Gallaudet University Press

15:10 Friday, October 18, 2013

Explore the Complexities of an Interpreted Education

A New Study Reveals the Ways Interpreters Affect Learning and Social Opportunities for Mainstreamed Deaf Children

In her new book, More Than Meets the Eye: Revealing the Complexities of an Interpreted Education, Melissa B. Smith presents the results of a study that was designed to discover the range of activities and responsibilities performed by educational interpreters and to illuminate the factors they consider when making decisions. Smith notes that “sign language interpreters are the channel through which many Deaf and hard of hearing students access and participate in academic and social interactions in public schools. Yet, educating children with the use of an interpreter is an educational experiment. To complicate matters further, research has shown that interpreters perform multiple roles in the classroom, yet very little is known about what K–12 interpreters actually do. Moreover, there has been no research on the factors that inform their moment-to-moment decisions.”

In mainstream contexts, Deaf and hard of hearing students rely on interpreters for primary access to communication within the academic environment, including access to curriculum and instruction as well as social interactions. “Because the literature confirmed my own observations and experience that interpreters were not well prepared for interpreting in K–12 settings,” says Smith, “I wanted to explore the ways in which K–12 interpreters might facilitate or hinder optimal learning and social opportunities for mainstreamed Deaf and hard of hearing children. Furthermore, I wanted more information than I could find in the literature about the skills and knowledge that educational interpreters need to do their jobs effectively. I set out to learn more about Deaf education and interpreting in K–12 settings so that I could do a better job of preparing students for employment.”

For more insight, read chapter one, “At First Glance: Taking a Look at Deaf Education and Interpreting in K–12 Classrooms,” and preorder More Than Meets the Eye at a special savings of 20% off the regular price. Use the promo code “OCT2013” for online orders, or place your preorder by mail.

In Social Constructions of Deafness: Examining Deaf Languacultures in Education, author Thomas P. Horejes’s focuses on revealing critical knowledge that addresses certain social justice issues, including deafness, language, culture, and deaf education through his research that “stresses the contingency of the social” in educational institutions. Reference & Research Book News recently made this observation: “In this examination of the role of schools in the social construction of language and culture for deaf children, author Horejes intertwines reflections on his lived experiences both personally and academically, as a deaf student and as a researcher. He observes two kindergarten classes for deaf children, one spoken and the other in sign language, and ponders the ideal pedagogy for deaf children. He identifies positive constructions of deafness and considers larger critical justice issues related to deafness.” Read more in chapter one, “My Journey.” Order Social Constructions of Deafness online or by mail.

Reference & Research Book News also highlighted Joseph Christopher Hill’s Language Attitudes in the American Deaf Community, stating: “Hill explores the perceptions of linguistic features in different forms of signing — such as American Sign Language (ASL), contact signing, and Signed English — among social groups of the American Deaf community that vary by generation, age of acquisition, and race. His four years of research explored perceptions of signing types, effects of social information on the perceptions of signing types, evaluation of signing, and description of signing. He finds that ASL is much more accepted now than it was during the 1960’s when William Stokoe first showed that it is a legitimate language, but many — especially older people — still believe that English is better.” Language Attitudes in the American Deaf Community, volume eighteen in the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities series, is the culmination of a four-year research project designed to document language attitudes within the American Deaf community. Read more in chapter two, and order your copy online or by mail.

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