Through Deaf Eyes
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Discussion Guide

Discussion Guide


For easier printing, download the PDF version of this discussion guide (80k).

THROUGH DEAF EYES does not approach the topic of deaf history from the perspective of sentimentality or of overcoming the inability to hear, nor does it deny the physical reality of being deaf. The documentary takes a straightforward look at life for people who are part of the cultural-linguistic group who use American Sign Language and often define themselves as “Deaf” — with a capital, and cultural, “D” — and deaf people who, for a variety of reasons, do not identify with the Deaf cultural community. The history often shows that intersections between deaf and Deaf people are many and that oppression and discrimination are common experiences.

The film is full of surprises and stories that often reflect unusual experiences. These puzzling events in the lives of Deaf people demonstrate a complex relationship with the hearing society. Outstanding themes, underscored through these stories and worthy of discussion, include:

  • The broad sweep of U. S. history intersecting the experiences of Deaf people.
  • Deaf education’s evolution.
  • The enduring linguistic debate on how to educate deaf children.
  • The creation and expansion of the Deaf cultural community.
  • Technology’s role in promoting significant social change for deaf people.
  • Technology as an agent of change.
  • Deaf leadership and activism.
  • Deaf / deaf self-identity.

This guide accompanies the film and supports facilitators as they engage community members, students and others interested in the documentary in dialogue about the issues highlighted in THROUGH DEAF EYES.

Note for Educators: Teachers can use these questions as a springboard for discussions about Deaf life in America.