Monday, March 10, 2014

Døveskoler (Deaf Schools)

Students sharing a book in the reading nook.
Interesting stories are everywhere.

You just need to know where to focus your attention.

About three years ago a documentary film maker wondered if there was a story to be told at my school.

He arranged a visit to see if he could fashion a film around our unique setting. After spending some time in my classroom and talking with us, he felt certain there was indeed a story.

However, it was not one he could tell.  He simply couldn't decide where to look.

Happily, this wasn't the case when we were visited late last year by a crew of Danish filmmakers eager to capture our story.

Through interviews with students, teachers, parents and administrators they highlighted the joys and challenges inherent in educating deaf and hard of hearing children at a dual language (American Sign Language and English) school.

The part I found most fascinating during this experience was watching the cameraman.  Where did he point his camera?  And through his lens I began to see things I see everyday with fresh eyes.

I followed his gaze to a group of children sharing a book in our reading nook and thought, "Yes, that a story right there!"  What would I think about these children and the classroom environment if I only had this picture to go on?  It really does speak volumes about their ability to share, to learn, to engage, to focus.

In the thirteen minute film below I throughly enjoyed seeing how the camera focused on the small moments in the classroom.  The hands fingerspelling a word.  The inquisitive faces of the children. The motion and energy of the school.  Although the film is in Danish and sign language these things are universal.

I am grateful that it taught me, once again, where to look.

It turns out I am surrounded by some pretty amazing things.


Owen Tales said...

Wonderful to see that dream of ours from years ago, native ASL & native English teachers & kids. It's fabulous such a beautiful dual language classroom with such respect. PAH!

Owen Tales said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Reed said...

How cool! A movie! I'll be sure to watch it when I'm not at work.

It's great that following cameraman's attention was enough to show you something new. That's what photograophers are supposed to do, right?!

37paddington said...

How wonderful to see you in your element. ASL is such a a beautiful dance.

Gary said...

Owen Tales - It is a dynamic that makes a great deal of sense for everyone involved. I have been lucky to be paired with some wonderful teachers too. I continue to learn so much.

Steve - It was fun to see things from a different perspective. I admire you folks who can help others do that.

37 - The school has truly become a second home. There are times when it makes me frustrated but mostly there is joy. I agree, ASL is beautiful and I never stop being in awe of the fact that I am in a classroom having conversations with my students without speaking a word.

Xpressive Handz said...

Gary, FABULOUS!! What an excellent example of why we need schools, classes and teachers like you for our deaf and hard of hearing children. I love the "All Signs Point to Success", btw.


Related Posts with Thumbnails