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Ethical Considerations in Educating Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Kathee Mangan Christensen, Editor

Publication Year: 2010

The education of deaf or hard of hearing children has become as complex as the varying needs of each individual child. Teachers face classrooms filled with students who are culturally Deaf, hard of hearing, or postlingually deaf. They might use American Sign Language, cochlear implants, hearing aids/FM systems, speech, Signed English, sign-supported speech, contact signing, nonverbal communication, or some combination of methods. Educators who decide what tools are best for these children are making far-reaching ethical decisions in each case. This collection features ten chapters that work as constructive conversations to make the diverse needs of these deaf students the primary focus. The initial essays establish fundamental points of ethical decision-making and emphasize that every situation should be examined not with regard for what is “right or wrong,” but for what is “useful.” Absolute objectivity is unattainable due to social influences, while “common knowledge” is ruled out in favor of “common awareness.” Other chapters deal with the reality of interpreting through the professional’s eyes, of how they are assessed, participate, and are valued in the total educational process, including mainstream environments. The various settings of education for deaf children are profiled, from residential schools to life in three cultures for deaf Latino students, to self-contained high school programs. Ethical Considerations in Educating Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing offers an invaluable set of guidelines for administrators and educators of children with hearing loss in virtually every environment in a postmodern world.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix

Writing about ethics can be risky business. It involves developing an objective, logical stand on controversial topics. Using a “both/and” point of view, the chapter authors of this text have done a masterful job of examining some of the common challenges in the education of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, unpacking the controversy which surrounds these challenges, and offering insights based on real life experience...

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Introduction: Rethinking Ethical Decision Making: Why Now?

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pp. xi-xviii

My father was a teacher of the deaf. So was my mother. My first five years of life were spent in a house owned by the Michigan School for the Deaf and provided to our family as part of my father’s job as dean of boys. I can still remember the address of that house: 1661 Miller Road, Flint, Michigan, just down the hill from the primary unit where I played with the deaf students on the weekends. My first languages were...

Part One. Parental Decisions

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1. Looking at Residential Schools for Deaf Students: Seeing a Viable Option

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pp. 3-13

A deaf student and his parents arrive at noon on our campus. We walk up the stairs to the cafeteria. The student takes a quick glance around and asks curiously, “Where do the deaf kids sit?” As I respond with a smile, “Anywhere they want; they’re all deaf kids!” the student reacts with incredulity as he studies the area and notices that everyone in the entire room—students and staff—is seated at round tables signing...

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2. See Me Through the Triplicity of My World: Ethical Considerations in Language Choices

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pp. 14-37

Overheard in the teachers’ lounge at a large urban middle school: “And now this deaf kid wants to take Spanish as an elective! That’s ridiculous . . . he’ll never be able to speak Spanish so anyone can understand him!” Fortunately, some progress has been made since that outburst in the teachers’ lounge. In 2007 the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)...

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3. Ethical Issues Regarding Cochlear Implantation in Children: An International Perspective

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pp. 38-72

Our decision-making processes and actions are guided by ethical positions and judgments even if those are not made explicit. Ethics is a reflecting, theoretical science of morals, conventions, and values. On the one hand ethics are values that tend to be cultural universals and are instigated by ancestral biological programs (Alexander, 1987). These values follow evolutionary strategies to optimize genetic replication....

Part Two. Educational Decisions

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4. Where Do We Look? What Do We See? A Framework for Ethical Decision Making in the Education of Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

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pp. 75-86

When I began looking for subjects for my doctoral dissertation, PJ was 2 years old. I was interested in studying the nonverbal communication of congenitally deaf toddlers from hearing families. PJ’s family members were hearing and, at that time, beginning to learn American Sign Language (ASL). They were dedicated to providing the best communication environment for their deaf child in a warm and loving family...

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5. Educating Students Who Become Hard of Hearing or Deaf in School: Insights from Disability Studies

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pp. 87-100

I begin this chapter by sharing my personal and professional experiences with audiological changes that happen postlingually. I do this for two reasons: to situate myself as author of this chapter and to reveal some of my own biases and hermeneutical positions from the start. In this chapter I encourage readers to look at their own personal biases and those of the field; I cannot write with integrity unless I am also willing to do...

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6. Ethical Assessment Approaches: A View of What We Have and What We Need

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pp. 101-114

The Deaf and hard of hearing students are seated at their desks in the classroom with pencils poised. Their eyes are fixed on an interpreter in the middle of the room who is listening attentively to the audiotape of the exam questions. The interpreter proceeds to sign the audionarrative. The questions and the multiple-choice answers are all recorded with a monotone voice. This procedure was a modification added to the...

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7. Vision Quest: Ethical Leadership in the Education of People Who Are Deaf

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pp. 115-125

...We have spent more than 80 years between us working in the field of education . . . almost all of those years in the education of people who are deaf. In addition, Pat comes from a long line of educators who are deaf and taught at the Illinois School for the Deaf, California School for the Deaf, Texas School for the Deaf, and Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University). Throughout our careers and around family dinner tables in New York, California...

Part Three. Interpreting Decisions

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8. Perceptions of Efficacy of Sign Language Interpreters Working in K–12 Settings

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pp. 129-153

Mary, who went on to college right after high school, has just graduated from a well respected, four-year interpreting education program. She has worked hard, spent time with deaf people in the community so her ASL skills would improve, and took the “Introduction to K–12” course as one of her electives. Mary wants to work in an elementary school setting because she has always enjoyed children. For her practicum, she was...

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9. Opening Our Eyes: The Complexity of Competing Visual Demands in Interpreted Classrooms

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pp. 154-191

Signed languages are visual languages. The importance of this quality was emphasized almost one hundred years ago by George Veditz, a prominent leader in the Deaf community and former president of the National Association of the Deaf. Veditz (1912) delivered a passionate argument in support of American Sign Language even in the face of intense political pressures, punctuated by the 1880 decision in Milan, Italy, to...

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Conclusion: Confounded by Language

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pp. 192-200

Anyone who has attempted to learn a new language, especially during school age or later, would agree that it is not an easy task. Our abilities to learn syntax, vocabulary, and cultural nuances vary from individual to individual, and the skill level of our instructors is yet another variable. Looking back on my two years of college French, I recall wondering how a few students were comfortably exchanging


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pp. 201-203


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pp. 205-213

E-ISBN-13: 9781563684807
E-ISBN-10: 1563684802
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563684791
Print-ISBN-10: 1563684799

Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 23 tables, 4 figures
Publication Year: 2010