DHH, Imaginative Education, Environmental Education, Plurilingualism
What is DHH?
This is a question that would require explicit description for. The three letters “DHH” stand for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Professional audiologists throughout the world perform tests on Deaf and Hard of Hearing children and adults in order to properly find the levels of hearing losses. Losses range from mild to profound.
Many Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals would be naturally fit with devices that aids amplification through the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants, based on their levels of hearing losses. There are many Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who do not wear hearing aids or other such devices for one reason or another.
There are always questions regarding Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals’ abilities to communicate. Quite a number of them are able to speak, while others are unable to, due to an inability to discriminate speech sounds. It is so vital to the DHH community to find ways to communicate, and their preferred use of language is Signed Languages. There are quite a number of Signed Languages throughout the world; for instance, American Sign Language (ASL) is widely used in the United States of America and Canada while in Britain British Sign Language (BSL) is used. Germany, Sweden, Russia and many other countries also have their own unique signs. It is also important to indicate that there are many who do not know any sign language. The most disheartening reason is that opportunities to acquire signed languages are often missed, for reason that they have not had contact with deaf communities. This is a topic of interest that may be discussed openly and among others such as identifying Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH).
What is Imaginative Education?
There is a common preoccupation among society in general about the effectiveness of the variety of educational approaches taken up by many different schools all over the world. Educational institutions and governments are usually concerned about results in standardized tests instead of looking at the root of the problem. We should focus on taking action about how to make knowledge about the world around us meaningful for students. After years of studies and research on imagination and education, Kieran Egan proposes an Imaginative Education theory, aiming to provide teachers with practical tools for engaging students’ imaginations routinely in their classrooms. By putting imagination at the center, improvements in educational achievement will emerge. The principles suggested within this theory offer a new understanding of how knowledge grows and how students’ imaginations work in learning.
Another unique aspect about Imaginative Education is about engaging students’ emotions in learning about any content in the curriculum. “Imagination is tied in complex ways to our emotional lives.” (Egan, 2005, p.xii) It allows students to connect with the content in a meaningful way and awakens a sense of wonder which leads to genuine interest about our world and its rich cultural heritage. We would be more likely educating people who will make their environment and community a better place.
“Engaging the imagination is not a sugar-coated adjunct to learning; it is the very heart of learning.” (Egan, 2005, p. 36)
“I strongly believe that it is possible today to turn the system around and, instead of looking at charts that hierarchize children according to “expected outcomes”, to look into their eyes and let the real teaching begin”. (Cant, 2014, p.175)
***the second quote is not essential to explain what imaginative education is but it shows part of its essence.
Egan, K. (2005). An imaginative approach to teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass.
Egan, K; Cant, A; Judson G. (2014). Wonder-full education: The centrality of wonder in teaching and learning across the curriculum.
What is Environmental Education?
“All education is environmental education” David Orr, 2004 –Earth in Mind
By examining some of the major issues in curriculum and pedagogy, such as multiculturalism, gender, race, human rights, ethic of care, and technology advancement, it is apparent that the prevailing educational system can no longer accommodate and sustain a world of diversity. It also fails to recognize the environmental crisis as part of the world’s major issues. Presently, the planet bleeds from the depletion of natural resources and is wounded by monstrous pollution. Atrocious natural disasters are screaming out loud the truth of an imbalanced nature caused by humans. Global environmental and social crisis is first and foremost “problems of the mind” (Bai, 2004, p.4) and “a crisis of values, ideas, perspective and knowledge” (Orr, p. 126). Therefore, seen as a cultivating ground of mind, perception, and values, education should rightfully take on this challenge to take practical actions in promoting a sustainable planet. For this very reason, environmental education cannot be a separated discipline or categorized only into the department of natural sciences but it needs to be an integral part of all education. Moreover, to incorporate environmental education, we not only need to move away from the traditional curricular division but toward humility, a healing in relationships, and cultivation of a sense of place in order to teach our students ecoliteracy, practical skills, responsible ways of using technology and foster true community engagement that includes the biotic life.
Bai, H. (2004). The three I’s for ethics as an everyday activity: Integration, intrinsic valuing, and intersubjectivity. Canadian Journal of
Environmental Education, 9, 51–64.
Orr, D. W. (2004). Earth in mind: On education, environment, and the human prospect. Washington, DC: Island Press.
What is Plurilingualism?
According to Daniel Coste, Danièle Moore and Geneviève Zarate:
“Plurilingual and pluricultural competence refers to the ability to use languages for the purposes of communication and to take part in intercultural interaction, where a person, viewed as a social actor has proficiency, of varying degrees, in several languages and experience of several cultures. This is not seen as the superposition or juxtaposition of distinct competences, but rather as the existence of a complex or even composite competence on which the social actor may draw.”
(from PLURILINGUAL AND PLURICULTURAL COMPETENCE, Studies towards a Common European Framework of Reference for language learning and teaching. Council of Europe)
The Scholastic Map of the 4 Areas of Our Expertise
Based on the following 6 conceptual ties amongst our focus areas, our work shall be constructed through dynamic formation of tiers and systems derived from and/or drawn up with the concepts that constantly become available to us.
DHH × Plurilingualism
Signed languages are not simply complementary to their spoken or written languages. Multimodality existing in the communicative competency of DHHs should be examined with in-depth observations and analysis in the users’navigating of multiple resources of lexical, syntax, script components as well as other communicative competences such as ‘body language’. Such qualitatively fine research with lenses of plurilingualism and pluriculturalism from the perspectives of sociocultural inquiry and cognitive science seems critical in this globalization era where DHHs in international immigration should not be overlooked.
Imaginative Education(IE) × DHH
Environmental Education × DHH
Plurilingualism × Imaginative Education(IE)
IE is full of exceptional tools of teaching and learning. As seen in Imaginative Literacy Program (ILP), application of its core principles is powerful in literacy education. This seems not limited to monolingual education, and to be robust assets for multilingual education. Such Northern American-born theories developed in socioculturally diverse context are now spread all over the world. We believe that it shall be a worthy body of study to investigate IE with regard to the notions of Plurilingualism from the European construct point of view.
Plurilingualism × Environmental Education
Raising awareness of ecological sustainability has been a significant area of the societal concerns. Education is one of the pivotal functions for awareness development in such a scope of the current world. When thinking of awareness, cultural diversities at communal, institutional, and national levels may become a crucial part of consideration for social betterment around environmental issues. At this point of our strategic plans for research/activities, we aim at holistic exploration on pluriculturalism and plurilingualism towards better mutual understanding on environmental issues across borders of languages and cultures.
Imaginative Education(IE) × Environmental Education