Saturday, May 12, 2007

WHAT KIND of Deaf Ed Teacher Prep Program is THAT?

Barb DiGi gets so upset and angry about this so-called deaf education program in University of Southern Mississippi (USM) that she identifies as one of the problematic teacher preparatory programs. The department in USM is called Hearing and Speech Science and the course syllabi include a very few ASL courses (none related to deaf culture and bilingual instruction) but plenty of clinically-related courses in deaf education. This program reflects audism! Scary? There's more! quicktime YouTube

Barb will demonstrate a video clip from USM as a way to recruit prospective teachers of the deaf and courses offered in the course syllabi/outline. That video did not even include captions! Can't you believe this? In the field of deaf education, it is leaving prospective deaf applicants out which means it calls for discrimination. I am so appalled seeing this practice of audism happening today in deaf ed programs! What's more, this program only offers 3 ASL courses and 47 courses relating to aural and oral training! What does that tell you about this program?

There is a newspaper article talking about this star student, Zachary Breland, who has been claimed by a hearing chair of Department of Speech and Hearing Science that he mastered ASL naturally. In rare occassions, it can be true that only a FEW hearing individuals are able to master ASL quickly because they have this ability to hold visual memory. However, the real issue here is that how can a chair from the Department of Speech and Hearing make this claim when ASL is not even his native and/or natural language? What's more, there is no evidence about having the deaf professionals teaching these courses so it is all operated by hearing people.

What bothers me so much is about Breland's statement found in the newspaper article below.

He said “After that, revolutionize the field of deaf education,” Breland added.

“Maybe later on I will mix the two fields and work with new technological devices for the deaf,” Breland said. “You never know. ...”

I feel like he carries this paternalistic view that he can "revolutionize the field of deaf education" while he barely has the training and background in bilingual education and deaf culture as evident by the lack of such courses listed in the course syllabi. This is in my opinion like he is acting an example of Charles Darwinism theory that he has to take care of the problems for little people by carrying an egocentric view like he has the control and the power!

Southern Miss Student Finds His Niche in Deaf Education (with photo)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Contact Jeannie Peng - 601.266.5568

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Twenty-two-year-old Zachary Breland of Petal enrolled at Southern Miss with dreams of earning a radio, television and film degree. Instead, his exceptional talents gave his goals a 180-degree turn toward deaf education.

“My entire life has changed,” Breland said. “Not only did I change my minor--from marketing to deaf education--so that I could learn more about deafness, but I changed my life and career goals.”

Breland, a graduating senior, found something many university students hope to find as they work toward their degrees – their true talents.

His first encounter with university-level sign language occurred when he decided to take a class for fun in substitution for a verbal foreign language. He signed up in spring 2005 for American Sign Language 1 under the direction of Dr. Gerald Buisson, assistant professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences in the College of Health.

Buisson said he quickly noticed something different about his new student and encouraged Breland to pursue his newfound talent even more. Breland decided to get his minor in deaf education.

“He’s got, somehow, the visual memory to hold the information in his long-term memory,” Buisson said. “He’s got it – he understands.”

The Mississippi Quality Assurance Screening test confirmed just that when Breland scored a two. It is not uncommon for first-time test takers to receive between a zero and one, Buisson said. The highest score is a three.

“There are a lot of people who did not pass the Quality Assurance Evaluation, or did not score very high, yet Zach did,” Buisson said.

Breland said the test was an “intense experience.”

“I had only finished American Sign Language 3 four months before, and it seemed completely crazy that I was now preparing to take the state test to get my interpreter license,” Breland said. “However, everything worked out well.”

Brett Kemker, Department of Speech and Hearing chair, said Breland has found his talent.

“He’s a natural,” Kemker said. “He’s just found his niche. We’re celebrating him.”

Buisson said Breland can go on to accomplish a number of things with his ASL interpreting ability. He is already the president of A Show of Hands sign language club at Southern Miss and a member of the Mississippi Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. But he’s not stopping there.

He recently accepted an interpreter position at Moselle Elementary School, and eventually, this star student wants to attend Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., a university for the deaf or hard of hearing, to obtain a master’s degree and then perhaps a doctoral degree.

“After that, revolutionize the field of deaf education,” Breland added.

And what about that radio, television and film degree? Breland said he’ll find someway to put it to good use.

“Maybe later on I will mix the two fields and work with new technological devices for the deaf,” Breland said. “You never know. ...”

Southern Mississippi deaf education program was founded by Dr. Etoile DuBard in 1966 and is accredited at state and national levels.

Links to deaf ed program

Links to Mission statement

Links to video clip

Feel free to send a letter of your opinions about deaf education program to Dr. Henry Teller ( Thank you!


Susan said...

It happens in Aussie too.

When I was studying to become teacher of the deaf in Griffith Uni (in Qld), they have speech and audiology subjects that one *must* pass, and even a signed english subject that also *must* be passed before one can become a teacher of the deaf...

When I was at prac, I was working with a deaf child who struggled to understand signed english, so I switched to Auslan, one of the teachers saw me and "blasted" me for using Auslan, even though the child finally understood.

We have a serious case of audism among teachers of the deaf, especially in the Queensland state. We had to be fluent in signed english or we'd fail the whole lot. No mention of Auslan.

Sigh! We need Deaf lecturers in Universities, that's the only way aspiring teachers of the deaf (hearing and deaf) are exposed to ASL (& Auslan).

Liked your special effects by the way! :)

Anonymous said...

tooo many programs like that in america

not sure how we can fight them all..

certification or recognition by NAD and /or CEAD may be a good first step?

Anonymous said...

Zachary Breland goes to Gallaudet and comes back with changed attitude and revolutionize his alma mater Deaf education program! It is not fantasy but it could be a reality check for him. Let’s send him “The Secret” vibes. ;-)

michele said...

Zachary will be in for a big shock when he enters Gallaudet. Too many people come in, thinking that they are there to "help" deaf people and then they realize that they are in the wrong field. We need to change this kind of attitude.

Dianrez said...

Seems you've turned up a true dinosaur...a program that teaches professionals to work with deaf people but has no deaf professors, a weak ASL program, and one that teaches audism and promotes the medical model.

Still, one has to love kids like Zachary. He's young, a hotshot with his visual memory talent, and is out to ace Gallaudet and make grand improvements in the deaf community. He'll learn, oh my.

It's up to us, we deaf people, to take him by the hand and show him the right way.

FRED said...

I can understand your consideration and being upset.

I teach at a university whereas, they had a pretty strong "communications disorder" program as the Univ says; having a long list of requirements, but only take (a few) ASL as an alternative to language requirement. What bothers me, this program especially in the audiology department is closing, and one of the chair is beginning to teach ASL 1 this fall, hey! That individual (who owns an audiology/testing station outside of the Univ) does not have any experience with culture, etc, etc...
To me this S U C K S!
I love teaching, and have taught nearly 38 (part time years) in ASL... nothing is new, my head hurts from banging on those brick walls! I wish you all the best and strength knocking down those stupidity; of people quite ignorant with PHD degrees taking over, eh? (not to mention a few GOOD PHD-ers)

I will continue to read(see) your messages periodically.

I will help anyway I can ...

Anonymous said...

I think Toby Welch is in the ASL/linguistic class at Lamar University.

Toby -- Could you please find out the information where Lamar University in Texas provides the ASL/linguistic program in the Graduate school.

What about the California State University at Northridge (CSUN) and Rochester Institute of Technology?

White Ghost

Deaf Philosophy said...

Don't you find it ironic and refreshing at the same time that this "kid" know if he wants to revolutionize the field of Deaf Education, he still has to go through Gallaudet.

What does it mean to revolutionize Deaf education anyways?

Just because someone can master ASL quickly doesn't automatically make a person an expert in all things Deaf related. I'm sure this kid has potential but it is not wise to alienate all other people who are in Deaf education.

It is very disturbing that someone is an interpreter for a child's school setting without having any experience, since he just passed the test. That's a huge red flag right there. Maybe someone should inquire Moselle elementary school and see why this guy is qualified to interpret in school settings when he just got out of college, and does he have enough experience? I know people have to start first somewhere, but a child's education is way too valuable to be comromised.

Everyone should have alarms going off in their heads right now. I personally hope the child had the chance to meet several interpreters and decide which one they understood the best as opposed to just hiring any interpreter and throw her/him in the classroom. What if the child doesn't understand the interpreter? That wouldn't be considered accomodation.

Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention.

Darryl Hackett said...


I find the Deaf Education Teacher Prep Program at USM so appalling and almost fully audism-driven.

Even the syllabi in that program did not mention Deaf Culture courses.

Your blog gave me an opportunity to look at Deaf Education Teacher Prep programs that the unviersities in Canada offer in details.

Excellent work, Barb! *Waves hands in air*

mule4350 said...

Well What are NAD doing about it and USA GOVERNEMT suppose to have ADA Laws for any ASL course over the USA and IT sound no excuse in few states and They are independent state as it cause a big deal!

Anonymous said...

You have to realize that technologies have changed since 1960's. Plus Deaf population have decreased dramatically since 1970's ( you know German Measles Breakout during the 60's). I know it would be nice if they include Deaf History/Culture in their syallbi. Remember we live in a free country. They can do whatever they think it is best for them.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so I went to the website and found an email address and was going to immediately send this link to them with a transcript, but then I decided that that is YOUR decision, not mine. Regardless, I'm going to type up a transcript and leave it in this comment box. Maybe you want to post it so that hearing parents and students are able to understand you. PLEASE make corrections, I've only had up through ASL 4 myself.


I was reading about Deaf Education programs throughout the United States when one in particular caught my eye - the University of Southern Mississippi.

I cannot believe what I read.

I came across a newspaper article about a so-called "Star Student," who was able to quickly pick up ASL and sign with fluency. It lauded his expertise at taking the [state interpreter's] test and passing due to his exceptional visual memory.

Some struggle, I know that, so here's a picture of him, congratulations. [shows picture]

Did you know that he plans to attend Gallaudet University for a master's degree? He will study there in order to "Revolutionize Deaf Education Programs."

For him, so akward and innocent, to take on the task of "revolutionizing" is really copying Charles Darwinism theory. "I want to take care of the little people." It is very arrogant and off-putting. I don't like that attitude, I'm sorry.

Now let's analyze what the USM course syllabi looks like!

The name of the department is "Hearing and Speech" [shows picture of website - "Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences"]

The University of Southern Mississippi has these courses required in their program syllabi: [pans across class requirements].

There are only three ASL courses taught.

Audiology and Speech altogether have 47. [Shows highlighted printout of courses]

See? The green is ASL and all of this orange stands for the speech and audiology classes. Communication Disorders, Psychology, Audiology I, Language Disorders I & II, Clinical Audiology, Mechanics of Speech Disorders, it's staggering. For Speech Pathology majors, I understand, but this program is for teacher preparation!

It means they'll get their degree and teach deaf children! That scares me. I mean, who's going to be a really skilled signer? Not even ONE course (and really there should be way more than one) about Bi-Lingualism, how to code switch [between ASL and English]! Nothing! They're very behind. It's a serious issue.

Are the teachers going to have a deep understanding of Deaf Culture? I don't see any courses connected to Deaf culture, not even in the masters courses, nothing! It's all about clinical, clinical, clinical. We have to take a hard look at why the state would approve this as part of the CED. That's wrong. [Shows picture of school website].

It's funny this promotional material says that when you enter the program there is a lot of discussion abotu ASL, but there are only three courses! It's a JOKE, plus who teaches ASL? [Shows school website]

They are behind because they need to get teachers who have a background and in-depth understanding of ASL and Deaf culture. Instead they focus on speaking and oralism. There are too many of these courses. How can they really be prepared to understand about deaf children? I wonder.

What's more, when I clicked on the link to show me the video clip for people who are curious about their program [shows clip]. That link, see the list, really it has a voice-over! I felt the vibrations. What does it say? I don't know. The voiceover speaks while you read. Is that equal access for future deaf teachers who may enter the University of Southern Mississippi?! No! That is discrimination! It's wrong.

That is audism, looking down on deaf, instead "We need hearing teachers who will help revolutionize..." How arrogant! I'm really disgusted and angry at that kind of program, and there are more of them around, I'm sure. We need to write letters and send them out, have links ready too. I'm disgusted, this is so wrong. We have to carefully monitor these things, and add more ASL courses, add Bi-Lingualism, add Deaf culture! Everything connected to deafness in the core. Instead the focus is on the clinical model, perscriptions, audiology, speech, Cochlear Implants, technology, assistive listening devices. We need to set that aside and have more balance. This is a serious problem. We need your help. Thank you.


Sorry it's so long, and probably wrong in a lot of places.

-- Kate

Barb DiGi said...


You have to realize that we can do whatever we think it is the best for the deaf children. It is our world and our business because deaf children are the future. That is why I am calling each of you to help out sending letters to emphasize more on Deaf studies in the cirricula.

This is something that organizations such as NAD, CESAD, CAID can work together to inprove all deaf education programs.

All I am asking is that we, as concerned citizens, contact them to push for making a standarized requirement to include these aspects in deaf ed. programs.

Anonymous said...

Barba DiGi Said:

All I am asking is that we, as concerned citizens, contact them to push for making a standarized requirement to include these aspects in deaf ed. programs.

4:03 PM, May 12, 2007

Oh please!!! standarized requirement to include these aspects in deaf ed. programs??? Most college WON'T listen it to you. Good Luck on that...

Barb DiGi said...

You are right..It won't work if it is just ONLY me.

That is the point since what it matters is for people who gain awareness of these underlying issues can get to do something by taking the time to convey their messages to such organizations as mentioned previously.

You cannot underestimate the power of vlogging so all you got to do is to try. It is just too bad that you are being so skeptical about it. Maybe I am being a bit optimistic but just don't try to dampen the spirit.

I am defintely going to share this video clip to these organizations and there has to be a way to develop standarized curricula where all future teachers of the deaf graduate with in depth knowledge about deaf culture, ASL and bilingual instructions.

Oh, another thing is that don't you agree that there should be more courses offered relating to deaf studies? If you do, then join the cause than bickering at me.

Jessica said...

That is one reason why we should choose carefully what kind of program we get our Deaf education degrees from. I don't think that just getting a Deaf education degree is enough. The program where one got the degree from should be looked at.

You don't want a teacher trained in the clinical approach to work in a bilingual program. That teacher would have very little knowledge of the research base provided through a bilingual teacher training program such as methods, the ASL language, culture, etc.

ccm14er said...

YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, just in Gold Pot end of Rainbow. Exactly, that is exactly "skewed" example from the people who LOOK at Deaf people like SECOND CLASS people. That's awful ... Dont let it spin out of control into space ... if Hearing people *audism culture* into thinking of Deaf people has "mountain of mental overcomes and struggles etc" ... that would make spread out to HEARING PEOPLE who in fact maybe dont want to hire deaf people at all ... only for Walmart, Mc Donald, etc -- THAT S DAMN NO WAY.


Keep up -- bang on table -- GO ASL and GO DEAF WAY, Charles

Cy said...

Do research to find which teacher prep program is similar to that at UVM and spread the word...we may succeed in reaching these who are considering enrolling in teacher prep not to enroll at these programs. These clinical based teacher prep programs would be bound to shut down due to lack of enrollment. Much easier a task than taking them by the horns.

Anonymous said...

I don't know which programming mindset is more wicked USM's or that of your stupid ex-husband. Hope its working out with that one who's sending you flowers. Sorry, I couldn't resist =)

Anonymous said...

What about Bi-Bi Movement Now!?

Barb DiGi said...

Thank you for your suggestions everyone!

Cy, your idea is really a good one but the challenging part is how to get this message across to prospective teachers of the deaf who are looking at programs to enroll after hs graduation? For teachers teaching ASL in high school can cover this topic to make students aware of the options.

Anon..about the Bi Bi have no idea what struggles I have gone through lately so allow me to share..

First of all, I have been working on implementing Bi-Bi LOCALLY that applies to the concept: THINK GLOBALLY but ACT LOCALLY. Imagine there are people like me doing this in their local schools setting up Bi-Bi programs. The more schools participate Bi-Bi programs under CAEBER program offered at Gallaudet, the more recognization to this Bi-Bi approach will occur. It will be most likely that the research data will be developed in these schools and once proven effectively, it will draw the legislators to support this movement.

Secondly, I have been talking with several people through e-mails about arranging a of the drawback that I already mentioned is that we need to have strong research back up to prove that this method is effective. The other drawback is that there are so many deaf and hard of hearing children receiving cochlear implants driving the professionals to focus on audiology and speech. It is like fighting against a tsumani.

However, please realize that this is a long term plan. We need data to back up and support from most schools for the deaf. There is no way I can fight alone but I can lead this cause along with the other leaders. Anyone who is interested to make plans on Bi-Bi movement, please e-mail me.

Jessica said...

Cy, yes, that is a good idea. Educate people about the different kinds of teacher training programs there are. On, there are different programs like comprehensive, total communication, oral, bilingualism. I was surprised to find that University of Hawaii had bilingual program. I have family there and that university was one of my choices for grad school.

Barb, I found some information on bilingualism in some books I checked out for my research paper. I don't have on me right now but can send some info to you later.

Anonymous said...

You must have evidence to support your statement/claim. I know most ASL teachers teaches basic deaf culture/history briefly throughout ASL classes.

Anonymous said...

Hey anon are not paying attention to the title so read again.

It talks about preparing students to become teachers of the deaf and their teachers are not ASL teachers as they are more of professors who hold PhD in education.

Where were you when viewing Barb DiGi's video? By the way, can't you see in her video and links that she has provided plenty of evidence that deaf studies are lacking in deaf education programs?

You obviously misunderstood her message so go back to view it again with more attention.

About Bi-Bi, there are more research needed to back up the claim that can be justified to make it mandatory for all deaf children. Got it?

Anonymous said...

I think the best approach is to found a new organization that is similar to RID. The organization should have a goal to raise the standard for deaf educator program and develop national certifications for deaf educators even after they receive their degree in their graduate studies in deaf education just like the graduate of ITP has to go through the system if they want to be recognized.

Number #2: It is scary whether it is related to recent controversial about SLCC. Gallaudet can reject students without sufficient background in deaf culture, ASL, and etc for those who want to apply for graduate studies.

These two ideas will give prospective students to think twice before they choose which college or university carefully and ensure they will still be getting national certified in deaf education.

Once we have a very strong organization, having passing the law in the legislation will be become more simplify. Without it, How?????

Anonymous said...


Thanks for bringing this subject up. I agree with you that it is very important issue that we need to address. I am going to mention this matter with CAID Board members at the CAID conferene in Reno next month.

CAID Board member

drmzz said...

Yep, typical crazy. More pathological than socio-cultural and linguistic.

C said...

Barb, I agree with your views here. There needs to be some sort of oversight.

Bi bi is good for deaf kids but, what about HOH kids? don't forget them. Bi Bi might not be what HOH kids need.

Karen Mayes said...

Hi, yes, c, Bi Bi includes oracy... CAEBER is not forgetting HOH kids or any deaf kids who like to talk and listen. Even to this day, there is some disagreement over how oracy should be practiced to meet some certain deaf children's needs, other than just speech therapy.

Anonymous said...

C and Karen, there are numerous mainstream schools can meet your hoh child's oracy needs. The same schools that does not usually promote ASL either so why should Bi-Bi programs do the same for oracy? Double standards.

Richard Williams said...

I think you ought to check University of Northern Colorado too. UNC is very similar to University of Southern Mississippi in related to deaf education program. UNC deaf ed professors really focus on speech and strongly believe that deaf students can learn speech to be like a hearing people or close to being a hearing person. They strongly emphasize and focus on hearing and speech, almost none on deaf culture and ASL courses and bilingual instruction. My wife was fed up and left UNC because the professors there were not very flexible and very narrowed one side minded! I will forward your link to my wife for her to read. She will be happy that she is not alone in this horrible situation. UNC must close their clinically-related courses in deaf education immediately and change to proper deaf education that includes more ASL courses, deaf cultures, deaf history, and bilingual, etc... No more intense focus on Hearing and Speech and Phoentic and oral courses!!!

Anonymous said...

Mark M.

Thank Barb bring up this issues. I had been studies about eudcation too. frist of all that I grew up in Phx Day School for the Deaf. there is very strong sim communcation it from speical eudcation. all those teacher signing in english. some of them couldnt sign! one of classroom hire interputer for teacher in Deaf School!! Anyway I rode bus everday and I have notice big sign front of build said PHX DAY SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF. it bother me that langauge for that. what kind tell us is that language? so when I get older and graduted. moved to Tenn. for go to Tenn. Temple Unversity. and I start work for Orange Grove Central. it is for Mental Retard programs. have speical eudcation and group homes. and I find out that OGC student who is high level almost equal as funcation what is independ. he spoke out that don't like that sign "Orange Grove Central for the Mental Retard". so that board committe respect student who speak up for remove the sign said for the mental retard. only said OGC. that it. WOW student speak up ask for remove the sign! and board committe did listen! how about Deaf and Blind has been sign said school for the Deaf or Blind still in American! it is very clearly that tell us it for speical eudcation for Deaf or Blind. so what is speical?? why not put up the sign with big hand or arm signing or letter put up front. so ppls pass by to see that and will ask what that mean? so they will learn from Deaf world tough. for the Deaf or Blind it mean that hearing ppls teach Deaf or Blind what is the world is. So I ask you do you believe that Deaf adults can teach or empowerment to Deaf childern without hearing world? that what I am talk about why word in english "for the Deaf or Blind" what is that kind of tell us.? it mean go to unversity to studies for Deaf or Blind to teach them how to live this world. so therefore it is not require fluent ASL but it require skill for the audiology and speical eudcation. after get degree from unversity. then get job in for the Deaf or Blind. to teach them it is medical views! it isn't teach them what is Deaf Culture. cuz how many perect teacher is hearing? where is Deaf teacher. I had two or three Deaf teacher but they follow speical eudcation and they sign with speak same time it sound awful! never hire Deaf teacher who is pure Deaf Culture! you will see PHX. DAY SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF what their believe to teach at school. you will see said that {speech,auditory training, speech reading, augmentative commucation, public speaking, reading intervention, pragmatics, and communicative competence) and then next chaper said school supports philosophy acquistion development of two languages asl and english. it mean speaking and sign same time it is simm communcation. I dont see any comment said about what is Deaf Culture. cuz they don't what is Deaf Culture. I believe that all over school for the Deaf doesnt know what is Deaf Culture. so if put up sign front school with sign simple that will effect them ppls will learn what is Deaf Culture. no more speical eudcation for Deaf community! only for ppls who need supports for their language or living. Deaf doesnt need speical eucations. cause they can learn how to support by asl and can living! so I want you speak up what is that tell us " School for the Deaf" what is tell us is that?

Deaf Devil Advocate,
Mark M.

Anonymous said...

I think you people are misinformed here! You really need to not JUMP to conclusions! First of all, let me say FROM EXPERIENCE, USM has a VERY wonderful Deaf Education program. I am a product of this program and have had nothing but GREAT success for myself and my students. Yes, we have three ASL courses BUT until YOU sit in on them DO NOT SAY they are not preparing us. You don't get to see all of the opportunities our teachers give us. I have MANY deaf friends that have helped me tremendously with my ASL and preparing me.I have met these people through functions that my sign instructors inform us about and attend with us. He tells us ALL OF THE TIME, "You cannot learn this language by sitting in my classroom and being in your comfort zone" He never claims to teach us everything. He wants us to go out there and experience the language. He wants us to USE the language. As with any language you can sit through 10 courses and not know ONE thing until you are actually submergend IN the language.We study all about Deaf culture. The syllabus is the TIP of the class. It is immpossible to write in a syllabus all that we learn and experience. It was a trip to Mississippi School for The Deaf that changed my mind on the path I would take as an educator. In fact it was a trip that we took in sign 1!!!! I learned more that day than I have in my entire career as a college student. Did you see that in the syllabus? NO you did not. You are reading a piece of paper that cannot even begin to explain where these courses will take you!!! You can also be a great signer and a horrible teacher! Until you are in a situation you have NO idea what you can do. As for Zach I know him personally! HE has the BIGGEST gift as far as signing and teaching. He goes ABOVE and beyond his calling as an interpreter! He cares for the students! He makes sure they understand. Some interpreters (I KNOW SOME) could care less if the student gets a concept they are there to SIGN to the studetns. Forget about REEXPLANING. Zach has spent countless hours asking ME for help in explaining something to a child. He is a wonderful teacher.He has so much heart for teaching. He enjoys it. His signing skills are icing on the cake for these lucky children! And as far as USM's Deaf ed program goes I challenge any of you to COME down here and sit in some of these classes we take. I was in Elem Ed before I switched and I can tell you now I am a better teacher today for having these courses. I still have the support of my instructors. They have become more to me than just teachers! I can call any of them if I need help with anything today and they would be there helping me! Not many people can say that!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes I forgot to metion... We are certified by CED. You say you have a problem with that??? They came and spent days interviewing students and former students. I was one of them. They taked to professors. They SAW the wonderful program we have. WITH THIER OWN EYES. They did not read a syllabus and jump to conclusions. SO why don't you come down here and see what they saw instead of fussing about our program. Maybe you will change your mind!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Ok, I just keep seeing things I need to comment on. Another thing, USM does NOT focus on Speech..I remember taking ONE course on Oral methods.. We are told ALL THE TIME that not all Deaf children can learn that way. Let's be honest with ourselves here it is not the university that is pushing that anyway. It is parents. I am not going to mention names but some oral schools are ANTI sign and they push that on parents. That is why Deaf Educators today have to know BOTH.. oral and Sign. We have to be total communicators. That is USM's main focus!!!! One method does not work for every child and they know that!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am a Deaf Education Teacher that graduated from USM last year. I have a couple of questions for you. Are you Deaf? Are you a Deaf Educator?? I see that you have two deaf children from your profile. I am curious to know where your expertise comes from in ripping apart a University's program. Yes, you are supposed to be an advocate for your children. I just don't understand how you can read a syllabi and jump to your conclusions on what we are taught and that our professors are not qualified. You should be happy that there are students like Zachary Breland. How can you say he is arrogant? He wants to revolutionize the Deaf ed programs..He does not want to revolutionize Deaf people. He wants to change the way some things are taught! He reads these things so ask him yourself!!! Why don't you ASK him what he means by that before you rip him to shreds!! You want enthusiastic people going into these programs. Do not tear down the good ones. You do not know him personally. IF I had deaf children I would look for those qualities that he possesses. I have had NOTHING but positive feedback from my parents, administration, and children. One parent asked our administrator "What program I cam from". She was VERY impressed with my qualities and knowledge. I would love to invite you down to Southern Mississippi to experience the program for yourself. I promise you will change your opinion about it. You cannot read a syllabus and know what a class teaches. Yes, we have classes on Audiology and Speech. WHo do most of the parents come to when they need to know something US!! The Deaf educators. We need to be informed about many things. Not JUST ASL. Apparently you have not really read into our program. Let's see... We have a class that teaches ALL about the different communication modes, (ASL, pigeon Sign, signed English, total communication, oral, Association method... ETC) You must have over looked that one. Oh yea, you must have overlooked Special problems classes... They are academic signing and we have a sign lang class on classifiers too! We are taught ALL about Deaf Culture!! Believe me! That is taught to us from the second we step foot into Sign one! We don't just SIT in our little ASL class and watch our teacher sign We go to Deaf picnics and Deaf centers. I have been to Deaf Easter Egg hunts, Dear Mardi Gras parties, Deaf Movie nights, Ummm... that was not in the syllabus but maybe we should put it. We are VERY qualified to teach Deaf children. We have more than just teacher prep classes we dig deeper than that. I have had a very successful career as a teacher. My parents love me and it is not because they are not knowlegable! I have one parent who knows ALL HER RIGHTS and can put anyone to shame in knowing what her child has a right to do and not to do. She knows what qualities a teacher should posses. Anyway, I just wanted to inform you a little since all you have is the USM syllabus and website to go by!!! DO NOT JUDGE A BOOK BY IT'S COVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh yea, the 47 classes on Speech and Audiology are combined for the entire SPEECH AND LANG dept!! Not ALL DEAF ED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Look Again!
Thank you so much for your time!

Barb DiGi said...

To Anon,

I am just gathering from what I have seen in the course syllabi and it doesn't strike to me a wonderful deaf education program at the first place. Please allow me to tell you why.

It is not only about having a lack of ASL courses but it is about not providing sufficient courses relating to pedgogy, bilingual/bicultural, deaf perspective, deaf heritage, deaf cultural studies, etc. I would suggest you to contact NTID (MSSE),Gallaudet and McDaniel for model courses that are not offered in USM.

It is my interpretation on how not only I, but many others, see it when being introduced USM. From where you come from, you obviously have an entirely different view. If what you said is absolutely true then I will be happy.

However you need to realize that the image of the USM by observing on the webpage, including the video, is not attractive at all especially for prospective deaf teachers. First of all, the video is not even accessible! It is audio based that consists of words where we the deaf miss out that part. How could you explain that? I would suggest you to ask the designer why. This is an example of audism to deaf people. This is not sensitive at all for future DEAF educators!

Secondly, the list of the course syllabi is bombarded with clinical-related courses. If you don't find this true then I would suggest you to go back to your alma mater and make this change with the designer of the program.

I am really glad that you have wonderful deaf friends around you and that is the best way to pick up ASL. I couldn't disagree with you more about that. Still, there should be official courses to allow students to READ about deaf studies. I am talking about academic education rather than just social education. Of course it is always much more impacting to learn about a culture when you are immersed in the environment just like you would when studying Japanese culture including their language.

I am not discussing about those who are not great signers ending up as horrible teachers. This is not my platform anyway.

As for Zach, I had praised him for his skills in my vlog. It sounds like he is a caring person from the way you have described him. I have nothing against him as a person anyway but it is just that his statement on, "I will revolutionize deaf education" is viewed a bit arrogant. It is like for a white person saying I will revolutionize black education. He needs to be aware about the sensitivity about deaf people who view it at that way and realizes that this quote in media source is giving off Darwinism effect.

I am questioning the CED for giving out certifications to such programs like USM. One of the criteria for giving out a certificate should be based on offering deaf studies courses. The title of the department, Hearing and Speech Science Center, has to change. More courses on pedgogy and deaf studies are needed to add.

I am an experienced deaf teacher knowing all tricks and trade in the deaf education industry. I had seen a change in my former deaf education program and they focused a lot more on deaf studies related courses. I just don't feel that USM is meeting this kind of expectation.

Yes, not all deaf children learn or need in the same way but it has become frequently, if you take a look around in and in some books, that most of the oralists grew up regretting not knowing ASL. Also grew up not knowing their deaf heritage. For hearing educators teaching the deaf, it doesn't require much time to learn about oralism as opposed to learning ASL. The course syllabi is just way out of proportion as I just called for a balance in providing more deaf studies course instruction for teachers preparing their deaf education degree.

Historically, deaf people have been oppressed and banned from using ASL. Parents have been obsessed to gear for oralism because we are not doing a good job explaining about the benefits of ASL and bilingual instruction and that not many teachers of the deaf understand or have been trained to approach to parents like that. It bugs me that teachers who graduate from such programs are not able to justify or exhibit the benefits in maintaining the bilingual approach just because they have not taken thorough studies about this area.

Barb DiGi said...

This is to respond to Anon 10:25..

Don't tell me how to be an advocate for my deaf children. You just leave my children out of this and I don't accept your attack.

You had identified yourself and others as deaf educators but you haven't told me if you or they are deaf. If you are referring to teachers teaching the deaf then it is TOD not deaf educators. I am deaf by the way.

I have already read the course syllabi and description saying that there are different communication modes. That's the problem. They are not considered languages like ASL and why are TODs continuing using artificial languages? Teachers are the models and it is up to them to select how they are capable to master deaf children's languages, in ASL and English.

Meanwhile, I am really glad that you mentioned that you have been involved in deaf activities. I am not saying teachers who graduate from USM are not qualified. I am just focusing on what is needed to improve, can't I?

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Of course you are MORE than welcome to focus on what needs to be improved. You have that right! BUT, just don't talk about people being arrogant and programs not being what they need to be until you know for sure. I would never say that a colleges program needs to improve until I personally set foot on campus and do research. I would not come to conclusions by a newspaper article. Especially the type of person someone is. And to other people who posted, call the school that Zach works at to see if he is qualified... Ummm... he has an interpreter QA level doesn;t he? He did not get it out of the gumball machine at Wal-mart. Last time I checked a person has to go through a PANEL pf people, Deaf and Hearing, to get that. Well, as far as your comment at the top of the last blog that you would be HAPPY if what I say is true, PUT a smile on your face. It is true all of it. I am proud of the program we have! I support it a million percent. Of course we are not perfect, but no program is. No program can incorporate every course that everyone thinks should be there. We would be in school FOREVER if that was the case. That is the reason we have WORKSHOPS and CEU's to make sure that we stay current on issues in education. Things change all the time. I am sure you know that. Thank you for responding and yes, you may can have your opinion. Just know that other people have thiers and I will not stand by and let people from New York tear apart something and someone that I take pride in, without my opinion being heard!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I've been reading all this stuff over the last several days. i have gone back and forth on who i think is right. at first, i couldn't believe that article and that program, but now, i look at it and think i just over-reacted. you can't know everything just by what people say. you have to research for yourself and judge it based on experience and not just what another person says.
Also, I don't think Zachary is arrogant for thinking he can "revolutionize" deaf education. The kid has a dream, let him have it. Barb, I disagree that a hearing person can't change deaf education. Why can't they? There are just as many deaf educators/teachers of the deaf (whatever you want to call them) that are hearing as there are deaf. Maybe USM does need to change their program, but they must be doing something right if they were given accredidation by CED.
That's one man's thoughts...


Anonymous said...

Thank you Justin!! Thanks for giving USM a little credit! I REALLY appreciate that!!!!!!

Barb DiGi said...

This is my vlog and I can talk what I think.

My opinion, as a deaf veteran teacher, deaf mother with deaf children and coming from a deaf family, still stands that it is arrogant for a hearing person who is freshly out of college to claim "revolutionary on deaf education" especially to the media.

If you hearing teachers want to work on improving the system just act it out not to talk about it. Now don't get me wrong. Hearing teachers and interpreters working with deaf children are a part of deaf education vehicle and I find that most of them are ignorant about ASL and have a lack of understanding how bilingual education works. It may not be their fault but the system. It did not prepare them enough to be able to make bridges between ASL and English. I bet you that you will find many hearing teachers knowing oralism and speech and signed English more than ASL. Why limit enriched deaf studies in deaf educational program in USM?

You know, I already have seen what this USM has to offer about deaf education program. It is not based on what I only say but what I am observing from this program. I have heard the commenters tell me how they learn about deaf culture when socializing but to me it is not enough. Tell me where are the courses related to deaf studies in the course syllabi? How can you explain that there are a very few courses relating to deaf studies and a whooping percentage of clinical related studies?

If I am to look for a program in deaf education and being introduced to this course syllabi and the website of USM, I would immediately dismiss it.

Perhaps you don't realize what the model program really should look like. Have you ever compared top notch college deaf ed programs and see what courses are lacking in USM? To be frank with you, I am not buying into this clinical course crap. That is not what deaf children need!

For your information, it is not just from New York who thinks lowly of USM program. You can see how many commenters view negatively when they saw the website and the audio video (sheesh!) and the course syllabi. It just gives me the impression and that is not good.

I have allowed you to share your opinions on my blog and that I welcome your views but try to understand how us deaf people view this. Do not try to tell us what we should think and feel about such programs so your respect is much appreciated.

One more thing about CED, it is no longer prioritized by most of the states and schools teaching deaf children. For instance, NYS doesn't require a CED but state teaching certificate when hiring.

Barb DiGi said...


Thank you for recognizing that there is a change needed for USM.

I want to make it clear that I welcome hearing people to become TODs as I never have the intention to dismiss them. The main problem is that I don't see how such system is really enriched with deaf studies related courses and bilingual education prep program. It is the SYSTEM that I am bothered about as you can see what needs to be improved.

The One and Only Ridor said...

To Anonymous commentators:

Get a name. Each time I see anonymous comment, I skip.

Because anonymous comments tend to be irrelevant in my book.


Anonymous said...

Hey Barb,

Did you see vlog about ASL English Yupik Bilingualism? What's your opinion ? I think he's right.

Barb DiGi said...

To repeated Anon who is harrassing me from Las Vegas,
Be forwarned that your nasty remarks have been recorded and tracked.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me, Barb. I was expressing my opinion. I wasn't harrassing you nor making nasty remarks. I am sorry to say this but I am not from Las Vegas. Your tracking my IP is inaccurate.


Barb DiGi said...

To Anon above (IP nbr (this showed up when you made the last few comments that you went on and on calling me names according to the exact time you had visited and posted my blog so this couldn't go wrong that you had been the same anonymous all along)

First of all, anyone is free to comment their opinions but in a civilized way please. You coming in my v/blog is like coming in my house. Anyway, my records showed that all of the last 3 comments that were deleted had been directly coming from you that I had to put up with your statements attacking at me rather than discussing the system.

Secondly, my records showed that you had been coming in my site so often that you did not even identify yourself or even have a nickname. Perhaps I am learning something that anonymous should not be allowed to leave comments without identifying who they were. You leaving a variety of negative comments to me from time to time without identifying yourself is not appropriate. You were hoping that I would think oh gee there were several people out there attacking me while it was only coming down to just you. It is a sicko thing to do

Barb DiGi said...

There is a new rule (see column) that anonymous no longer can post their comments. I was not able to approve the recent anonymous comments after I posted my rule as of 5/29/07 because there was no nickname not allowing me to know who I was responding to so no more postings from anonymous from now on.

To anon before me, it will reduce a lot of confusion if you only posted your nickname. Anyway, if you are being attacked, you would naturally want to track down who, don't you? Also what kind of person you are to be so obsessed with my blogpage by coming back over and over? Actually, it is a rarity for me to delete comments as I do welcome anyone's perspectives like I have before but you cannot just say you are this and that and you and is not the way to do it. Review the etiquette of blogging, will you?

By the way, my name is not Barbie. This is one example of how disrespectful you are about making up my name.