Antoine Hunter's blessing to Share!

Antoine hunter share his thought and word to the people!

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Some of you asked where the written works that I've written for VSA..About working with Deaf people in classroom.

While I feel blessed to teach what I know- sometime having limit doesn't do justice on what I want to teach but I do hope that one will get something important rather than nothing.. Keep in mind i had to keep this under 300 words.. I really hope you all keep sharing your wisdom as I keep sharing mine. Please also share feedback if you want. 
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From the VSA and Accessibility Office at the Kennedy Center


A photo of Antoine Hunter.
By Mr. Antoine Hunter
The Deaf community exists in towns and in schools around the world. With a slowly increasing presence in popular media again (through television shows like Switched at Birth and actors like Marlee Matlin), this tight-knit community is currently receiving a bit more recognition. Here are five tips on working with Deaf students, which apply to school-age students and life-long learners!
1. You have to get my attention in order for us to communicate, right?
As a dance teacher, I know that just getting students’ attention can be a challenge sometimes. When working with a Deaf students or hearing lost students, you can first try calling their name; all levels of hearing are different and some have more than others. If that doesn’t work, and you are in the student’s line of vision, try waving. If all else fails, go to the student and LIGHTLY tap the person on the shoulder and wait. I’ll also ask my students, Deaf and hearing, to point at me, when I say pay attention and when that happens, it helps bring everyone’s attention to the center so we can begin.
2. Environment plays a big part in effective communication and comfort.
Are you in a well-lit classroom or are shadows running across your face and mouth? Is the room noisy or calm and quiet without lots of vibrations? Hearing aids help to amplify hearing, i.e. noise levels, which means ambient sounds are often increased to a confusing and uncomfortable level. Deaf can sometime find heavy background vibration distracting. Be sure your classroom and surroundings are peaceful.
3. Deaf students love music too!
People often ask me what music they should use in dance classes, and in 2010 I offered some suggestions in Dance Teacher Magazine. I suggest finding music that has a bit of something for everyone. For example, Miles Davis’ album Doo-Bop and James Brown’s "I Feel Good" both have heavy bass and high horn pitches happening at the same time. Explore all kinds of music and find something for everyone to enjoy. Be aware that musical vibration is easier to feel when holding still, so play a musical rhythm first and then get everyone moving, Or play that music SUPER LOUD! 
4. There are many ways to communicate.
If you understand sign language and can sign with a student who is Deaf, that’s great! But there are other forms of communication; find out what works best for the student in that situation. Some prefer writing things down, and others can read lips and prefer you to speak clearly as you normally would. Your body language and respect are most important when communicating with a Deaf student. Turn your body to face the students so they can see your lips move, and don’t put your head down. If something is happening or is said elsewhere, let the student know.

Oakland, California-based dancer Antoine Hunter is founder and director of Urban Jazz Dance Company and the Bay Area Deaf Dance Festival in California. He teaches ballet, hip hop, modern, jazz, African, and creative dance to students of all ages at 10 different schools and performing arts centers in California’s Bay Area and serves as Bay Area Black Deaf Advocate President

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