Language and the Deaf April 11, 2012: Session 12 Jessica Scott, Boston University Food for Thought “Language [can] be expressed . . . by movements of the hands and face just as well as by the small, soundgenerating movements of the throat and mouth. Then the first criterion for language that I had learned as a student—it is spoken and heard—was wrong; and, more important, language did not depend on our ability to speak and hear but must be a more abstract capacity of the brain. It was the brain that had language, and if that capacity was blocked in one channel, it would emerge through another.” -Harlan Lane Agenda Discussion: TT Classic Assessment Dynamic Assessment Break! CI Corner Applying Dynamic Assessment Housekeeping Goals for the Session To understand the problems with assessment To think about dynamic assessment, including its pro’s and con’s To consider how dynamic assessment could be used with Deaf children Agenda Discussion: TT Classic Assessment Dynamic Assessment Break! CI Corner Applying Dynamic Assessment Housekeeping Discussion! Discussion Board Interlude This phrase in this chapter, “Culturally different children have not fared well under the “melting pot” theory of education, which emphasized deficits rather than recognizing differences” (p. 137). People in general spend too much time looking for what is wrong with Deaf children instead of focusing on what is right with them. We need to spend time and energy promoting all the strengths and then build on them. Time spent on finding deficits is time wasted. As we know, not everyone is a good test taker, but often, I think we mistaken children’s inabilities to test well for a variety of reasons other then their cultural background. Often students are being misplaced in classroom settings because they do not perform well on standardized test. Agenda Discussion: TT Classic Assessment Dynamic Assessment Break! CI Corner Applying Dynamic Assessment Housekeeping Classic Assessment Common assessment practices: Formative assessment – what can the student do before instruction? Summative assessment – what can the student do after instruction? During assessment – No support given to students This is not really reflection of instruction, where we modify what we do in response to students (mediation model!) Where is the problem? When we’re assessing children, we often are thinking of them as having a problem. Classic assessments often think of the problem as being situated in the child Legitimization oriented assessment – we are finding what’s “wrong” with the child But there is another perspective – that the problem is outside of the child in the environment Advocacy oriented assessment – we are figuring out what in the environment is preventing the student from being successful Testing Bias Language bias (for speakers of non-standard English or other languages) Academic language and vocabulary Figurative language Complex Syntax Cultural/Content bias (When the content on the test does not match the curriculum – assumes general world knowledge that is culturally specific) Testing Bias and Deaf Students Obviously, the two main testing biases: Language bias (for users of ASL) Trybus and Buchanan (1973) and concluded that the following linguistic structures created more difficulty for deaf test takers than their hearing peers when matched for reading level: (a) conditionals (e.g., “if ” clauses), (b) comparatives (e.g., “greater than, the most”), (c) negatives (e.g., “not, without, answer not given”), (d) inferentials (“should, could, because, since”), (e) low information pronouns (e.g., “it, something”), and (f) lengthy passages Content/Cultural bias (for those that do not know hearing culture) Deaf students may have different world knowledge, because of their different experience (Lollis & LaSasso, 2008) When looking for bias… Conceptually, is the item a good one? (objective match, fair representation, lack of cultural bias, single problem, one best answer) Linguistically, is the item appropriate? (age appropriate, lack of excess words; no stem/foil clues; and no negative in foils) Is the format appropriate? (logical order of foils; print size and type, familiar presentation style; equal length in foils.) Are diagrams (if used) appropriate? (necessity of the diagram, quality of the diagram, and unbiased nature of it)? Which grade level is the passage appropriate? For the grade level to which the passage is currently assigned, is it easy, medium, or hard? Is the passage interesting to read and does it have a beginning, middle, and end? Is the frame acceptable for the passage? Do all the objectives fit well with the passage or should one or more not be used and substituted with another objective? Do the items adequately cover the major content of the passage? Are the most important ideas included? Examining a standardized test In groups, look at the passage and questions from an MCAS Assessment Is it fair to Deaf students… Linguistically? Content-wise? Culturally? Agenda Discussion: TT Classic Assessment Dynamic Assessment Break! CI Corner Applying Dynamic Assessment Housekeeping Dynamic Assessment! Process: Assess – what can the student do on his or her own? Assess – what can the student do with teacher support? Instruction – based on both assessments Assess – how has the student grown? What can they do with and without support? This more closely resembles classroom instruction Steps for Dynamic Assessment Process 1. Be a decision-maker: What does the student need? How are they struggling? What in the environment might be causing that? 2. Question placements from standardized tests: they are not always right 3. Trial teaching: move students upward from initial testing level until they hit a frustration level 4. Do not blindly follow labels: They can be wrong, and do not give you the most important information about that student 5. Be proactive: be a leader looking to help change the system for the better, don’t wait for someone else to come and change it for you Steps for Dynamic Assessment Process 6. Understand the cultural norms of your students and establish classroom procedures that are congruent with those norms: Use students’ knowledge to their advantage 7. Support bilingualism: Address students in the language they know best and use this for instruction! 8. Teach in the ZPD: Children need you to meet them where they are AND provide them with challenge 9. Encourage peer collaboration: Children often learn best from one another 10. Encourage multiculturalism and interactions Culturally diverse assessment 5 socio-cultural areas to consider in assessment: Culture/linguistic background – What does the child know? What is their culture? Their language? Experiential background – What has the student seen or done before? Stage and pattern of acculturation – What does the student know about their own culture? Patterns of sociolinguistic development and language transfer – What does the student know about the dominant culture? About their second language? Cognitive learning styles – How does the student learn best? On the wiki It was pointed out that there are some negatives to the DAP Subjectivity Lack of resources Resistance from teachers On the board, we will make a pros and cons list for dynamic assessment Agenda Discussion: TT Classic Assessment Dynamic Assessment Break! CI Corner Applying Dynamic Assessment Housekeeping Break! Agenda Discussion: TT Classic Assessment Dynamic Assessment Break! CI Corner Applying Dynamic Assessment Housekeeping CI Corner Great expectations: Perspectives on cochlear implantation of deaf children in Norway By E. Simonsen, A. Kristoffersen, M.B. Hyde, O. Hjulstad American Annals of the Deaf, 2009, Volume 154, Issue 3 Abstract THE AUTHORS DESCRIBE the use of cochlear implants with deaf children in Norway and examine how this intervention has raised new expectations and some tensions concerning the nature of education for deaf students. They report on two studies of communication within school learning environments of young children with implants in Norwegian preschools and primary/elementary schools. These studies involved observations of classroom discourse and teaching activity and interviews with teachers, administrators, parents, and pupils. Results suggested varied patterns of use of Norwegian and of Norwegian Sign Language and several modes of communication, including speech alone, sign alone, and speech with sign. Conclusions are drawn regarding the reasons for the observed variations and the future impact of cochlear implantation on educational policies and services for deaf children and their families in Norway. What did they do? 24 Deaf children in Norway with CIs Between 7 and 11 Some in bilingual schools, some in “special needs” programs, and others in local spoken language only schools They observed in the schools and interviewed the teachers What did they find? Teachers in bilingual programs were more driven by student needs when choosing the mode of communication Teachers in spoken-language only programs were driven by external mandates when choosing the mode of communication I find this problematic – children with cochlear implants should learn sign language, and it should be a resource even in a spoken-language setting, if the student doesn’t understand – language should be chosen based on the child’s needs, not the school’s rules. An important con They call simultaneous communication “sign bilingual” I felt this should not go unshared However, I think it is important to think about the increased flexibility in meeting student needs that might come with a program that encourages the use of sign language Any comments or questions on this article? Agenda Discussion: TT Classic Assessment Dynamic Assessment Break! CI Corner Applying Dynamic Assessment Housekeeping How can we assess ASL? Think about the differences found between ASL and English in the storytelling article TT led us in discussing earlier Because of the modality of language being different, the way ideas and thoughts are expressed is inherently different So assessments we use to determine what’s “good” language output in English do not help us with ASL One Example: Writing Assessment Ideas: Can the student write a piece in English that has a main idea or theme? Organization: Does the writing have an internal structure, or thread? Is the sequence of ideas correct? Voice: Is the writer’s unique perspective shown? Word Choice: Does the author choose rich and colorful English vocabulary? Sentence Fluency: Does the writing have rhythm or flow? Conventions: Are spelling, grammar, punctuation correct? How might we assess an ASL story (dynamically)? Consider… What dynamic assessment looks like What the article (and we) identified as important pieces of an ASL story What you know about ASL If you are working in Bob’s ASL Assessment lab, feel free to take inspiration from there And think of the elements of an ASL story that are essential that we would want to assess – and a way to assess them You can pick age/grade level Goal: To create a checklist or some kind of rubric Sharing What did your groups come up with? Applying We will now watch a video of one of my former students “Cara McElfresh, a student at East High School and ASSDHH, created an ABC story using Ashley Fiolek's name forward and backward. Ashley Fiolek is a motocross champion. This poetry was submitted to the MJP ASL literature competition and was a finalist.” As you watch, think about your assessment checklist/rubric you created with your group http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGN0XPOACh8&f eature=share What do you think? In groups, discuss: Any adjustments you would make to your rubric Where you think it does a good job capturing ASL storytelling Where this student would score on the rubric Agenda Discussion: TT Classic Assessment Dynamic Assessment Break! CI Corner Applying Dynamic Assessment Housekeeping Next week… Is a Monday schedule But since I didn’t know that, there is reading on the rubric anyway It is more on assessment There will be a discussion board on the wiki and I encourage you to talk over ideas there, since we will not be together in person to do so The NEXT week… April 25, is when we will see each other again (It is also our penultimate class! Crazy!) The topic will be reading research completed with Deaf students Dana will be our discussion leader AND we will have our final guest speaker, Erika Guarino Remember to come prepared with questions about teaching in a self-contained environment See you in two weeks!