Last week I was teaching in deaf Camp in Laguna (Central Philippines). I said, “King David trust God.” I noticed I got some blank looks. I asked if they knew what “trust” meant. They spelled it and signed it. But no one could explain what it means to trust. I have also noticed some of our students did not know what it meant to be lazy, to be patient, or to believe. They knew the spelling and sign of the words, but not the meaning. Many times, teachers think that their students already understand the meaning to the words and signs they are using. But it is often true that they are only pretending to know. When asked for the meaning, they do not know. Ask, “What does this Mean?” Many times we assume (think) people know what we are talking about. But if we really slow down and ask questions, we will find out they do not know. The Philippines is a nation with many English speakers. You can easily talk to almost anyone on the street. They may speak English, but it does not mean they really understand English. I often ask people if they understand this word or that meaning. They often do not know. Asking helps to know what is and what is not understood.Watch the Eyes. Watch the eyes of people. Eyes will often tell you what people do and do not know.Slow Down – Teach your lesson, but go slow and stop and explain if needed. I often end up on other subjects, when I see they do not know some meanings. I stop, explain, and THEN continue the main lesson. Only continue after you are sure they understand everything. Reaction – Watch people’s reactions. Reactions will tell you if they understand or not. People will react by agreeing, signing back to you, and doing other things to show you they do or do not understand.In closing, do not think everyone knows and understands the meaning to signs you are using. Ask questions, find out what is known and teach so they can understand. If they do not understand, then they do not understand! Understand? As is often stated, “If they do not understand the way you teach, then teach the way they understand.”
Teach so they can understand!