I recently read a post by a Deaf woman who felt that a hearing person should not teach American Sign Language. I have had Deaf people tell me that my role as a hearing person is to lift up Deaf people to be leaders and that I can help them,but they should take the role in the field of deafness. I have been told that I should not write a book about hearing loss or Deaf/HH children,,because I am a hearing person.
I really try to take a moment to think about other sides and other people's opinions. I have to say after all these years, I still disagree. I am more than willing to help raise Deaf people up or help them succeed and do their own thing.I am happy to have them write books about deaf/hh kids. I am so fine with Deaf people teaching American Sign Language, but I am so fine with hearing people teaching it,too.
Here is my thought process: native people know things well. Do they know how to teach those things?Are they automatically good leaders and good role models? Hearing people might be better teachers than Deaf people. Deaf people might be better leaders. It is so individual. Hearing non native French speakers can teach French and English speaking people can learn much from them. Are French born people necessarily the ones who have to teach French?
I don't think there is a right or wrong answer-I just feel we have to be open to everyone. The world is about options and I think we need to offer options. The keys are that ASL is being taught(with grammatically correct and culturally correct information) and that we all treat each other with respect.
Go on, now, talk amongst yourselves...
Allison Schley has been in the field of deaf and hard of hearing education for 20 years. She founded a nonprofit for families with hearing loss. She most recently wrote a children's book, entitled Forever Friends. This book shows the how a deaf dog and deaf boy teach the world that all kids are good and being deaf is okay.