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Supporting Deaf People 2005

Date: March 2005

The 2005 conference dealt broadly with three themes: Language support, interpreting and deaf people in developing countries. 192 delegates from 17 countries (AUS, CAN, ET, FI, GH, IE, IT, JM, KE, NG, NL, NO, NZ, PH, SA, US, ZM) attended the conference, with many countries being represented for the first time. Another busy conference with 771 postings in the theme discussion areas, and many more in the social and general discussion areas.

A conference first for Direct Learn was the inclusion of a British Sign Language video presentation. This submission, entitled Around the Language Table: A Discussion about the Working Practices of Language Tutors with Deaf Students by Jen Dodds, Lynne Barnes, Claire Haddon, Kath Mowe and Kyra Pollitt featured all five presenters sitting around a table (with a camera each) discussing the topic. The 20-minute video had been optimised for fast download. A transcript was provided for those delegates who were not BSL users. Although not all delegates could access the video version of the presentation, as video paper was warmly welcomed by all delegates, and it is hoped to make this a standard format for future conferences.

During this conference we introduced two new elements. Firstly the interactive workshop on teaching foreign languages to deaf students. This workshop was lead by Hilary McColl from Scotland. This workshop allowed delegates to collectively compile a matrix of support/teaching strategies for deaf students in modern foreign language classes. The resulting grid can be downloaded here. The information provided in this workshop formed the basis for a book 'Deaf and Multilingual', written by Judith Mole, Hilary McColl and Micky Vale.

Another element which was introduced was a survey to establish whether the daily summaries of postings were perceived to be useful. 90% of participants felt they were either very useful or useful. Surveys can be added to a live conference on any topic and can also be used by presenters to gauge responses, find out opinions or find out about practice.

You can download the welcoming address here. It's meant to be fun and not taken too seriously!

Some feedback from participants:

"I would like to say I think this was the best conference I have ever attended. I hope I don’t sound insincere when I say the experience was almost indescribable. The wealth of knowledge, experience, and perspective brought by the delegates and presenters alike was amazing." Tammy Adams, USA.

"I'm full of admiration for the way it works. This is something I've been wanting to do for about 10 years, but every attempt to do it in the real world has come to nothing. You've made the impossible possible! Thank you!". Hilary McColl, Consultant, UK.

"It seems like every year, the conference gets better and better!! I really enjoyed myself!". Jennifer Sabo, USA.

Many of the papers and presentations are available through the proceedings of the conferences. Please click on the links below for more information.

Keynote presentations:

Around the Language Table: A Discussion about the Working Practices of Language Tutors with Deaf Students by Jen Dodds, Lynne Barnes, Claire Haddon, Kath Mowe and Kyra Pollitt, UCLAN, UK

Educational Interpreting - Does It Work As Well As We Think? by Marc Marschark and Patty Sapere, NTID, US

Consumer perceptions of sign language interpreting by Jemina Napier, Macquarie University, AUS

Seminar presentations:

Using eBooks to develop Deaf students' bilingualism by Steve Gibson, DeafEducate, UK

Education as dialogue: some implications for deaf learners by Wendy Martin, UK

Should we modify English language for deaf learners? by Rachel O'Neill, City College, Manchester, UK

The Changing Dynamics of the Interpreting Industry as Influenced by Video Relay Service (VRS), and its Impact on the Deaf Community by Jacqueline Dion, HOVRS, US

Should Interpreters Care? by Ben Karlin, US

The Interpreter and INTERRUPTING: Cultural and Group Dynamics by Steph Kent and Anne Potter, US

Issues in developing countries: two papers, by Alemayehu Teferi, Ethiopia; Amy Wilson and Nickson Kakiri, US/Kenya

Interactive workshop:

Supporting d/Deaf students in modern foreign language classes: Hilary McColl