Category Archives: deafculture

Lessons for Change From the Deaf President Now Protest

Have you ever wanted to make a change? Maybe you would like to improve your child’s school? Change something in the community or even the government? This month we remember one group who made a huge difference at Gallaudet. They also changed the Deaf community as a whole, forever.

The Deaf President Now (DPN) protest was a huge success. It is taught in every beginning ASL course and any class on Deaf History and Culture. Again and again we tell the story of DPN. The pride and joy that was felt on the day that a Deaf president was sworn into the office of President at Gallaudet University is still felt every time it is told.

Why do we feel such joy?

Could it be because a group of ordinary people (people like us) were able to do something amazing in the face of opposition by those who were in power?

Was it because they made real change happen?

Is there something that YOU want to accomplish that you feel is impossible?

Is there something that you want to change that affects you and your life?

I know there is!

What made the DPN protest so successful?

What can WE learn today and apply to our own challenges we are facing?

On the Gallaudet website there is an article that lists some ideas as to why the DPN protest succeeded so completely and so quickly. I’d like to take a quick look at some of these factors and how they can work in our lives to move us forward to success in any organization and against any challenge.

  1. They had a TEAM. In the DPN movement there was a huge number of community members involved. They included deaf and hearing students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
  2. The DPN Team used examples. The protesters looked to the past at what had worked in their time to overcome similar issues of oppression. Then they used similar strategies. Since 1989 many things have changed in the way that political battles are fought. It is a good idea to look to recent history and current political methods for good examples. The best way to move forward in a fight against oppression in the political world often changes.
  3. A PLAN:
    • The group of protesters had clearly defined goals. Their approach was focused and direct.
    • Talking to the right people: the DPN protesters focused on communicating with the Board of Trustees. These were the people that could take action on the demands they were making.
    • The protest leaders were incredibly organized. They began the groundwork for their movement months before the actual protest, got the media interested early, and once the protest started, formed an organizing committee and control center.” (The Week of DPN, Epilogue)
  4. Legal, ethical, moral: The protest was non-violent. In almost every way, the protesters respected the law. No one was injured and minimal property damaged.
  5. Use your strengths! The students who became leaders through this protest were able to clearly present their case to others and address an audience. They were intelligent and able to present a strong argument.

What does this mean for you?

When you look to make a change in your life, in an organization, or in government, these are great tips to follow! This is how DPN was successful.

First, decide what you want to change. Then, get a team. Using examples from others who have succeeded, make a plan. Finally, stay on target and keep it legal, ethical and moral! Use the strengths that YOU have! This is how we can change our world.

Reference: The Week of DPN, Epilogue – from

Boost Students’ Self-Esteem and Motivation in Just 5 Minutes!

Boost Students’ Self-Esteem and Motivation in Just 5 Minutes!

Every teacher wants their students to have a higher self-esteem and more motivation, right?

You know those first 5 minutes of the day when kids are chatting away and won’t get in their seats? Or the 5 minutes right after lunch when they just don’t want to settle down and start to work? Or the first 5 minutes after passing period?

Why not take that 5 minutes to share a snippet of Deaf Culture or History?

We know that including Deaf Culture and History in your classroom will provide your students with a sense of optimism and excitement towards learning and understanding the daily curriculum.



A study, Self-esteem and Coping Strategies among Deaf Students “showed that identification with the Deaf community significantly contributed to positive self-esteem. Results also revealed that deaf students with greater degree of hearing loss and with bicultural skills that help them function in both the hearing and the Deaf community generally have higher self-esteem.” (Jambor, 2005)

Including Deaf Culture and History in your classroom will support students in finding their own identity with the Deaf Community and develop bi-cultural skills. Your students’ increasing self-esteem will show results in classroom performance! It’s WORTH IT!

It’s 5 minutes!

Here are some ideas:

  1. Share one event from a deaf history timeline.  Here is one from Gallaudet. You can purchase a deaf history and culture timeline featuring 200 years from 1800 – 2000 at our store. Check out a great video with highlights from this timeline!
  2. Check the news to see if any deaf individuals are featured and get the latest news in ASL!
  3. Pick a card from the We Succeed Because We Can classroom kit, available at . Share about that individual and the career he or she is in.
  4. Play an ASL game.
    1. The well-known handshape game is always fun for students. Pick a different handshape each time you play.
    2. The childhood game of ‘Telephone’ can be adapted to ASL with fingerspelling. Have the students line up in a straight line. The first player picks a spelling or vocabulary  word and fingerspells it to the next person in line. Make sure the others can’t see! Then the second player fingerspells it to the next and so on. The object is to see if the last player spells the same word that the first player picked.

For more great ideas on how to incorporate Deaf Culture and History into your daily school routine, download our free resource for educators:

To purchase copies of the We Succeed Because We Can and Time Line poster for your classroom and other great educational products, see: Our store.

We salute you educators! Your job is challenging, yet rewarding.

You CAN change your students’ outlook on themselves, education and history in just 5 minutes a day! You got this!  


Jambor, Edina and Elliott, Marta. “Self-esteem and Coping Strategies among Deaf Students,” Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education vol. 10 no. 1 © Oxford University Press 2005






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