"Observation-supervision" is a radical departure from the usual method of launching the practicum training of interpreting students by requiring them to observe other interpreters who are working in live situations. Instead, observation-supervision begins by having interpreting students observe in-vivo activities relevant to interpreting practice (e.g., a medical interview or a college class) but where, for the time being, deaf consumers and working interpreter are not present. This allows students to focus on the "normal" yet complex nature of such situations without the added distraction of attending to an interpreter's sign language choices or a deaf consumer's particular service circumstances. Students engaging in these observations complete an "observation sheet" that structures their observational activities and thought processes according to the D-C schema. Subsequently, students turn in their completed observation sheets to the instructor(s), who provide individual supervisory feedback and use the collected observation information to lead group supervision sessions where the class discusses issues of sign language, specific translational decisions, Deaf culture, various types of deaf consumers' potential needs, and other specific interpreting practice matters. In this way, the specifics of interpreting practice are superimposed "on top of" the broader context of these service environment norms that the students were able to observe in-vivo. The developers believe that this two-step process (where "hearing" environments and communication norms are first observed and learned, followed by deaf-specific issues) is superior to traditional in-vivo training methods.

Contact Robyn Dean for further information about observation-supervision training opportunities.

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