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Why is learning Deaf Culture important for ASL students

Share what you have learned about Deaf Culture and why it is important.

32 Comments to Why is learning Deaf Culture important for ASL students :

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Samantha Michaelson on Friday, September 23, 2016 8:40 PM
Learning about deaf culture is very important because its important to deaf people. They have a lot of pride in there culture. Also its important to know the right things to say so we don't offend anyone.
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Anthony Santiago on Sunday, February 05, 2017 2:47 PM
Hi Samantha, Yes, it does matter for them to feel acceptance, but reality is that upper most its important for me because as human I want to enrich my values and being able to make other part of my life is essential. For them, it won't matter as much cause their lifestyle is being address as the can actually listening when in reality most of us who can hear don't take our time to get educated. And Yes, they are proud of their culture but been scare of offending their culture doesn't make any of us feel like we are equal. I had made a lot of mistake but for the most part they appreciate your intention of make them feel normal. I wont treat them any different than I treat my friend who are blessed to have no impairments. My vision is not to have them feel away from this world, but to empower them with reality and encourage to go for more. That being deaf is not a barrier.

Michelle Liaszenik on Saturday, September 24, 2016 12:23 PM
Learning about deaf culture is important for asl students because it helps us to better understand the people that we are learning how to communicate with. Whether it's knowing the history or just knowing proper sign language etiquette, it is the same as learning another spoken language - in order to learn the language you need to also be willing to learn about the people that use that language.
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Madison Rix on Saturday, September 24, 2016 5:03 PM
Learning about Deaf Culture is important to ASL students because we are going to be interacting with different people throughout our lives. We need to be aware and understanding of others. Especially when we take part in activities in the deaf community. We have to be respectful just as we want others to be towards us. Learning about Deaf Culture is important so we can work together and understand the language we are choosing to learn about.
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Madeleine on Sunday, September 25, 2016 11:47 AM
I think that learning Deaf culture is important because in order to interact with people in the Deaf community, you can't just know the language. For example, we learned in class how to identify people, and part of that is pointing at them. In hearing culture, we're generally taught not to point at people because it's considered rude. I'm sure that is just one of many differences between Deaf and hearing culture. Without knowing those things, I'm sure it would lead to a lot of misunderstandings between Deaf and hearing people. Learning about Deaf culture at the same time you learn ASL is one way to help combat this.
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Kacie O'Connell on Sunday, September 25, 2016 10:15 PM
I think learning Deaf culture is important, especially before learning ASL. It is always useful to learn about the background of the new language because knowing the culture can give us a better understanding and a greater motivation to learn the language. It is helpful to learn the strategies of ASL and how to communicate most effectively and cordially with a Deaf person.
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Jane Mairs on Wednesday, February 01, 2017 10:07 AM
The posts that I read about learning Deaf culture include a number of points about why it is important: Because it helps us learn proper Deaf etiquette, because it communicates our interest in and respect for Deaf people's lives and cultural norms, and because it teaches us about the bigger context in which ASL is used. I think that learning about Deaf culture and its contrasts with hearing culture also helps us see our own cultural norms, norms that have become so ingrained in us that we don't even realize that we have them or why they are there. For example, when I learned that Deaf people are open to talking about who much they paid for something, because it is important for them to share this information, it reminded me that Deaf culture really is a different culture, not just a different language, and that in hearing culture this kind of information is so much easier to obtain that it can be roped off as an inappropriate or impolite conversation topic.

Leila Melendez on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:15 PM
Learning deaf cultures is important because it gives speaking people the ability to learn about how others live. It gives us the opportunity to connect with the hearing impaired. It is important to ASL students because we want to be able to communicate with students who are hearing impaired. Learning about the deaf culture is important because we want to be respectful and gain a new experience. As an ASL student, I want to be able to learn about the deaf culture because I love all cultures and want to learn about life through different experiences.
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Madeleine Fordham on Saturday, October 01, 2016 2:17 PM
So I attended the Deaf Panel at HCC this week, and it was really interesting to see different peoples experiences of being Deaf/deaf. For example, the way people's parents brought them up, oral vs. with ASL, cochlear's or not. I was talking to my friend after the panel, and she asked "Why wouldn't you want your child to hear?" and I really wanted to explain it to her but I didn't really feel like I understood it myself, let alone be qualified enough to explain it to someone else. And that's an issue I really wish I was more informed about, so I could educate others.
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Jennifer Gonzalez-Morales on Saturday, October 01, 2016 10:56 PM
Learing about the Deaf Culture is important to ASL students because it give a better understanding of their world. Learning ASL is not just learning another language. ASL is more than a laguage; ASL reflects the Deaf Culture as well. So ASL students need to be exposed to the Deaf Culture and have acknowledge. Deaf Culture is not like any other culture that is visible and others can tell. Deaf Culture has many details that are not visible and other must learn, respect and accept if they want to be part of it.
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Eric Carreira on Sunday, October 02, 2016 6:08 PM
I also attended the panel presentation at HCC, which was part of the college's celebration of Deaf Awareness week. The last week of September is recognized internationally as Deaf Awareness week, also known as International Week of the Deaf (IWD.) Read more here: The four panelists had diverse backgrounds, experiences and points of view. However, the tie that binds them is their connection to ASL and Deaf Culture. As a student of ASL, I find it absolutely essential to learn from Deaf people, about their experiences and about their culture. For an ASL student not to learn about Deaf Culture would be like a student who wants to learn Japanese but doesn't learn anything about Japanese culture. How can you truly communicate with and understand another person if you only know about their language and nothing about their culture? The panelists were asked "Is there a Deaf Culture and how do you define it?" One person responded "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. He said that because of culture he is able to laugh, enjoy life, and grow as an individual. He said he is able to stand before us and share his ideas because of his culture. I found this to be a very moving and insightful moment.
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Robin Fordham on Sunday, October 02, 2016 8:29 PM
Understanding Deaf culture is important in the context of learning ASL because it allow students of ASL to understand that ASL is not solely a replacement for spoken language. One would not learn French without learning about French food, wine, philosophy, etc. Because auditory deafness does not necessarily occur in a distinct population, hearing people might be less likely to understand that a complete Deaf culture exists. Learning Deaf culture alongside ASL will augment the language piece with an understanding how Deaf people engage with one another on community.
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JANNETTE RIVERA VEGA on Sunday, October 02, 2016 9:56 PM
As much as I want to learn ASL I need to know how they values and their tradicions are. I think that learning ASL is as learning to live and a new city you need to know what they like and why they liked. All of this will help us to become a better person in this field it doesn't matter which are the reason we want to learn ASL the best way to learn anything is starting for scratch and understanting as much as we cant about the subject.
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Jennifer Gonzalez on Friday, October 07, 2016 10:25 AM
I read the follwing article: This article is about the culture aspects of hearing loss from the author's view. The author is the daughter of a mother with a critical hearing loss. The author expressed herself about her experience with the Deaf culture and the way hearing people wants to "fix" the deaf people. In the article the author talks about the difference between the big D Deaf culture and the small d deaf culture. The author also talk about cochlear implants and the effect they have on the Deaf culture. It's a 4 pages article that I suggest you read, it will give a taste of the Deaf culture and why they continue to fight for they rights like any hearing people have. Deaf people aren't different from hearing people, the Deaf culture is different from hearing people culture but that does not mean they do not have feelings, needs, and desires. Deaf people are human just like hearing people. Deaf people should be treat it with respect and not look like they are dumb because they are not dumb. They are smart and resourceful.
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Eric Carreira on Sunday, October 09, 2016 12:47 AM
I'm a huge fan of Dr. Bill's ASLU website at, which I mentioned in my first blog post. Dr. Bill is really amazing, and there's a ton of wonderful resources on his site for learning ASL. Today I wanted to share an excerpt from his statement on Deaf culture:
"Culturally Deaf people in America use American Sign Language. We love to swap stories about Gallaudet University, and the various state residential schools for the Deaf. We value deaf children and our Deaf heritage. We hate the thought of anything that would destroy our Deaf world. We believe that it is fine to be Deaf. If given the chance to become hearing, most of us would choose to remain Deaf. We tend to congregate around the kitchen table rather than the living room sofa because the lighting is better in the kitchen. Our good-byes take nearly forever, and our hello’s often consist of serious hugs. When two of us meet for the first time we tend to exchange detailed biographies and describe our social circles in considerable depth.... Members of the Deaf Community do not consider themselves to be disabled. They see themselves as a cultural group bonded together by common experiences and a common language. Members of this community don't want be be Hearing! If given a choice the vast majority would choose to remain Deaf! That doesn't mean that there aren't "d"eaf (physically not-able to hear) people in the U.S. who consider themselves disabled. There are indeed many such individuals, but they are generally not fluent in ASL and are not culturally Deaf, therefore they are not members of the "cultural Deaf Community."
You can read the full statement here: The Q & A's that follow the statement are also very interesting and insightful.
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Madeleine Fordham on Monday, October 10, 2016 5:12 PM
Something I find very interesting is what is considered rude in Deaf Culture vs. Hearing Culture. This started because when referring to someone in ASL, you must point at them. HEaring people are often told from a very young age that pointing at people is extremely rude and that we must never do it. I looked into it a little more, and found that Deaf Culture in general considers many things that hearing people find rude to be quite normal - for example discussing health, salary, etc. something hearing people are told NEVER to do. And it says that this may be because hearing culture is more individualistic, while Deaf - Culture is community oriented - something we learned in class!
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Kathleen Musiak on Tuesday, October 11, 2016 9:16 PM
Learning about deaf culture is very important, because it helps expand your views on the world, and your ability to communicate well with others. I am greatly looking forward to attending the ASL Idioms workshop, as well as the Painting.
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Victoria Dias on Sunday, October 16, 2016 2:45 PM
Learning sign language opens new opportunities for you to communicate with people you never thought you would be able to.
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Ainsley Murdock on Thursday, October 20, 2016 12:16 PM
I think it is very important to learn Deaf culture, especially when learning ASL. It makes the whole experience better and helps you to better understand the history and culture of the language.
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emily lacombe on Thursday, October 27, 2016 9:55 PM
learning about deaf culture is important because it helps me to know and understand the background of the language that I'm learning. it gives me an in site to the world that people in the deaf community deal with on the daily basis.
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Leila Melendez on Sunday, October 30, 2016 11:53 PM Watch this video. It amazes me how children and babies catch on so quick. Starting to teach new languages at a young age connects us to a new culture. Although this is educational, it is also fun for the child. It gives parents and friends bonding time with children even if we spare 5 minutes to teach. An hour of teaching is even more vital to learning and engaging the babies brain. I really enjoyed this video. What do others think about the video?
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Victoria Dias on Sunday, November 06, 2016 11:11 PM
Learning deaf culture is important because it shows you all the challenges they face. It shows you what things mean and how to use them. And it opens you to many new opportunities.
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emily lacombe on Sunday, November 13, 2016 3:42 PM
this past week I had to write a reaction report for my sign language class, and I then in turn had to read an article. in this article it explained that deaf people have a really hard to sometimes read lips and that lip reading is not the best way to communicate with them, ASL and physical writing is easier than lip reading.
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Amanda Coombs on Sunday, November 13, 2016 4:31 PM
Hello I recenty read this article from a deaf person who has been deaf from birth. I found it very interesting. I loved the perspective he gives and how positve and confident she is in who she is. She also gives her expeirience when she got cochlear implants.
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Victoria Dias on Sunday, November 13, 2016 5:46 PM
It is important to learn deaf culture to hear about how far the deaf culture has come. And learn all the changes
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Jannette Rivera-Vega on Sunday, November 20, 2016 8:04 PM
I have been watching videos all this days and I can't stop. It's so amazing how people with differents believes and cultures doesn't want to be part of how others believe. In this video he talks about his life and how he wants hearing people to be part of the deaf community and understand the deaf peoples needs.
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Krista Tudisco on Sunday, January 29, 2017 5:18 PM
When learning a new language, learning about the background of it and the people that speak it as a first language are as important as learning the language itself. I knew little about ASL when I began class last semester. The wealth of information learned, not just the signs but the culture behind the signs, brings this language to such a higher level for me. The beauty this language brings holds more to me now that I have learned some of the struggles that have been had (and are still being had) by the Deaf community as a whole. Also, the bond the Deaf culture hold is almost enviable for me. So knit together because of decades of turbulence and by a language that is their own. I feel privileged for this opportunity to learn this language and for the glimpse I am receiving into a culture so misunderstood.
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