Deaf Studies: Welcome to Second Year

I don’t love getting up at 5 a.m., but it’s good to be back.

ISL 3 begins on Monday 10th September 2018

So, we begin a new year with new lectures and new lecturers. This semester’s timetable is quite nice. On Monday morning, we have three hours of ISL 3. And that’s it for the core module. Now, there’s also a broad curriculum requirement, and I got “Understanding Literature”, so I have an additional one-hour lecture on Monday afternoon. I’m the only one in the class doing that broad curriculum course.

Monday was, of course, introductions. We actually had an interpreter in the first two hours of our ISL class, as our lecturer, Carmel Grehan, reviewed the Common European Framework of Reference for Language Learning and how it applied to ISL, and gave a brief overview of the course requirements. Trinity is in the process of changing its calendar, so some assessments are timetabled differently than they were last year. For the final hour, once the interpreter had left, we watched a video of Carmel signing and then attempted to explain it back to her. It initially stumped me, and I think everyone, but once I’d grasped the introduction most of the rest of it was fairly easy to follow. It’s amazing how much a bit of context can make the whole thing snap into place. I’ve not had much opportunity to practice my sign over the summer, but I’m reassured that I haven’t forgotten it all.

In Understanding Literature we were again given mostly an overview of the course requirements. The assessment is in the form of one essay and two fact-based in-class quizzes. I recall CS Lewis writing that fact-based quizzes were the best way to assess literature: it forces the learner to actually *read* it. On the other hand, he was talking about teaching schoolkids, not university students. We won’t be told the essay titles until week six: this is, apparently, intentional, as he doesn’t want us to focus in on one area too soon.

I’ve read some literary analysis online (most notably Kit Whitfield’s excellent first-sentence analyses), and was already somewhat aware of how it works, but it’s not something I’ve ever studied. It’ll be interesting, if I can keep up with the reading list. The only book on it I’ve already read is *The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde*. We’ll see how it goes.

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