Monday, 11 March 2013

The Journey

What mental image comes to your mind about going on a journey?. Is it a car journey with padkos and long hours in a car and changing scenery, and arriving at a holiday destination. 
This is not the one I have in mind here. The book ‘North Face of God’ captures the image of the journey for me in this context better. This research project is a journey that I am on at the moment and is more akin to climbing a mountain.

There is a destination for this researcher to reach: the summit. And I like this image as the way that people climb is often quite different to the route taken by others, but the goal is the same. The scary part is realising that this is a huge task and that is this is most likely beyond my experience and stamina. This is a mental journey beyond my limits, but I know that I am not alone, and if I were then I fail most probably fail, stop, or fall. To complete this journey upwards and onwards to the summit, I need the company of a climbing team: those who have done it before, and those who know me well. This is also a spiritual journey, of living the faith with others and moving forwards, being wise, prayerful, diligent and persistent and well-equipped and protected against the cold and wet and well-nourished to complete the journey. The lack of water and food to sustain me and the team will cause the team to collapse.

So, if you are reading this, this is an invitation for you to join me on this journey, as a fellow researcher, expert, prayer-partner, pilgrim, guide, fellow-burden carrier and friend.  Did you notice how the journey by Frodo and Harry Potter was not a solo journey but a team effort built and sustained by the  loyalty, and friendship and faith in their mission and themselves and they were all changed for the better. We have a mission here. It is not my mission that you are supporting but something much bigger. And we must make haste.

I am a disciple of research, and I was born for such a time and for this project. And I am deaf, and this is one of my strengths here. Being deaf is no longer a weakness. But it is an asset in this project. And I will do whatever it takes to be true to myself and to doing this research on bilingualism as it is close to my heart.  But I also need a strong, passionate team to take up this challenge. 

So tell me what is close to your heart in deaf studies?
Let’s get started, let’s talk, let’s plan, let’s do it.   


This blog is meant to be a collection of the author’s writings on a variety of topics related to research within the academic domain of deaf studies.
Please note that this is not meant to be a site to attack people, so flaming and being rude will not be tolerated or accepted. Hence, the author reserves the right to delete any comments or responses to the blogs that infringe upon the rights and dignity of others at his discretion.
While every effort is made to check the accuracy of the content and wording and message of the blog before publishing the blog, the author is not responsible for errors or misunderstandings.
The aim of this blog is to generate dialogue around educational research in deaf studies with and amongst the reader and a wider audience on pertinent topics and issues.
This blog is intended to be a written form of dialogue of the author’s research journey and an invitation to the reader to partner with the author on this journey.
Sharing of blog posts with others needs the author’s prior permission and has to correctly quoted and hyperlinked. All intellectual property used by the author in the blog remains the author’s property.
For the sake of good ethical practice in discussing research in this blog, any information about the sites of research, participants and details that could jeopardise the identity and anonymity of participants needs to be maintained. This blog is a general blog about issues in deaf studies and deaf education in a general manner rather than focusing on a specific setting. And for this reason, responses need to adhere to this principle by leaving out any details such as names that could incriminate others. Avoid being personal and use of personal content of others in the discussions.
Now that I have said all this necessary legal stuff, I want to encourage you to participate in the dialogue that the blogs generate and look forward to your responses to the blogs through your questions and thoughts, comments and related experiences and insights that you bring and share here.  
Guy Mcilroy
March 2013

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Signing hymns

I went to church today with an interpreter there. Good, I thought. There were only a few deafies there and a reasonable interpreter, the second interpreter was not really clear, too much SE. 
And that got me thinking. I half-wondered at the time, that the songs make sense in SE. It makes it accessible I suppose, by I feel that the worship is dis-jointed and dis-connected for me. I know that sounds somewhat hypocritical coming from me because SE is often a good way for me to follow, half listening and half watching, and hopefully getting the full message. But the reality is that I am usually not following it all as well as I expect, and miss things, and I find this very tiring. This amalgam of two languages is definitely messing with my head. I need to do one and do it properly. 
How does this link to bilingual model and signing? I think that if the worship is signed well, is should draw me into the sacred space, but that does not often happen, unless I already know the songs and the signing helps to transcend the spoken words, which I already know by heart, then this becomes a moment of silence in the midst of the music as I and we as a body find God in our midst. The words have to be known to me, otherwise it is just a meaningless noise around me. At the moment, I am coming back to the hymns I know during Lent, and Easter to find the source of worship and drink deeply there. Do you know any hymns for Easter that are signed in SASL, a video of this would be great to watch. Let’s make a collection, who is interested?
That is a thought on my mind at the moment.
What do you think?

Deaf Blog 27 Feb

Am I a bilingual deaf person? I thought this has become a reality for me. But I think the real issue is that I am not a 50-50 bilingual and never will be because English is my first language, and my signing is always at second language level. So what?  Or is it so what!. Actually, I think that when I am signing, as what happening in the SASL class with third years, I found that my language processing was quite different to when I talk in English. In fact, some of the students commented, unprompted on this afterwards. Umm, that had me thinking about what Claudine said the week earlier:  I am not BI bilingual. And this is ok in the same way as English speaking person is rarely a fully bilingual user of two languages, English and Afrikaans.  
And it is for this reason that I think that being bilingual is fine for most people, as long as they are honest with themselves and their respective audiences.  So this fits in with the trans-languaging view of bilingualism, and releases me from the stress and strain to be BI, but I want to be as good as I can be, through the interactions and contact with others to improve my signing as much as possible, as there is room for growth. I wonder what Prof Young thinks about this point, and how this journey evolves?
Similarly, I also wonder what Garcia would say about this. I imagine that she would go along with this point, and I need to read her paper again to build on my understanding of her argument away from equal bilingualism towards dynamic bilingualism. This leads me to the teacher’s and their experiences and where this understanding of bilingualism  is taking them, and are they happy to go along with the ride, or want to get off, or refuse to get on the roller-coaster?  Change is scary!