PSLA at Fowler Students Take Part in Hard of Hearing Day
Published on 3/16/16
District News PSLA @ Fowler
“I felt isolated,” one student noted in a class debrief following a “Hard of Hearing” day at PSLA at Fowler.
On this day, students in Brenda Buckley’s American Sign Language (ASL) course chose to wear earplugs at school (some even wore them into the evening at home!) to simulate what it would be like if they were deaf.
“In class, students have been asking questions that relate to myths about deaf people,” Ms. Buckley explained. “I felt that there was no better way for them to learn than to experience, explore, discover and teach others on their own. They really enjoyed experiencing this and were able to make more connections and dig deeper into the topic—the results of their projects were outstanding!”
Students detailed how, with ear plugs in, they could hear themselves breathe, yawn, chew... yet they felt they missed a great deal of what was happening around them.
“It was like you were living in another world,” sophomore Tashema Wesley explained. “It was hard. You had to read peoples’ lips. I missed half of the conversations, so it was difficult in class. No one understood ASL so I had to write notes to communicate.”
Tashema said that when her classmates couldn’t get her attention by speaking, many of them would tap her shoulder to get her attention. “It was like they were infringing on your personal space,” she said. “The hallways were the worst—I just went straight to class!”
Classmate Paige Dawson had a similar, challenging experience, “I could hardly hear my teachers,” she explained. “I could kind of hear one male teacher who has a really deep voice. But the ear plugs made it hard to focus in on just one voice. It made it hard to follow along in class!”
Paige noted that her muted hearing heightened her other senses, and said it helped her gain a new perspective on those who really are hard of hearing. “My neighbors are deaf,” she said. “We don’t really interact a lot, but now I understand more of why they do the things they do—like when the TV volume is really loud—and the challenges they face.”
Great work by all of these insightful ASL students for taking the time to learn more about the challenges other people face, and thank you to Ms. Buckley for leading the students in this activity!