Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I Am Against Oralism Because...


Someone asked me if I were against oralists when I know s/he must have meant oralism because to be against oralists just because they can speak is outrageous! So my response to this modified question is, yes, I am against oralism but not spoken English. Let me share you that the term oralism to me is a stigma. It is associated with “force” for some even “abuse” (i.e. hands whacked with rulers, hands being put down (watch this):

although physical abuse is prohibited but still, this term brings back these memories that many are scarred with the term oralism.

Oralism is way different than spoken English. Oralism tends to be the only approach and it bans from ASL. Spoken English is not against for one to know both languages since birth. It has no biased meaning – it is just a language. Spoken English doesn’t ban a Deaf child from using ASL nor force those who cannot hear enough to use it. Some people who think the world of oralism are ignorant. Using the word, oralism, still did not change to a positive concept just we would never change the concept of slavery. Now I am not comparing slavery to oralism but in that sense, the idea of slavery is negative just like oralism is for some, if not, many. Would we want to still practice slavery? No! Unfortunately, it is still happening in some parts of the world. Slavery will always be negative just like oralism is but in a different sense of course. There were horror stories associated to oralism that scarred them for life. Although it is history but today the practice, the principle and the philosophy still discriminate against ASL. The Deaf children are suppressed from using ASL. The term should be changed to oracy since it involves the use of switching to both languages where they have the options to use, spoken or signed, where there is more flexibility and compatibility.

(In my video clip, you will see my description on how Flemish Deaf view oralism definition vs. Deaf culture definition.)

That's why I don't accept and approve the concept of oralism because of the attitude. The concept is negative so that is something to think about how should we view oralism.

From my experience, I was able to grow up using spoken English and ASL. Did I ever think that I think of myself as a oralist? No. I am just a spoken English user so it is completely different than being oralist because one doesn't know ASL. I use spoken English, yes. I am ASL user, yes! Oralists don't use ASL. It is just a different view about the way I grow up as I never thought one has to separate those who speak from using ASL. They were placed in an environment using an only-oral-method approach and it was not necessary! ( ASL users still can use spoken English and to not to know ASL growing up because it will hinder language development is still unproven stated by research documents. It has been proven that bilingual approach will benefit the Deaf child to grasp the language, ASL, that is most accessible and natural to them, making the bridge to learn spoken English more effectively if the child desires to do so and benefits the time spent for learning speech).


deafk said...

Oralism and Spoken English is entirely different, definitely. I found the new term today and here!! Yes, I agree about slavery concept will be never changed, regardlessly! So, yes, oralism is to ban ASL, regardlessly!

Thanks, Barb. I like the word spoken Engligh. Funny thing, I like and use the term, spoken English, because I consider it to be a voluntarily tool. Bam! Bingo.

Grinning, deafk

Sojourner said...

Right! big time.
gee the video of banning sign language.... sigh, the children's facial expression says it all.

thanks again Barb,


drmzz said...

I choked up seeing that little boy and that swap of the hand. I was that boy. I'll never ever forgive proponents of oralism and the forces behind them. They got it all wrong from the get go, even today. Speech training for those who actually can benefit from it and ASL all the way.

PANY Lighthouse said...

Amen...amen...amen!!!! Seeing the boy's facial expression when his hand was put down made me cringe and it brought back the memories for me!

ASL is the natural and first language so any other additions such as speech training which would be secondary to supplement the needs of individual Deaf child! Thanks, Barb!!


mishkazena said...

I am not against oracy, either. Compulsory oralism is a different issue, especially if the deaf kids are restricted from expressing themselves freely.

The audism taught to the oral kids should be completely banned because they are taught to look at their deafness in a negative light as well as their Deaf peers who sign.

Anonymous said...

what facial expression!?

you guys only see what YOU want to see.

Anonymous said...

since we're on the subject of oralism oppressing and forcing it's rules on oralist's and people who don't know ASL. Barb obviously wants equality for both sides in terms of communication, but for someone who's asking for that you sure aren't putting much effort for your side.

Where's the sound? Where's my voice interpreter in the background? Stop forcing me to abide by Deafism!


Karen Mayes said...

My eyebrows went up at the anonymous comments.

Well, Barb has a point. Last year I talked about oracy/Spoken English, which is very different from oralism, in my vlog. ISD is doing its part in seeing that SOME... not all...students develop Spoken English skills (I am not talking about speech therapy... I am talking about learning to speak English, same as learning to speak French, Spanish, etc. in the public schools.) That is why I am advocating for Bi-Bi approach. The more languages one learns, the more appreciative the person becomes of the diversity of the world's cultures.

Jean Boutcher said...

You and some commenters lose me. I am not sure what you mean when you say you use the "SPOKEN" English. Do you mean that you have some residual hearing? If
in this regard, please disregard
this comment. If not, please
proceed and read below.

The reason for asking is that the "SPOKEN" English is not the same as the "WRITTEN" English. Whereas an illiterate person can comprehend the SPOKEN English, he has comprehension problems with reading and writing in English. For example, I had a hard time with a hearing hair cutter (college-age) because he could not read or write in English even though he was American. I had a female hair-cutter read my note to the male hair-cutter. (Sigh).

Albeit two advanced degrees, I still cannot use the SPOKEN English -- or the SPOKEN French, for that matter. Why? Because I cannot hear or use my voice. If I tried to speak any word in my native written English, I would sound Greek to hearing people.


I can read and write in English, Latin, and French. Having an ability to read and write in several languages is truly my saviour! I can put a note in different languages with my permanent address and email address into a bottle and let it float around the world. A week, a month, a year, or a decade later, I would get a response or two!

Long Live Written English -- or any written language, for that matter -- regardless of my hearing status, for never shall I ever be able to speak with my voice; otherwise, my voice in SPOKEN English would sound Greek to them, n'est-ce pas?

Jean Boutcher

Karen Mayes said...

Barb, check out Kim's blog (Living the Questions.) It is good.

Suey said...

I was never allowed to put my hand up in my oral school when I was young.

But this boy did as if he knew sign and spoke. Not as strict as mine. Was this at an oral school? When was it taken? (sorry if i missed that info)

If he knew the answer then what was the point of learning when it's all about being able to "speak". He was happy to know the answer and did it the way he wanted to express.

What do the teacher tell the parents their kid is doing well in, speaking or academically?

Barb DiGi said...

Deafk: Exactly..spoken English is a voluntary tool while oralism is not. Bingo to you, too!

Ali: We can see it clearly that this boy's natural reaction is wanting to use his hands to communicate and to process his thoughts but that part was suppressed.

drmzz: It hurts my heart seeing this boy not being able to express the way he wants to but being forced to do the teacher's way.

Ginny: Yes, there are thousands and thousands of oral victims who could identify their experiences to what this boy went through.

Mishkazena: Compulsory oralism is a good way to describe it. How true about oralists who perceive those who use signs negatively. If you look at mainstreamed students who are completely orals, you can see that some of them don't want to sign since they are embarrassed to do it and think it is not normal.

Anon 12:08: How is it that so? It is clear to most of us how this boy's hand was put down when he wants to sign. If a person uses spoken English, no one gets to cover his or her mouth and forces them to sign.

Barb DiGi said...

hypcrits: I want to make it clear that whatever it is appropriate for any Deaf person to choose their preferred mode of communication and language is to be respected. Now no where in my v/blog did I say a person has to use them equally. To add sounds and interpreter is a ridiculous idea for me because to do that, it requires $$$$, duh! At least, I provide transcript for most of my vlogs for non signers so your request is not reasonable at all.

Who is forcing you to abdie deafism? This term doesn't even exist because deafism doesn't even have the power and force. Do pray tell, where in this society that people have been forced to use ASL and turn off their voice in Deaf education? You surely made me scoff here.

Karen: Ditto..I recalled your discussion about that and I have seen this discussion taking place when attending to a bilingual conference.

Jean: Spoken English applies to those who can benefit from it and of course who have residual hearing. Writing is definitely different than spoken, indeed! I have seen many sad cases that there are oralists, including former oralists, who still struggle with not only speech but writing as well.

Suey: Looking back, how did you feel when you were not allowed to put your hand up? I am not sure exactly where and what since it came from oralgallaudet at youtube. I asked the same questions but didn't get a reply. Guess it doesn't matter if he knew the answer as much as it does for him to speak it correctly. It interferes with learning process because you don't concentrate on what you have learned but on how to speak.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips your story Barb Digi.

Anyway Back in my old time Teacher use the ruler hit my wife hands not to use sign and me too also there more what worse on me that I talk back to teacher so teacher put soap in my mouth. Today I feel like want to wear my cowboy boot and kick thier A**
This is no Joke! back in old time.

AArrrrrr!I know how this boy feel in same way with me.

Arrrrrrr! hearing teacher still out there today somewhere Arrrrr!


Lisa C. said...

I was like a boy when I was little and my language was also taken away because I was unable to speak well. My mom provided me some comic books to read that helped me develope language. My husband and I did not attend the oral school reunion a few years ago where the former teachers attened expecting to hear their former students speaking.

Suey said...

I didn't feel abused the way you or other commenter described. I didn't know about ASL or anything about Deaf culture/community/history back then. Students at Clarke weren't allowed to wave hands to get other deaf friends' attention. It was like having your hands tied behind your back. You kind had to rock your head and speak and ask to get the other person's attention.

Interesting about the written language, I would agree. I think reading and comprehension was also a struggle. I am more of visual person; using ASL helps me understand better.

Anonymous said...

This is like black and white. Why can't we all accept each other whether if we use ASL, PIGN, or other forms of sign language, oral?
Also, how come we don't hear the Deaf saying hearing aids is not allowed? Many of the Deaf people wears HAs. Let all support each other regarding in what we choose.

I've been told that the blind people do not argue...whatever it works is acceptable.

Deaf Woman said...

Good points Barb!! I'm like you, spoken english and using ASL. I still struggle to use ASL with hearing people when I need to use ASL, unless this person is VERY fluent in ASL.
Same feeling as DRMZZ n Karen Mayes, when I watched this video of this boy as we can relate to him and his feelings. He was excited to be part of "filming" project and, unconsciously, used his hands...and his excitement/self-esteem was crushed when THAT teacher pushed down his hand.
Anonymous: You don't see facial expression because you're insenstive and haven't experienced what we have been through. Also, you don't see it because YOU don't want to SEE it as being true! Ignorant!
There, I feel better, spilling my thoughts! Thanks!

ProudASLuser said...

Hi, I am curious if its possible for you to share where we can find information on this? Flemish Deaf view oralism definition vs. Deaf culture definition

Article or what? Thanks

Anonymous said...

I consider if oralism method forces in any kind of school or audio dept is criminal, period. Becuz many and many years, all people in the world have been brainwashed. The hearing thought oralism might help the Deaf better to understand in the hearing world. In fact, the oralism system doesn't work in years. Not worth it. Their theory are WRONG. CRIMINAL against the Dept of Education, why not we can submit? If Dept of Education refuses, then we can go on a big step to COURT OF JUSTICE? If successful, the school or audio dept would stop to teach the speech to Deafies. Unless the individuals want to learn, they can go to speech class or having tutor themselves.