Textbooks — they are a required part of a students education. But that doesn’t mean that they’re always understandable. Elija:” Yes, all my books are in English.” Elija Flores is a Deaf Arizona State University student and a research assistant. (typing) For her the English textbooks are understandable, but that’s not how it is for all Deaf people. Elija: “People have different ways of processing different things and information. They may have also learned grammar structures in different ways.” Raychelle: “All Deaf students have had that experience of being required to read something before class, and then discuss it in class. But they haven’t been given the opportunity to get that information in ASL yet. It was always English first, first, first — and then the ASL came second. It was time to change that.” And that’s what professors, Felicia Williams and Raychelle Harris, from Gallaudet University did by making the first ever ASL Videobook. Video: “What is research exactly? How do you research something?” Felicia: “Many people struggle reading English, so we wanted to figure out a way to have both. So they could read it and watch the ASL together.” The companion videos are a summary of the Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology book. Raychelle has taught courses on this topic before, but was only able to use the textbooks available. Raychelle: “Nothing was signed — you had
to read all of it in English. It didn’t sit well with me especially since I teach an online course to all Deaf students. I feel like they should have both languages available.” Video: “We don’t simply present a brief ASL summary of each chapter — we infused our summaries with examples from the ASL and Deaf community.” For Raychelle, the Deaf aspects of the books were most important. And she hoped that increased access would lead to greater things in research. Raychelle: “History has shown that scientific research can really hurt the Deaf community. Deaf people can suffer because of it. Now we want Deaf people to have access to understanding how to conduct research –” Felicia: “Yes! Exactly!” Raychelle: “And become researchers themselves.” While this is the only ASL video book so far, students like Elija are hoping more get released soon. Elija: “I think it’s great for Deaf people.
We need more options.” Felicia: “I hope this inspires people to support an alternative learning style. Some people just learn better visually.” You can access the REEP videobook for free at ASLchoice.com