NORTHRIDGE—In a handful of colleges today, materials discussing deaf children within the education system, and the problems that schools often cause are required for students to learn. Such materials may include the critical and disabling pedagogy that can be found in schools, which either enable or hinder children from learning all they can. This writing will briefly discuss teaching strategies and advocates for deaf and hard of hearing (HH) people.
There are three different methods of teaching according to John Miller in Whole Child Education: Transmission, Transaction, and Transformational. Transmission is where the teacher simply transmits information from their brain to the student’s brain; this practice typically encourages the children to study for testing, not for learning. Transaction technique is when there is more interaction between student and teacher; more learning, yet it is still limited. This will aid in the child understanding, but fully grasping material and application to all areas of life is not the focus. Lastly, Transformational teaching is giving children the full experience of learning: conversational, visual, hands-on, as well as helping individuals discover more about themselves, the world, and develop their own perspective of life. It allows for teachers to be observant if students are not comprehending and adjusting teaching style and/or material accordingly.
That being said, most educational systems are not set up for accepting Transformational method teachers. This can be seen directly with deaf mainstreamed students. It is most difficult and improbable for deaf children to have Transformational learning without an interpreter, unqualified interpreters, and/or no connection to their identity and culture. This has been a large issue for deaf and hard of hearing young individuals and their families. Many do not know what their child is needing, unaware of the deeper elements of deafness. There are many people who are eager to share important information regarding education, schools, deafness, and all the options offered.
Such people are advocates for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. These advocates can be found in different areas, organizations, campaigns, and communities. For example, LEAD-K, NorCal Services for Deaf & Hard of Hearing, GLAD, Tri-County GLAD, Deaf Community Services San Diego, etc. Most of these deaf and hard of hearing supporters have been mentioned in previous writings and can always be contacted through their websites and/or Facebook.
Overall, it comes back to teachers and parents, what is being taught, learned, and how. Regarding the education systems, one must ask the question what is more prevalent, disabling or critical pedagogy within schools? For this greatly affects the future of the next generation, especially the deaf and HH. For one must remember, teachers, parents, and advocates cannot change the present; they can only impact the future. Therefore, one must look ahead, keep their eyes on the prize and as Albert Einstein said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”