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Homework, Requests for assistance:

Using the Deaf Community as your unpaid teaching assistant is inappropriate.
Also see: Token Deaf Person


Dear ASL teachers,

If you assign your students to do a research paper by contacting and interviewing experts in the field -- please make sure to have your students include your full name and email address so those of us who are taking care of your students can send you an invoice to bill you for the time we took away from our own jobs and projects.

Allow me to be blunt:  Stop telling your students to interview a Deaf person unless you plan on paying us for our time.  Otherwise you are abusing your paid employment to create unpaid labor for individuals who are Deaf. 

There are many Deaf who welcome the opportunity to do volunteer work but you should not presume that to be the case. Put money into the hand or transfer it to the account of the Deaf person and if they wish to reject the payment after receiving it you'll know they are serious about not being paid (instead of just feeling pressured into helping you). 

If you want your students to learn about the Deaf world directly from Deaf people an appropriate approach is to buy books or other published materials from Deaf sources so that the authors and creators can receive a paycheck like you do in your day job.

If you can't afford such materials personally then encourage your school's librarian to allocate a portion of the budget for Deaf-authored material and place it on reserve for your students.

If you really care about the Deaf Community then support the Deaf Community instead of just teaching about us and taking advantage of our time.   For example, stop skipping the first 30 seconds of the advertisements on Deaf created content on YouTube and elsewhere so that Deaf creators can benefit from the ad revenue.   If you don't want your students to see the ad then start the video before class and pause it after the ad so that it is cued up and ready to go when your students are ready. Or contact the creator of the material and pay a reasonable amount for an ad-free copy of the material to show in your class.


William G. Vicars, EdD
ASL University


In a message dated 11/19/2009 12:10:27 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, █████ writes:
Hello Dr. Bill,
 My name is █████ from California. I am currently taking an American Sign Language class the first level at our local college...and I have to do a report on a movie that we had watched called Love Is Never Silent and i was wondering if you knew anything about this movie/report if so i was wondering if you can help me get started. I know your not my teacher but I had saw that you I think are an asl teacher...but if you can that would be great! What i really need help with is knowing where to start and what to write about in terms of the movie. I do have a couple of things that my teacher gave the class including me of what we need to write about here they are...
 1) New insight or understanding about deaf community, culture
 2) Missing info?
 3) Cultural conflicts (signing in public)
 Hope that makes sense.
 Thank you


I suggest you ask your teacher the questions you asked me:

"Where do I start?"

"What should I write about in terms of this movie?"

Also ask: "Do you have an example of good reports that previous students have written for OTHER movies?"

My suggestion is for you to watch the movie twice with a notepad in your hands.  Also watch it with close captioning turned on (if you can) and write down quotes from the movie that you feel relate to what the teacher is looking for in terms of cultural insights, conflicts, or missing info.

Use or some other online dictionary to look up the words "culture" "insight" "conflict" etc. and use those definitions as starting points for your notes.

Dr. Bill







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