skip to content
Primary navigation

Language Justice for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students Transcript

Debbie Golos: Yay, good morning, everyone. I hope you're awake this morning. All right. Well, I am absolutely thrilled and honored to introduce Gloshanda. Welcome back home, Gloshanda.

I believe that you all know that she used to work at the Metro Deaf School as a teacher for early childhood. She worked at the St. Paul school for early intervention, and I believe that she now has completed her Ph.D. two years ago. And then moved to Texas and she's working at Lamar University. She's working with social justice and specifically in the realm of education and language.

Welcome, Gloshanda Lawyer 

[Applause]

Gloshanda Lawyer: Good morning. I hope that you all can see me in this location. Does this work for everyone?

All right. I am actually very nervous to be back here in Minnesota. I feel like my biggest critique comes from here. And I believe that's because I worked with -- I wept to the University of Minnesota and I worked with so many of you here, so I feel very honored that I'm back here with you all in this professional community. And you all have given so much to me over the years. So it's my honor to be back here.

For me this topic is directly related to social justice, and I did grow up bilingual. And then I went into the field of Deaf Education, and I realized that it was not equal. We did not all have what we needed to succeed, relating to culture, and by what was said from societal norms.

With the expectation that English would be the language for all. Because language can actually be used to marginalize people. And so for me with my own life story and with our students, their stories as well, this is why this topic is so important to me. I do have a few goals for today.

[A PowerPoint slide appears, that says, ‘Session Goals, Describe the importance of bilingual and multilingualism for Deaf and Hard of Hearing student populations”.]

Gloshanda: First, it's important for us to picture bilingual education and being able to support students with access to both English and ASL. And then we also need to expand our understanding that bilingual should be the minimum expectation. That's in my view, and that's based on my research, which means that we actually have many students who should be multilingual within the Deaf and hard of hearing population. And so my goal is that we are able to support these students in achieving multilingualism. So there are individuals who have been trained in bilingual education and education around language, and my topic is translanguaging.

[The PowerPoint slide appears again. The sentence “How does translanguaging make this possible?” has been added under session goals.]

Gloshanda: So there are individuals who have been trained in bilingual education and education around language, and my topic is translanguaging. This is an area of expertise where people can study and learn about skills both in English and ASL, but then to also understand that translanguaging, this concept is coming from a little different perspective. I want us also to know and recognize and name barriers to our success.

[The PowerPoint slide appears again. Two sentences have been added, “Discuss barriers to applying translanguaging in educational contexts in home contexts”, and “Discuss ways to apply translanguaging stance, design, and shift in the home and school settings”, has been added under session goals.]

Gloshanda: And third, there are three parts to translanguaging. There's design, shift, and stance. 

[Slide appears that says, “Checking the temperature”. A QR code then appears.]

Gloshanda: So I believe that we all have cell phones and iPads. So please get those out right now, if you would. We do have a QR code, and I'd like to just check the temperature of the room.

All right. 

So just snap a picture of this QR code and that will bring up a question for you.

[A slide appears with the question and options that appear after scanning the QR code]

Gloshanda: Has everyone been able to respond? Are we good? 

I can wait for another moment.

[The results of the QR questions appear on the screen.]

Glosahnda: All right. So you can all see the results here and now you know what the general beliefs are among you all who are here today. You can see that there's some differences up at the top here. Deaf and hard of hearing children of any audiological profile could be bilingual, multilingual.

4.4% was the average here, but then on the last line it says, “I have the knowledge and skills to teach and support Deaf and hard of hearing children, to support a multilingual Deaf and hard of hearing child “. So this is actually a little bit in conflict. And that is what we're going to be discussing today.

[The results of another question from the QR code that asked the audience, “Your experience working with the bilingual D/HH students in MN?”.]

Gloshanda: About half of you work with bilingual and deaf education for children. Pardon me, that was bilingual or multilingual for deaf education.

[A PowerPoint slide appears with several text bubbles with text in them.]

Gloshanda: This image shows -- I'd like to give a standard understanding for all of us in the room. And here are some underlying issues relating to training and education for Deaf and hard of hearing children. We typically focus on literacy skills, and also understanding that identity is important.

I'm not sure if the colors are showing very well, but the red one in the upper left is talking about People of color, and this basically means any child that is not white. This is not necessarily related to culture, but a person's skin color.

You could have a child who speaks Spanish, but is considered white. And so this is sometimes something to notice that a Person of color is about the color of the skin.

Romantic orientation is important. Gender. Social class. Language in the home.

[More text bubbles with text appear on the slide.]

Gloshanda: And now I've added the four other bubbles, and these are different kinds of oppression. There has been research conducted for quite some time now, this is nothing new. This is just a summary for you all today because research has already identified that schools are where children can become traumatized by their experiences of oppression, with teachers, with classmates, with administrators. This does happen in our schools.

So the yellow bubble says "anti-black," and this is not the same as racism. This means that I don't support black identity, Black Culture, what it means to grow up black in the United States.

I feel I need to limit my students of color and their movement, their behavior. I tend to be more analytical and critical against black people versus other students who are not black. That has already been researched and demonstrated. 

Teachers tend to view young black students as more aggressive, more problematic. They tend to be removed from the class more frequently, at a younger age, even than their white peers. This has already been demonstrated. 

Linguicism is about language, and it's the belief that English is the best and superior language and that other languages are not as good. They can be added on later if necessary, but we don't need academic support for those languages. English is the focus where we need support. 

Vidism is preferring sighted people, giving preference to sighted people and this way of life. That's how we structure our classrooms, how we teach is very visually oriente,d and we tend to ignore people who do not have equivalent sighting to sighted people. To have vision like sighted people would.

Distantism is related to the belief of touching, and that you should not experience life through touch. You know, it's okay to touch someone on the shoulder to get their attention, but then how DeafBlind students would be touching things in the classroom or with books. They tend to experience life through touch at all times, and we have barriers against this way.

Audism I know is a very big term within our field and we tend to talk about how people focus on the ability to hear as a way of life. With ableism, it's a similar concept but it just applies to disability in general. 

You know, we also have our term, which is called Deaf Plus. And this is where simply means that we need to develop greater sensitivity with the term Deaf Plus. We do use this in our field, but with ableism we are focused on not supporting people with disabilities as part of the norm, as a human life experience. And we do have, there are many people with disabilities and different disorders. And so part of, it is part of our normal biodiversity.

[PowerPoint slide that has two bubbles. One says, “Linguicism”. The other says, “Ableism & Audism”. In the middle of the bubbles, there is a plus sign.]

So now I'm going to focus on three specific parts: Language justice, so we talk about linguicism, meaning oppression of students based on their language. Ableism, and audism.

We see these show up a lot within the language of the classroom and the language used at home. So we've had a long discussion about this, supporting Deaf and hard of hearing children to become typically developing as using auditory technology, hearing aids, cochlear implants. That's not a bad thing. The point is, can we focus on both and can we support bilingual language development? Or a bicultural identity? Do we have to pick one as a primary?  And typically in the United States, there's been a large focus on just one language that regardless of your hearing status, deaf or hearing. The expectation is that people will know English, and we don't really support the acquisition of other languages. Oh, you can learn that later, you can have a high school requirement for a foreign language. But growing up we don't support that for young children.

[A PowerPoint slide appears titled, “Bilingualism as secondary to (re)habilitation”. Under the title, there are facts about monolingualism and bilingualism, and how these factors affect Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing children.]

Gloshanda: We compare all children, which means those who grow up knowing English only. We try to -- they're considered the norm or the standard, and we compare all other children against them. Bilingual children, their development is vastly different and do not follow the monolingual development. So most of the time our assessments show bilingual children are delayed or they need more support or they need special placement, and that's really not true, it's part of natural bilingual development because children are separating the two languages or more than two languages. Later they realize that the two languages are not equal, they're different systems.

So minorities and minoritized groups, we're judged based on not being the same as the standard. So we try to force English or we marginalize their language because we want them to meet the standard English or use of English. So it's called force minoritization. So spoken language typically does that. But it hasn't really been applied to Deaf and hard of hearing. So my research showed that Deaf and hard of hearing children should be included in this force minoritized group. I want to expand our concept of what bilingual means and what bilingualism looks like in children.

Typically people say I know two spoken languages, or I know sign and English. And that's true, that's bilingualism. But also we need to recognize that people who use different dialects are also considered bilinguals. So if you have a deaf child who signs ASL at school, but at home signs Black ASL, that child is bilingual. So if you have a Deaf and hard of hearing child who speaks English at home, signs ASL at school, they are indeed bilingual as well. But suppose that the family speaks Spanish or is a black family, and their English is different from what we consider standard English. Meaning that that child is multilingual. So it's important for us to recognize that.

At Gallaudet, previous research done in 2013, found that 50% of Deaf and hard of hearing children are people of color. 

[Slide appears titled, “DDBDDHH Students as Minoritized Bilinguals”. Under the title, there are two studies referenced with what they concluded about minoritized students, and Gloshanda’s belief that “at least 50% of our students must be educated/supported multilingually”.]

Gloshanda: Knowing that, I'm looking in this room and I'm looking for people of color. Um, I see maybe one? One? Two if I count myself. Three. Yes! [Laughter] Okay. People of color, we are automatically considered bilingual. Based on research done in the hearing community, because we don't use so-called standard English at home. We have a different dialect. We have several different dialects. It's not a specific different language, but we are considered bilinguals. 

Now, when you add, if that person signs or that person speaks another spoken language or another signed language, you become multilingual. You have to remember, you responded to the survey at the beginning of the presentation. I think it was like 49% said you've worked with bilingual or multilingual Deaf and hard of hearing children.

So now I'm curious, how many of you -- how many of those were children of color, of those who responded? One? Two? Three? Four? So maybe ten to 15 people. So if you didn't think about, oh, wait, I had a child of color in my classroom, I should consider having taught them as a multilingual learner.

So 50%, and of that 50%, 25% speak Spanish at home. So are we supporting our children of color and children who speak Spanish in the home? This is Minnesota. We always have to think about Hmong families, Somali families,- what other groups do we have? 21:20 Karen families. Ethiopian families. Are we supporting all of those students? These are important things for us to consider. That's a big number, 50%. If we're not supporting them, 50% of our students, of our student population, that is significant.

[Quote appears by Garate-Estes, Lawyer, Garcia-Fernandez, in press, “ [D/HH students of color] have multiple ties to multiple languages because they are members of many communities which allows them codeswitching skills..The little emphasis placed on multilingualism indicates that the intersection of multiple issues such as audism, racism, and linguicism… are not sufficiently acknowledged and address.”]

Gloshanda: So there's been publishings done periodically, and we will be publishing this, about spoken language, specifically Spanish. But the quote is important. So if you want to take a moment to actually read this. 

[Silence as the audience reads the quote.]

Gloshanda: So I'm not the only one saying this. Many Deaf and hard of hearing adults, professionals, teachers, that have experienced the U.S. education system, have made similar comments. There's really no difference. So that makes me think, 30, 40, 50 years, we haven't changed anything within the system. How is that possible? I think one big issue, that we have yet to address and have an open dialogue, is naming the issues out in the open. We've just gone along teaching day today saying everything will be fine. Business as usual. I'll complete the IEP. I'll meet with the parents. But we don't sit down and really analyze, think about what we're doing, think about what the students are doing, and what's best for our students, regardless of the systemic issues.

As a teacher, I saw these issues every day. But we have to see the results in the classroom. We see our children struggling to develop language or identity. We see that, but we have yet to name it. What is it that's causing it? What's behind that? So how can we have an open dialogue and name these things in the open. And it's multi-layered. It's intersectional in the classroom and at home. How can I support parents? How can I engage with the community? And how can we change for the better?

[Another QR slide appears. Then a slide with the first question the audience is being asked form the QR code. The question is, “What are your points of resistance so far?”, and under it has several options.]

Gloshanda: I really have to commend you all. I've had this conversation with other people and other audiences many times to date. And I've received interesting responses so far, but really you all here, this is the first time that I see agreement and asking how. Typically previous responses that I've received are things like, okay. That's not possible. 

Let's talk about how we can try to fit one specific box, one model. And I can't match 30 different students, I just have to pick one way as long as they can fit what we're expecting. And that's my typical response, but this is showing that Minnesota is really ahead of the game. And this also means that we are responsible for sharing this information with other people when we go and meet other professionals in other states, and help talking with our colleagues to analyze this themselves.

And now the question is how?

 I'm not going to force you to wait for the answer. There are no perfect ways. There's no perfect solutions. I don't have a simple ready answer. It is a mess and we're not just going to be able to resolve everything tomorrow for the better. It's not that simple. But with analysis, with looking at ourselves, with cooperation and collaboration, with people from other professions as well, we will be able to achieve this for the benefit of our students. 

[PowerPoint appears titled, “Translanguaging as Social Justice”. The bullets below the title explains why this is so.]

So now to the point, translanguaging is a big part of language justice, of social justice. And this is because we use language, to acquire, develop, and express ourselves. We use language to show our beliefs and is to show we're part of societal structures and part of our everyday lives in what we do in the world.

So now as a starting point, we are not all created equal. That's the starting point for us to recognize as teachers. That when students come into our classroom, they are not all the same.They're coming from different backgrounds, they have different needs. Their families have different expectations, and we need to recognize and accept that.

Now, the concept of translanguaging has only been applied in schools. We also really like to see this happening in the home because, as professionals, often we can say, “I'm only with my student during the day, for the time that I have with them to expose them to language, but then when they go home, what's happening”? That's out of our control as professionals. We try to provide support, encouragement to parents. 

And from the parents' perspective they're thinking about schools as a resource for support; But then where's the support at home for the family of how to interact with the child? What kind of language exposure they would be having, as well as the home culture? How to expose the student to the home culture? And so with these two perspectives, there is something missing, and with my research, I'm trying to create that link between the two.

[PowerPoint slide titled “Translanguaging Pedagogy in Schools”. The slide also has text bubbles with the six principles of Translanguaging pedagogy.]

Gloshanda: This is our vision for schools, meaning in our classrooms. How can we apply these six principles? We don't want our students to accept an English monolingual life only. We'd like them to have broader access and perspective with language, and to consider the whole language system for the student. And advancing social justice. How we can make sure that all students, regardless of their background, are still provided equal access?

For myself, as a teacher and fas a student, I need to become a co-learner with my students. I need to analyze what parts of their language I can support to help the students' success. 

There are three things that need to be included, design, stance, and shift.

[A slide titled, “Language Objectives” with two columns appears and under the title of each column explains the title. The first column is titled, “General Linguistic Objectives” and the other, “Language-specific Objectives”.]

Gloshanda: With design, this means that I've prepared in advance and I know how to support the student. I know how to structure my classroom and structure my home. Home is a very language-rich environment.

So, for example, today, I do homeschool my child, and soon she'll be turning four. So I understand that during cooking time, You can't believe how much language exposure and interaction we can have in this time during cooking. We could easily take 30 or 45 minutes where I would say, “Okay, now we're going to chop the onion.” “Why are we doing that,’ she asks. “I don't want the onions. I'd like another vegetable. And then I explain. “Well, then I'd say mom likes onions because of how they taste and they go well with these other vegetables.” And she would say, “No, I don't really like the way that the onions taste with the other vegetables.” And so we're using language all the time. 

But, our students don't always have that access to that kind of information. Can they identify vegetables? Different kinds of vegetables, based only on their home experiences, and not only what's taught in school about vegetables. Home is just such a natural place for interaction with the parents.

Not only picturing that there's all-day exposure but also considering all the exposure that can happen in the home. So then to design as teachers and parents, what would it be like if you were cooking lunch, and what kind of exposure could happen for the child during that time?

So we have to think about vocabulary that could happen. We have to think about our meal planning, and what language we can use to support their understanding. So these are the factors that we could consider within design as an example. 

Now, with stance, it means it doesn't matter what society would say or how my environment is structured, but we can support two languages or three languages, or even four languages.

So for example, when my daughter was born she failed the hearing screening in her right ear, I believe it was. She didn't respond to noises.I think it was at about 7 -- wasn't 'til about 7 or 8 months. And then I decided that at home it didn't matter, I was going to be exposing her to language and I needed to consider how to design that. So for example, with American Sign Language and Spanish, when she was a baby, an infant, maybe five days old, I would say to her, “I'm going to change your diaper, it's time to change your diaper.” And I would speak Spanish and I would watch for any response based on body language, her eyes, how she moved her head, her feet, and then I would adjust what I was doing. So that's part of shift.  So that moment by moment, I'm making decisions based on how she's responding. And I realize that it could be hard to shift between ASL and Spanish, and so then I would be able to modify. I would use the same thing with waking up. One day I would use one language and then the next day I would use the other language, and that seemed to work very well, until it needed to be shifted again based on her responses.

And so you as parents also have that ability. That instinct to watch your child on a day-to-day basis and to see their reactions, and see how they're responding, depending on their own character. You can go ahead and shift and match what they're needing at that moment.

So this bit about language objectives is really for the teachers in the room and these are things that could be applied in the classroom. I don't want to go on too much about this, but I do just want to say that I will stay for questions after if you're interested in knowing more. I do want to say that typically we focus on just the general linguistic objectives. Just on language itself. But, again, we have two different ways we could approach this.

Translanguaging objectives are similar. We need to intentionally plan to use these languages the child is using, both academically and in the home.

[A PowerPoint slides with the cover of book, “The Translanguaging Classroom-Leveraging Student Bilingualism for Learning” by Ofelia Garcia, Susana Ibarra Johnson, and Kate Seltzer.]

Gloshanda: For classroom teachers, this could be a good resource for you if you're interested. It was published in 2017. It has examples and templates that you can follow and apply within your classrooms. 

[A PowerPoint slide appears that says, “Translanguaging pedagogy can be implemented in-home/community settings”.]

Gloshanda: Now I'd really like to focus on the home setting. 

[A PowerPoint with a picture of Gloshanda carrying a child on her back.]

Gloshanda: This is research that I've done with my child.I spent a lot of time researching daily life experience, documenting everything. And the reason for that is I really want to prove that children with hearing loss issues can be skilled multilingual users. One of this because I've met so many people that say Deaf and hard of hearing children can't do both American Sign Language and English. They cannot have this. They will be overwhelmed, we need to have time to focus on the academic skills, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And the time for that is done. The time for that is over. So I really have been researching this. I started on day one, the day she was born. I began exposing her to language using a variety of approaches at home.

[A PowerPoint slide appears that is titled, “Data Collection.” Surrounding the title are examples of data collection.]

Gloshanda: I used observation. I videotaped. I documented. I asked friends and family members to also document what they were seeing within the interactions. 

[Another PowerPoint slide titled  “Data Analysis” and two columns. One titled “corpus analysis” and the other “thematic analysis”. Under the column titles, list examples of each title.]

Gloshanda: Corpus analysis just means the content when you're analyzing. So I had all of that, of my daughter's language data, and schools can be very similar, right? I just looked at language, that's what I focused on. About the age from zero to 2,- 2 years and 8 months, the language used was ASL, Spanish, English. We did not use English in the home.English was only out in the community. Our home environment did not use English. TV was,- close caption was not on. The reason for this, English is everywhere, right? So I used PT in the home. So I made time for other languages. PT or protactile, people are familiar with that in the room, correct? This is a mode that DeafBlind people use, it can be used in the home. It can be used with DeafBlind friends. Sierra Leon creole was used. The last one here is a dialect, it's called Geechee. 

So at two years, 8 months, I added Portuguese. So the results have been racial linguistics when you look at the thematic analysis. Raciolinguistics is when people look at a person's skin color and say, oh, they're going to speak English in a certain way. When we go out into the community, regardless of where they are,-there are diverse groups out there, and you speak, and so then people are speaking English with my child. And I really wondered why they used that kind of English, why they wouldn't use American Sign Language. Or not speak Spanish. Everyone, regardless of what base language they used, they automatically switched to English with my child. And that's a concept called raciolinguistics.

As a society, we tend to make these assumptions about children's language from a white perspective, and when children are not white, we expect them to use English regardless. Most people don't even consider, or even think a moment, about what we are doing and how we are showing our beliefs in the language that we use. 

As parents we often have to advocate in different ways for our children and to be very direct with people and say we are not using English in our home. We use only,-this is a Deaf environment, we only sign with our children or our child. And to tell people that and have people react sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. This happens a lot with hearing people. As parents, we do need to make some of these shift changes. We need to provide that support for our children. I do need to do that for my child's access. 

Privilege, access privilege,-I'm not sure what sign you're using here in Minnesota.  As a mother, I recognize I do have privilege that many other parents do not have. I am highly educated. I am employed. I have a wonderful family. A wonderful family support system. I have many friends that are also well educated. So it means that my child is benefiting from my privilege, from my, and the people that are around her in the environment. Not all families have this privilege. Which means as teachers, how do we support these families who do not have that, when we often expect the families will come in and the child will come in with those privileges? 

Children are bright. We do not need to train them. They are set to acquire language, regardless of the language that they are acquiring.They can acquire multiple languages. My daughter can speak with you. My daughter can do protactile with you. It's amazing how children are just hard-wired to make those language connections, and we are the ones who are limiting their abilities. We are the ones who's saying oh, no, no, no, we don't do that here, or oh, no, no, this is an environment where we don't speak, or oh, no, no, this is an we're not going to focus on that today. We really need to be careful on how these beliefs are impacting our child's development. 

At one time, I was a single mother when I was doing a lot of this research, which meant how I interacted with my child impacted her language. I'm going to show you an example. For example in a two-parent home, children often have more access to seeing adults talk. So they are able to see how adults have dialogue. They are able to internalize that within their language. So in my home as a single mother, the dialogue was only with my child. They really did not have the experience of seeing how adults talk. And being privileged to those types of information, and so I think that is something that was missing from my child for a while. Later on she did have more exposure to those types of dialogues, and things did improve, but it really was something for me to take a moment and think about. 

When children come to school, we typically encourage a lot of teacher-student interaction. But I think it's more critical that students have the dialogue with the teacher, yes, and the more needs the student has, the more dialogue they may need with the teacher. But it's also important for students to see how peers interact with each other. That can also impact their language development. 

I would like to show some videos that are related to my research. One of the things that was part of our home design is here. All right. Don't laugh, I am a mother and I used to teach preschool, so really, I was acting this one up for my daughter. This video where, you'll see I'll be signing good morning, it's a good morning song. And I believe that some of you went to the workshop on Wednesday morning? With the ASL music and rhythm? Yes. Okay, great. So this part shows the repetition. This is the first time that I had traveled and left my daughter with my parents for three weeks. And I believe she was two years and five months at that time.

[Video of Gloshanda signing in car plays.]

[Applause]

Gloshanda: Thank you. Thank you. Just because I wasn't physically there, I didn't want her language development to halt at that time. So I was still very intentional in working with her. I was driving. I pulled over on the side of the road and I signed this song to her and sent it to her. And I asked my parents to please show it to her every morning. So, yes, my parents are also involved in their home development, but this was part of my design for staying involved. That I had to continue exposing her to language, no matter what. 

[A page from a book for children is shown that has a drawing of a duck on it. In the corner, there is a photo of a woman.]

Gloshanda: This is a book that the Metro Deaf School previously had, I believe it was six years ago, maybe even more by now. I don't even know how long ago. Five, six years ago. Yeah. And this was started in preschool, thinking about how we could help parents sign more at home with their children, which meant that they would have access to at least two languages, ASL and English. This is one example of a book that could be done. When you selected the video then you could see the signing. 

[Another page from a different book for children is shown. There is a drawing of a child standing, smiling next to flowers. In the corner there is a photo of a woman signing.]

And this, again, is a similar concept. I would typically do this with about 80% of our books, and it does take quite a bit of time but it was absolutely worth the time. Now, another part of my design was to make sure that my child could see books that reflected her identity. And another identity that we have relating to books is showing individuals who have disabilities or who come from different family styles like ones that have two moms, families that have two dads, people that have different skin color. And so I'm intentionally exposing her to diversity in our home. 

[A PowerPoint slide appears that says, “Think of your current context…”.

Gloshanda: So now I'd like you to consider the home environment. Your current home environment. 

[A PowerPoint slide with another QR code appears.]

[A slide appears that shows the question the audience was asked. The question is, what are current barriers to implementing translanguaging pedagogy in your current context?. 

[A slide appears that shows the audience their responses.]

Gloshanda: Your responses here. I want to have an open dialogue. I know that you're texting or typing to get these answers up here, but I want to have a dialogue. So some barriers that you've mentioned here are resources, understanding, time, knowledge. Those seem to be the four biggest barriers that we've identified. Let's go ahead and discuss that. Resources. What type of resources as parents, as teachers, do you feel that we need in order to be successful with exposing Deaf and hard of hearing children to multiple languages? What kind of resources do you feel we need? Nothing? No ideas?

[Audience member (off-screen) gives Gloshanda an idea. She nods.]

Gloshanda: More interpreters. More qualified interpreters in all languages. How many of you are familiar with how to contact interpreters from other languages? How many of you have already experienced doing that? So some of you have indicated that you've done that. So for myself, I've noticed that many spoken language interpreters do not have a lot of experience working within the signing community, and they tend to be a little bit uncomfortable because they're used to spoken language interpreting. So maybe more collaboration in the interpreting field itself of spoken language and sign language interpreters that could improve the quality of interpreters. As well as helping all interpreters become more accustomed to working in a broad array of language settings.

Yes. 

[Audience (off-screen) asks a question.] 

[An interpreter on-stage signs the question.]

Gloshanda: I will respond first by saying parents with infants and young children, that diad, that partnership, there's a natural organic desire to communicate. And frequently, as parents we feel trapped. If I cannot communicate in a formal language, I should do nothing.I don't know what I should do, and I've seen that many times. I encourage parents to interact with their children. You know, you can sing songs. You can act out. You can make facial expressions. Those things are just as important. So I really encourage using your instincts, your natural instincts while you're looking for other more formal resources.

And I agree, mentoring is critical. Unfortunately, we don't have enough mentors, enough teachers, and that's really sad. However, I think because we tend to limit based on who we think are qualified mentors, we have limited ourselves. We have such a great community. The community itself should become the resource. And the more we can collaborate with parents, with the school, with the community, I feel like the burden will be less on the individual and less on each individual group. So I think that's really important. Other comments?

[Audience off-screen asks a question. The interpreter on-stage signs the question.]

Audience member:  So back to spoken language interpreters. So spoken language interpreters show up for a meeting. We can call language line, so when you're talking about -- explain this before, during a conversation, I want you to view deafness as a positive thing. I explain that before and then I go ahead and use that. Then made the call to the Language Line. So I spoke with the interpreter prior to explain my perspective. That I want,-I wanted to be used during the call. 

Gloshanda: Many teachers use that time or take that time to do that, and it's really important. Your schedules are really busy, I know that, and you're trying to get through things, but you're right. We have to slow down and say, okay, what does this interpreter need to make my interaction with the parents successful? So using that prep time to make sure that the interpreter is on the same page with you and then going ahead and placing that call. What about the knowledge piece? Sure.

[Audience (off-screen) member asks a question. The interpreter is on-screen and signs the question.]

Jamie: Hi, this is Jamie. I just wanted to say that it would be really helpful to let you all know that there are trilingual and multilingual sign language and other spoken language interpreters in the Twin Cities. They're hard to find, but they are out there. I know a person who's French and does ASL, and I know someone else who does Spanish and ASL. And they're out there. So I really think we, parents and teachers and even the interpreter community, needs to get out and do something because there seems to be a great need for that. And they're hard to find. It's mostly word of mouth, and meeting people in person, accidentally. So just giving you guys hope.

Gloshanda: Yes. Thank you. Yes. So a lot is happening out there. And right now one state, in the state of Texas, is the only state that has trilingual certification. But recently, I believe it was two months ago, it was disbanded. It was a financial issue. So there are many trilingual interpreters out there, however, there's no formal metric of their skill, and so I think you're right, Jamie. I think they're hidden. Because they're not certified as trilingual interpreters, so there's no documentation of ASL, English, Spanish, Spanish, English. Where would we document or list those trilingual interpreters? I'm in one informal group that has gone ahead and started creating a list under C5. Have you ever heard of that? Council de monos. It's a group of Deaf and hard of hearing Latinx people. It's an organization that has started to create a trilingual interpreter kind of registry, if you will, and where they're located. So thank you for sharing that. I think it's really important for parents to have access to that as well. Home language can become a barrier for that collaboration with school, and if parents feel like they have access to resources, we can support their home language better and they'll communicate more with the school. And collaboration, of course, will be the natural byproduct. Anything else?

Yes. 

[Audience member (off-screen) asks question. An interpreter on-stage signs the question.]

Audience member: The public library, they might have resources about things that my student could use. I work most with Somali students, and so they might not have access at home. So there are a lot of resources out there, but there's not enough for all of my students, so.

Gloshana: So the recent example of the books that I just showed, previously we didn't have any of that. We had, as teachers had to think about, okay, what do parents need? And we had to make time to develop those resources. School staff, how do we divide our time to develop those resources? And make it continuous so that other people continue to have resources and we uploaded them to a Google Drive that parents had access to. Sometimes we have to become the resource ourselves. And it's hard, ugh. And you have a feeling of why? You're already overwhelmed. Parents are already overwhelmed but as a team we must be ready, what if we already had teams ready to do this work? What if we had a parent group in collaboration with a teacher group? And monthly could focus on resource development. I don't know, it's just an idea. 

Audience member(off-screen): I think sometimes we need to think outside of the box. I think we need to about our Somali families. Where are they getting their culture? They're Muslim. They need to connect with their Muslim identity, and so what is going on there? I think we need to think outside of the box. Saying, oh, we can't be involved because that is a religious entity, but that is part of their culture. We can't have that separation. So I think that we need to find really more, being more open-minded and find more of those resources.

Gloshanda: I couldn't agree more. Yes. That is part of language justice. We cannot separate language from a child's identity development. If we try, then we will marginalize a majority of those children. And it will impact the student success. So I have seen it many times where we try to avoid religion or entering the mosque. You know, sorry, I don't know this, this isn't part of my identity. So this is a big resource, the community is ready and willing to support. Parents are ready and willing to support. Anything else?

[ A slide with responses from the audience for the question, “What tools/supports would you need to be successful?”.]

Gloshanda: Can we have a microphone over here?

[Audience member is given a microphone.]

Jamie: This is Jamie again. And another barrier I feel is,- I'm DeafBlind, and so many people are afraid of touching things and looking like a fool as they wander the building and to feel around. And really a barrier is other people's attitudes. And it needs to be a little bit culture difference, so touching is not bad.  You never know when your child will become DeafBlind later or meet another,-a person who's DeafBlind. So you never know. And not all DeafBlind children touch things either, some DeafBlind people rely on their limited vision. So, or their hearing. So just to let you know there's a diversity in the DeafBlind community too. But, yes, touch is like -- the phobia of touch is huge.

Gloshanda: Yes! You're absolutely right, and that goes back to the brief discussion about distantism. That is exactly what it means, what you just described. We avoid and we train our children to avoid touch. 

So we have DeafBlind students who come into the classroom, and typically they are separated physically, even though they're in the same classroom. Their expression is limited to their intervener, and that's all communication access must go through the intervener only. And we don't support the other students to learn DeafBlind communication. We don't support those other students to have direct communication with the DeafBlind peer. So I totally agree with you. 

Any other thoughts or comments?

Well, I want you to be open to a discussion. Sometimes when we're feeling, I don't know, anxious or nervous about trying not to do the wrong thing or we don't want to offend people and we hold in what we're feeling. And the goal is really to improve for the benefit of our students. 

[A slide appears titled, “Questions” with a QR code.]

Gloshanda: So are there any questions that you have? You can take a picture, and I'll read them later, or you can just say them out in the open. Okay. I was just informed that we're finishing the session at 10:00, and I thought we were finishing at 10:30. So if you want to go ahead and text in those questions, I can respond or you can come up to me personally and we can discuss. We can disagree. We can have a dialogue. Please, if you want to discuss anything as a parent or as a professional, I'm more than happy to do this. Thank you so much for your time. 

back to top