Thursday, December 13, 2012

The End of Bachelor's Degree: Wow

Here I am: at the end of the semester and facing my fate of obtaining a Bachelor's Degree.

I never thought I would see this day so fast. I was here for 3 1/2 years and time went flying by.

This class, Multigenre Literacy, was one of the most interesting classes I could take here at CSUN. I think it's because it had a variety of things that we could apply to the classroom. I mean, think about it: Myths, poetry, media, and globalization within a movie. Before this class, I was thinking about using books and poems to help my students understand English better. Then during this class, I realized there were more options that I could do to make English visual for my students, which is perfect because all deaf students are visual. There is no way of making lessons auditory.

Song lyrics, as much as poetry could be different from music, can help my deaf students understand the meaning of poetry because this is a part of popular culture. Almost every deaf student knows the lyrics to popular songs because that's what their hearing friends listen to. They're curious as to why someone would want to listen to songs, so they could google the lyrics and figure it out. That can be applicable to poetry to make it visual for them because I can upload videos that have ASL translations for songs.

For myths, that's a tougher lesson I could teach my deaf students because as much as myths are an older tradition of our culture, it might be hard for them to understand. However, I could incorporate deaf myths into their lessons. By that, I mean sharing stories of the deaf community of different deaf characters that were created to help motivate the deaf community. (I have no idea if this exists. I'm pretty much making this up in hopes that it's true!)

Media is the most important thing I could ever use for my deaf students. I can use videos that use ASL, use movies that show morals about the deaf community or morals that fit in how they feel, and I can use video games to allow them to learn different things. Like my example about Assassin's Creed - how that can be used to learn history. However, video games are a little bit harder because some video games don't have subtitles for the voice-overs. 

The only thing that could be the hardest thing for me to do is globalization. If I had to teach that to my high school students, it would be tough for me to explain. I would have to read up on more of that stuff because I feel like I learned only basic stuff so far. Even though I took Wexler twice (Popular Culture and MultiGan) and he mentioned globalization in both classes. It needs to be taught to me more than two times, I guess.

This class was a great class. I loved all the assignments and I loved how interactive it was. I don't get to experience this kind of class often so it was a nice break for us to be able to work together, even though I don't like group work. Group work in this class really benefited me a lot. I'm going to miss this class, but I'm proud of the work I've done in this class and I look forward to being able to apply some of the stuff I learned towards to my teaching career.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Deaf Utopia

Alicia Ponce
Professor Wexler
13 December 2012
Deaf Utopia
            Deaf Utopia is something that all deaf individuals think about. What if they lived in a world where all the hearing people no longer put them down? This is a world where all Deaf people are accommodated to the best of their abilities. The movie Babel focuses on a variety of characters where they are all connected to one another. One character, Chieko, is a Deaf Japanese girl who recently lost her mother and is going through hard times with her father. The way the producers perceived her as a true Deaf individual isn't what Deaf people are.
            Chieko is known as a rebel during the whole movie. She experiences the loss of her mother, having to communicate with her father, and experiencing anything a normal teenager would during hard times. Watching Chieko go through the partying stage and expressing herself through sexual desires isn't what all Deaf people do in reality. This is one way the hearing people have put down the deaf community. The movie portrays all the Deaf Japanese girls as partiers. The audience doesn't get to experience the Deaf Japanese girls where they don't party. This gives the misconception that all Deaf Japanese girls are partiers. The producers should have made it clear that when someone is in mourning, they are more typical to go through a rebellious stage, despite the fact they can hear or not.
            Another example of Cheiko being a rebel is when she flashed her private area to the boy that was checking her out in the middle of the restaurant while she is hanging out with her girlfriends. The guy doesn't see her signing so he assumes that she's hearing. Later on, when she is playing a video game with one of the girls, he tries to approach her from behind her back. Being deaf, she can't hear his greeting, and he tries to tap her on the shoulder. When she started signing to her friend and she interpreted for her, he said "never mind" and walked away. That's a putdown by the hearing world. In a Deaf Utopia, there would never be a single person who would say "never mind" and walk away. They will stay and use paper to write back and forth, use sign language, or talk slowly for those who can lip-read.  
            The Deaf Utopia allows all deaf individuals to think about how it would be better that they wouldn't be ignored by any hearing individual as shown in Babel. "Its function lies not in helping us to imagine a better future but rather in demonstrating our utter incapacity to imagine such a future—our imprisonment in a non-utopian present without historicity or futurity—so as to reveal the ideological closure of the system in which we are somehow trapped and confined." (Jameson 46). It's hard for deaf individuals to believe such a future could happen because all of them know it's hard to change their minds to make lives better. It's a part of risk management because what if it doesn't work out to be the best solution? They will change it back instead of trying to move on with better solutions.
            While the movie shows there is diversity within all the characters, Cheiko is one of the most diverse characters of the movie. "The history of capitalism is one in which enormous human diversity has blossomed and been socially articulated along lines of class, race, nation, gender, sexuality, religiosity, as well as urbanism, technology, literacy, institutions of social welfare, specialized expertise–all of which can be captured by the term difference." (Martin 5). Her character is deaf, Japanese, and of the upper-class level. While she may be diverse with her deafness, it's typical of Americans to view Japan as rich. Cheiko lives in a penthouse with her father. Her father is always gone on business trips, which leaves Cheiko alone at home. This type of situation is very common of those in the upper-class society.
            Another perspective shown about deaf people in Babel is the form of communication they use. Sign language is the main way of communication because it's visual and it allows them to easily communicate about any topic. This is a part of Deaf Utopia where there are no communication barriers. In Babel, there are several communication barriers that are common in the Deaf world. Cheiko is not a representative in some ways of how to communicate effectively with a deaf person. There were several situations where Cheiko or another person would explain that a person who wants to speak to Cheiko needs to face her and speak slowly for her to understand what is being said. Lip-reading is not a perfect method of communication between the deaf and hearing. A better way to communicate is something else that Cheiko did: using a pad of paper and pen to write her answers to the person asking questions. However, this is also a misrepresentation of how to use this method of communication because the hearing person doesn't write back. The hearing person needs to be able to write back so that the deaf person doesn't have to read lips. Babel should have presented better ways to communicate with a deaf person better than they did.
            Deaf Utopia is a place where all deaf individuals don't have to worry about communication barriers. The Deaf Utopia has all sorts of diverse people where deaf doesn't count as a part of diversity. Every hearing person that lives in the Deaf Utopia would be able to communicate with sign language or pen and paper. There would be no trying to lip-read within the conversations. All deaf people would be accommodated, unlike Cheiko in Babel.

Works Cited

Babel. By Guillermo Arriaga. Perf. Brad Pitt. 01 Distribution, 2007. DVD.
Jameson, Frederick. "The Politics of Utopia." New Left Review. N.p., 2004. Web.
Martin, Randy. "Where Did the Future Go?" Logosonline. Logos 5.1, 2006. Web.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rough Deaf Representation

Hey everyone, here is my upcoming essay. This is only a partial draft that will expand into an even better draft for next week.

I plan on focusing on the deaf culture in the movie and trying to see if it meets up to par as to what is really happening in the real world.

Here are the scenes I plan on commenting on (some will be long, some will be short):

  • The Deaf volleyball game - Deaf applause because the Deaf can't hear hands clapping
  • Father driving her in the car to the restaurant - the conversation between them is a pretty common way of communication between a hearing parent and a deaf child (which in terms of this movie, is a teenager).
  • The scene at the restaurant where she spots the guy - she's attracted to him, but is he attracted to her? He doesn't see her signing so he assumes that she's hearing.
  • When the guy spots her and tries to get her attention - he tired to say hi to her behind her back while she was playing the game, but because she can't hear, he couldn't get her attention, so he resorted to tapping her on the shoulder. That is the typical way of getting attention of the Deaf person.
  • She's rejected because she's Deaf - she's rejected because he doesn't want to bother with adjusting the way he speaks for her to understand, which is typical in the hearing world when the majority of hearing people find out a person is deaf. The common phrase "never mind" and walking away is pretty common after that.
  • She takes off her underwear to get attention - she can't speak for herself and this is a way of acting out, which is in no way a good representation of a Deaf individual. Not all Deaf are rebels like she is in the movie. She's frustrated because she couldn't express herself to her dad so she uses sexual desires to get another man to pay attention to her.
  • She hits on the dentist to get attention - same as the last one.
  • The lip-reading/talking slow from the detective for her to understand - that's for some Deaf people, but this movie makes it seem like it's common for all Deaf to be able to do this. Not true because lip-reading is not successful as a lot of hearing people think it is. It's hard to do and it's best to use pen and paper.
  • The drugs and drinking and partying - not all Deaf people party, drink, and use drugs. This is more of a global rebellious kind of thing instead of related to Deaf culture.

And as the overall method of communication, pen and paper. This is a huge representation of communication between a deaf person who signs and a hearing person who doesn't know how to sign. This way, they can communicate using the written system. However, writing skills need to be overlooked because the point is the message, not the grammar. 

For the most part, Deaf culture is shown well, but there were a few things in there that didn't seem right and I want to make it clear that not all Deaf do this. I feel like a lot of people who will watch this will think that this is what all Deaf are.

I'm working on how I could do this without making it seem like a flop. It's kinda hard. So I will appreciate any feedback I can get :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012


We watched Babel during class this recent Thursday.

While I'm not going to analyze the movie just quite yet, I have to make a few comments that made me a little surprised about this movie. I was surprised when they were focused on the Deaf Japanese girl because I never thought the movie industry would be aware of other Deaf cultures in different countries. I was shocked when I saw the "deaf applause". I was thinking: why are they doing that? Is someone deaf? Then it turned out it was the whole team that was deaf. I was pretty amazed. This Deaf Japanese character has to be my favorite because she represents a different kind of person the world doesn't generally think a Deaf person could be.

I love this movie because they purposely made it that each character are connected one way or another. This is true in so many ways here in the real world. I mean, the Deaf community, maybe might not know everyone, but one person knows that person who actually knows your friend. Maybe your friend dated a person who actually dated your best friend. So many different connections. I was happy to see that the movie shows that because it's obvious that it's true in so many ways in the real world. You can't deny the fact that everyone knows someone in this world that knows someone else. I think it's called the six degrees of separation...? Not sure of the phrase because I'm not one that uses it often.

I can't wait to do the assignment for this movie. I look forward to answering the many questions that relate to the prompt.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Media Literacy Presentation

I have to admit - I think this will be the most fun project I've had for the class. Our idea is amazing (yes, it is) and I'm having so much fun researching for my part. We just met in class 8 hours ago and I'm already doing my part of the presentation. The reason why I love this so much is because I know I can relate - even though I don't actually do what we will present about. I've seen others use it since 2007 and I can recall a lot about it. I don't want to reveal what we're doing because I'm sure my group doesn't want to admit it yet.

Even though we had one person missing today, we got a lot done. I'm proud of us - and I'm glad that this is a college level class because we called our missing member and kept him updated on our progress. This class has been a great experience and I'm learning more every week.

I'm enjoying the group work, even though it's hard to meet up with group members outside of class. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Myth: Done Media: In pogress

Mythology is done with and I'm happy about it. However, I did learn new things about mythology. I realized that myths are still in our literacy. They just have modern twists to them. It's pretty cool. I was happy when I figured out the sacred place could be related to Holes because the myth talked about how the water would heal the sickness, but only if he went back to see the mysterious woman. The same concept can be applied to Holes because the main character carried the young boy up the mountains to drink the water from the river while singing to him. He followed through what his great-great-grandfather was supposed to do, forever releasing his family from the curse.

Now we have to think about how media influences the classroom. My group has some interesting ideas and I can't wait to explore more about that. I do believe that media and technology are changing the environment of the classrooms. The students are no longer able to pay attention to lessons. They seem to be hands-on more and want to do something that involves graphics, videos, music, etc. I wonder how my class will develop their ideas based on that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I have to admit something about mythology - I never understood it. The basic myths, sure, but when it came to the ones that were long and about something I had never heard before in my life, I didn't want to hear more about them. I'm trying my best in this class to have an open mind about mythology. It is proving to be difficult at some times.

Another thing I have to admit about mythology - I tried to take a class about Mythology my junior year in high school. I thought it would have been a fun class, but it turned out it was reserved for seniors only, and I couldn't participate to the highest expectations of this course. I think it was the teacher that made it seem like it would have been fun for me. But I wasn't qualified enough yet to take this course.

My opinion about mythology is I think that it depends on how teachers apply mythology to their lessons. They have to make it appealing. They have to make it fun, even though it seems to drag on and on for some myths. Other myths are short so it's hard to make them visual, but that's the challenge. So I'm looking forward to see how mythology could be incorporated in our lessons for teaching English later on.