Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Texting Ban in DR of Congo

One of my friends posted on facebook a link of BBC news which was about banning SMS (short message sending) a text messaging in DR of Congo. Deaf people in DR Congo now face difficult communications because their main communication which was SMS  is now banned. .

The government of Dr of Conge claimed  it banned texting  to  preserve public order" because they had been used to "incite ethnic hatred. I am surprised how that government decided to ban SMS for just security reason.  Why they did not ban other telephone communication? I just think this is a bullshit and oppression against deaf community in that country. DR of Congo is one of the most dangerous countries in the world and deaf people in that country had endured so much oppression, and now their government banned texting.

There are large deaf community in Dr Congo. According to BBC, “there are an estimated 1.4 million deaf people in DR Congo”.  Al thought I doubt about this estimate, I think there are large deaf community there . Now because of banning SMS, deaf community have no contacts. According to BBC, Pastor Kisangala, the deaf community's religious minister in the capital, Kinshasa says, “Our members are scattered across the city, some are ill in hospital, others are dying. Without communication we don't even know about it”. It is just heartrending.

I hope deaf community in that country will find a way to communicate. I just can’t imagine how hard communication they have to face because places like Dr of  Congo is not easy to find Internet.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hate having Communication Barriers

I am just sitting  a lone on a couch several  feet a way from  student club meeting in RIT campus center typing this post. I can see people talking and arguing.  My face is turning red like I have a high fever over 100 degrees. But I don’t have high fever, however, I am somehow sick. I am sick with having communication barriers which I can’t blame on anyone. 
Tonight one of the clubs that I am involved in is having a meeting and there is no interpreter. My club requested an interpreter for the meeting yesterday, about 30 hours before the meeting which is the normal time when you have to request interpreter. NTID has access service where deaf students can request interpreter for classes, meeting and other service. As member of E-board of my club, I have responsibilities and I have to attend all the club meeting.

Being deaf with communication barriers and trying to do what you want is something that will always make you feel weak and dependent on others. I don’t mind being deaf and depending on someone to interpreter for me. However, what I am not happy is that I am in deaf college and when I requested interpreter I didn’t get one? I don’t think this is fair. Access service in NTID need to be able to provide communication services  or at least inform deaf if they can’t assign interpreter for them. They have to satisfy deaf student’s communication access. It would have been   nicer if they had informed me that they would not provide interpreter for me before I came to the meeting.

Deaf Students and Earning BS/BA Degree

In my first day In my Scientific bases and  society responsibilities  class,my professor Dr. Denise Thew wrote on the board 1%. She asked students to figure out what that stands for? At first we were confused. But to my surprise, she told us that the figure shows approximately percentage of deaf students who go to college and earn a bachelor degree!. This statistics surprised and shocked me. I asked myself why can’t deaf students who go  to college don’t earn B.S degree? I think there are many reasons why deaf students don’t success in college like other students.

First it could be  lack of motivation and desires  from deaf students. I have seen a lot of deaf college students who are not concerns about their success in college, despite having so much support unlike deaf students who went to college before ADA. For example, my professor Dr. Christopher Lehfeldt went to college before ADA without so much support and resources for the deaf like today. Yet, he was able to success in college and earn Dental degree. He is dentist and he has been doing it for decades. There are many deaf professionals who succeeded in college by working very hard and if every deaf college student works hard and have motivation they could success.

Secondly, language barriers could be why deaf students fell behind. Deaf student usually struggle with English language because most of them became deaf before acquiring spoken language. How deaf students are supposed to be fluent in English when they never acquired spoken language?  How are they supposed to be able to write a great college papers like other hearing students when they never heard those words?  During my written communication two class in NTID, I have seen deaf students who were determined and were working very hard but had to struggle so much with English. My professor,Dr.Denise Thew, deaf psychologist and post doctoral fellow,  says “Several reasons that only small percentage of deaf students acquire BA/BS college degree would be lack of equal accessibility to language and resources (such as interpreters, note takers, deaf role models, etc)”.  Further more Dr.Thew suggested that a delay of learning language whether it is English or ASL, or other visual language,  could be one of the several factors why deaf students don’t success in college. She said  “while growing up, as well as delay in learning the language (either English or ASL) because the discovery of hearing loss occurred after the critical period of language development, or the individual didn’t have the opportunity for a bi-cultural approach”. if the deaf children are not able to acquire spoken language in their early age, then there would be less expectation that they wwould acquire when they grow up.

I have seen a lot of deaf students in NTID who have been going to this college for 4 years, yet, the only degree they receive is Associate degree. May be if the deaf colleges  such as NTID focus more on practical teaching then there would be a lot of deaf students who can earn a bachelor degree. For example, my major is information technology. Most of the works are  done practical. Yet, if a deaf student  takes written test, he maynot be able to do well because of language barriers. But if he takes  practical tests, he could pass. By requiring deaf students to master in English language if they want to success in college and earn a BS/BA degree, would only give more advantage hearing people and there will not be a lot of deaf students who will be able to earn college degree.

I think deaf colleges like NTID and Gallaudet should focus more on practical teaching than books. What I mean is that if deaf students are required to read books like hearing students, and they are required to write great papers like hearing students. How are they supposed to success? Deaf cannot acquire language like hearing. Don’t misunderstand me, but I believe this is the main factor why many deaf students could not earn a bachelor degree. I am not saying that deaf students should be waived to study hard like other students, but what I mean is that shifting from what is written on the book to practical. It is very hard  for deaf students to be fluent in spoken language easily.  For example I am profoundly deaf. I became deaf when I was in high school and I speak several languages. Yet, English is my hardest language. I never expect to be fluent in English like hearing people. So I don't think it is fair that deaf students to be required to acquire English language like hearing and write a great college papers.