Transformational Approach to Infusing American Sign Language and Deaf Perspectives in Humanities Education

By Rebecca Dadey.

Published by The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 14, 2014 $US5.00

Society’s views largely impact the Deaf population’s ability to thrive. The traditional “disability model” imparts a negative, individualistic view of a medical impairment needing remediation, while the more current “culturo-linguistic model” fosters a positive, collective view of a whole person with a rich language and culture. American Sign Language (ASL), identified by linguists as a true natural language distinct from spoken English, is the heart of American Deaf culture. Society benefits from education and increased cultural understanding between non-Deaf professionals and the Deaf community. This paper provides a rationale and a model for infusing study of ASL and Deaf cultural perspectives following the culturo-linguistic model across all disciplines in higher education Humanities programs. This model prepares students as future professionals and prepares current working professionals to embrace Deaf perspectives, to better communicate with the Deaf community, and to provide a higher quality of service. Key features of a successful American Sign Language program in the humanities include a practical application and approach to teaching ASL and Deaf culture, authority figures as educators, a student-centered environment, direct connections to the local Deaf community, and collaboration across disciplines.

Keywords: Deaf Cultural Studies, Language Learning, Critical Interdisciplinary Discourse

The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies, Volume 11, Issue 2, March 2014, pp.41-51. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 14, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 411.160KB)).

Rebecca Dadey

Assistant Professor of American Sign Language, Modern Languages Department, Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, NY, USA

Before becoming an assistant professor at Onondaga Community College (OCC), Ms. Dadey earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Virginia and an M.S. in deaf education from McDaniel College. She holds a New York State Professional Certification in deaf education, and is a member in good standing of the National Association of the Deaf and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. She has over ten years of experience teaching in the classroom at all levels from K-12 through postsecondary. Currently, Ms. Dadey teaches American Sign Language (ASL) Levels I-IV and several deaf culture studies courses at OCC. Additionally, she works as a deaf interpreter in the local community.