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Friday, July 21, 2017
   


Our Philosophy

The primary mission of the Ohio School for the Deaf is the education of its students. The needs of students are most critical. Communication should be based on the best interests of the students.


OSD offers deaf students an environment where they can receive information directly and visually. In the classroom, this enhances learning opportunities. Outside the classroom, this allows development of social and personal skills. OSD also offers students an opportunity to see Deaf and hearing staff interacting in an open, communicative barrier-free environment.

Communication is both more than and less than language. Every person has a right to be exposed to an accessible, bona fide language. Use of a common language facilitates clear communication. Good communication may occur without the benefit of a shared language when all parties are flexible and accommodating.




Principles:

  1. The purpose of communication is the exchange and discussion of ideas. Clear communication supports the learning environment, enhances students' understanding of lesson contents, and facilities resolution of disciplinary problems. When signing is marginal, the level of class content suffers. One measure of effective communication in the classroom is student learning.

    Learning occurs most effectively in a student's primary language. Concepts learned in the primary language transfer readily to second language instruction.

    All our students should have the fullest possible access to information, whether they are proficient in ASL or in English or have not yet developed a bona fide language. Because our student population is diverse, it is sometimes necessary to code-switch in the classroom. 

  2. Communication at OSD must be inclusive, respectful, and flexible. Everyone must be willing to make accommodations to foster understanding.

    OSD encourages respect for individuals' backgrounds and their communication styles and abilities. ASL users may differ in degree of proficiency, accent, and dialect. Signing is generally clearer when done without voice. However, signing with or without voice is sometimes a matter of choice to be negotiated between signer and audience.

    Students from different backgrounds have different needs; all should feel welcome however they communicate. The debate should not be about who is deafer than whom; it should be about communication that considers everyone's needs. We must respect ASL and Deaf culture, but students should not feel discriminated against or subject to criticism because of the way they communicate.

  3. Attitude is a key ingredient of successful communication. Creating a campus climate that accepts differences is key. We must be patient with people who are learning sign language. New signers should be helped and encouraged. Leaders on campus, both Deaf and hearing, must model attitudes of inclusive and respectful communication. 

  4. Members of the OSD community need to understand and practice communication etiquette suitable for an environment which includes both Deaf and hearing people. Everyone should sign all the time in campus public places and whenever someone who is Deaf is present in order to allow equal access. Whichever language we use, it is possible to use behaviors that leave people out. Private conversations should be conducted in private.

  5. Good training and assessment support good communication. Appropriate training and evaluation are crucial. People who work at OSD are encouraged to learn American Sign Language. OSD strives to make classes as accessible as possible to all staff members. Administrators and supervisors encourage all employees to attend sign classes. Deaf students and staff who know ASL still need to formally study ASL.

  6. Direct communication is crucial to OSD. Every member of the OSD community has the right and responsibility to understand and be understood through direct communication.

    OSD faculty should sign well enough for themselves to communicate clearly and spontaneously. OSD staff members should sign well enough after a fixed period to communicate without an interpreter in the completion of their duties.

    When direct communication is impossible, we should rely on the professional interpreters who work for OSD. We need to remember that when interpreters are present they are there for everyone, both Deaf and hearing. 


(NOTE: This philosophy and supporting statements were adapted from Gallaudet University Communication statement)

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