Melissa Smith - Possibilities and Pitfalls of Educational Interpreting - 2/20/15
Possibilities and Pitfalls of Educational Interpreting: A Call for a Paradigm Shift by Dr. Melissa Smith
Dr. Smith presents findings from a study regarding what qualified educational interpreters do and why they do it. Data indicate that the complexity of educational interpreting extends beyond the expected tasks of educational interpreters. Overarching motivations in school contexts also inform interpreters' moment-to-moment decisions about what to do. These decisions, in turn, impact the experience of deaf and hard of hearing students. This presentation discusses how to be better prepared to meet the unique needs of Deaf and hard of hearing students in mainstreamed school programs. Strategies for how interpreters can more effectively negotiate situations they face in educational contexts will be shared. Dr. Smith calls for a paradigm shift, suggesting that the roles and responsibilities of educational interpreters must be examined more thoroughly. It is time for all stakeholders-interpreters, interpreter educators, teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students, parents, students, teacher educators, and school administrators-to reach consensus about what interpreters need to work more effectively in school contexts.
Dr. Smith is professor and director of the ASL-English interpreting program at Palomar College in California. She holds a doctorate in Teaching and Learning from the University of California, San Diego. Her research explores the practices of interpreters working in public schools and was published as More than Meets the Eye: Revealing the Complexities of an Interpreted Education (Gallaudet University Press 2013). Her background in education, as a second language learner, as an interpreter, and interpreter educator allows her to examine the work of educational interpreters through multiple lenses. Critically, as the parent of a deaf teenager, she brings a unique perspective to the work.