I have chosen to learn is ASL (American Sign Language) because for some, it is the only language they can verbally communicate in, and knowing how to speak it fluently can not only help me understand more about deaf culture and that group of people in our society but allow me to talk with others than don’t share my ability to hear. Also, it is a beautiful, almost artistic language that can be very expressive and it would be useful in conveying emotions when I don’t want to use only spoken words. I think it’s very interesting to learn a language that isn’t vocal as most are and how it works because of that.
I will learn ASL by learning from a mentor who has an extensive knowledge of the language as well as the culture so I can learn the actual signs, the grammar and structure, which will help me to better translate from English to ASL and vice versa, and deaf culture, so that I can be a respectful member of the signing community. The signs will include important words that are used in everyday life, and the grammar will help me to understand how to simplify an English sentence into ASL. I want to learn the culture, what is rude and what is considered respectful, as well as common phrases and “shortcuts” that fluent speakers use. I will meet with this mentor along with 4 of my classmates using video calls at least once a month until the end of May to learn as much as I can. I will review these lessons with my group to make sure that we understand and remember everything and we will help each other if we have any issues with the material. I will practice on my own, keeping the information fresh in my memory, as well as attempt to teach what I have learned to my family, ensuring that I understand it enough to do so.
Others can help me by allowing me to teach them some of the things I learn during the mentor-ship when they have free time, which will help me strengthen my comfort with “speaking” the language. By doing this they will also allow me to review what I have learned and giving me more practice.
In conclusion, I will be learning all the different parts of ASL to better understand the deaf community and because it is a beautiful language that is very expressive and interesting. I will meet with my mentor along with a group of others learning ASL as well and to practice I will use multiple methods that will help me comprehend the information better. Others can help me by allowing me to practice with them and possibly teach them so I become more comfortable with my abilities.
I’m really excited to learn this skill, wish me luck with my project and good luck to the rest of you with yours!