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DC-S Workshops

“It all Depends…” Introduction to Demand-Control Schema

Robyn K. Dean, M.A., C.I./C.T.

After attending this workshop participants will never look at interpreting work the same way again. This workshop dispels several myths about the work of interpreting. First is the myth that interpreters are not active and influential participants in the communication event. The second myth is that the constructs of language and culture, the ways we usually learn about and talk about interpreting work, are sufficient for capturing the phenomenology of interpreting work. The last myth is that there is a limited set of best practice behaviors that, if followed strictly, interpreters will always be ethically sound.

In this workshop, we reconstruct the interpreting event by reformulating and adding to the language and culture factors present in the work with particular emphasis on healthcare interpreting. We pay careful attention to the impact of our decisions and ourselves on the communication event - and not by denying that this impact exists. Last, we will use a very different language around decisions and ethics that creates a best practice process by which professionals can evaluate the myriad decisions available to them in their work. Participants will leave this workshop with new insights about their work, their decisions, their consumers, their colleagues, and the interpreting profession through a new, structured, and holistic paradigm.

Educational objectives:

  1. To understand the current state of the interpreting profession and its lack of a sufficient schema.
  2. To learn about Demand-Control theory (D-C), its relevance to the field of occupational health and the connections between wellness, effectiveness, and ethics.
  3. To gain experience applying the constructs in demand-control schema (DC-S), including the ethical decision-making approach of DC-S dialogic work analysis.
  4. To learn about the importance of supervision in practice professions and how supervision could be used in the field of interpreting.

Demand-Control Schema II, An Ethical Dialogue

Robyn K. Dean, M.A., C.I./C.T.

In the two subsequent training sessions which follow the introductory workshop to demand-control schema (DC-S), participants are taught how to effectively use DC-S as dialogic work analysis in discussions with their colleagues, mentees or students. Dialogic work analysis is the most powerful aspect within DC-S work because it teaches students/mentees how to employ a best practice process .

There has been a significant shift in ethical expectations of the RID from a deontological, or a rule-based approach to a more technological, or goal-based approach. Given that, it is the responsibility of teachers and mentors to no longer teach students what to think ethically but how to think ethically. Unfortunately, most working professionals and educators have learned to make ethical decisions through trial and error and now make most of their ethical decisions intuitively, making the transfer of that knowledge clumsy and likely ineffective.

This workshop will show mentors and teachers how to translate their intuition into constructs and language which then can be readily imparted to students. This workshop will also discuss how mentors and teachers can evaluate student and mentees critical thinking skills.

Educational objectives:

  1. To gain hands-on experience applying the D-C schema through the use of situational analysis tools.
  2. To understand and accurately identify the elements in supervisory conversations that create a “best practice process.”
  3. To learn how to use these teaching tools (situational analyses) with mentees, accounting both for the accurate application of the schema and in the teaching opportunities that emerge from these exercises.
  4. To understand the use and benefits of the observation-supervision approach which builds on and utilizes the D-C schema for effective training in content-specific fields (e.g., medical, mental heath, legal).

Case Conferencing/Supervision in Interpreting

Robyn K. Dean, M.A., C.I./C.T.

In his book, The Courage to Teach , Parker Palmer says, “The growth of any craft depends on shared practice and honest dialogue among the people who do it.” However, Palmer is concerned that the current dialogue in the teaching profession is reduced to the technique of teaching and fails to appreciate the human issues of the profession. He suggests that in reducing the profession of teaching to mere technique, we diminish the human-ness of the teacher and “…people do not willingly return to a conversation that diminishes them.”

These comments regarding the teaching profession are also true of the interpreting profession. Yet, the growth of our craft depends on the ability of professionals to share information about effective practice in a clear and honest manner. Palmer suggests that the teaching profession begin a new topic of conversation, structure that conversation with ground rules, and provide the leadership for this honest dialogue to happen.

Talking about your work for the purposes of improvement – reflective learning practice – has many other names: peer consultation, case conferencing, supervision , etc., and is used by many professions as a tool for professional development and the maintenance of ethical behavior. Given the parallels that the interpreting field shares with these other professions it is noteworthy that this common practice is rather foreign to the field of interpreting. However, establishing such a practice within the interpreting field poses many challenges. Some of the barriers include a long history of interpreters feeling criticized by their colleagues, beliefs about the mandate of confidentiality, and doubts about the benefits of discussing one's work with peers.

In this workshop, we address these barriers directly, employ a practice profession approach to interpreting using the demand-control schema, and outline how one might employ this professional development strategy – a strategy that does not place analysis of one's work in an abstracted hypothetical but in the tangible and practical experiences of daily work.

Educational objectives:

  1. To learn how to identify and structure dialogue about the interpreting event using the dialogic work analysis.
  2. To gain practice and experience in case presenting
  3. To understand the importance validation in supervision and how to use it as a technique in encouraging behavioral change.

Demand-Control Schema for Supervisors, Mentors and Educators

Robyn K. Dean, M.A., C.I./C.T.

Demand-control schema (DC-S) training for interpreting supervisors, mentors, and educators is approximately 30 to 40 hours in length spanning a three to five month period. These training hours have been traditionally divided up into two or three in-person visits; this seems to be the most effective approach. However, it is conceivable that a week-long format would work also. On-line support for the duration of the training along with an extension following the training is available for an additional per-person fee.

The initial training session (ten to fourteen hours) is designed to be an introduction to the demand-control schema for interpreting work. It can be designed in a general workshop format which would not require a cap on the number of participants. It could also be designed as a program-specific training where the introduction would be geared toward supervisors/mentors and educators only. The goal of this initial training is to discuss the theoretical construct of DC-S. This aspect of the DC-S work addresses three important topics current in the profession: interpreter health and wellness, effective interpreting practice, and ethical decision-making.

The second training (also ten to fourteen hours) is designed for those interested in how this new schema can be taught and used in training programs for interpreters or in supervisory and mentoring relationships. The first training is a prerequisite for the second. If the initial training is opened to a wider audience, then the second training should be kept to about fifteen to twenty participants. For participants continuing on to the second training, homework focused on direct application of the demand-control schema will be assigned. In the second training session, participants learn to reformulate and restructure the elements of interpreting work in accordance with the demand-control schema and its dialogic work analysis method, in particular. Participants will learn to use a structured language around ethical decision making and how to employ this language in case reporting and in supervision discussions.

In between the sessions, participants will be encouraged to use the on line through a Blackboard “course” which provides participants with the opportunity to complete the assignments themselves or to use the assignments in the classroom with support (e.g. grading of assignments) from the trainer.

Educational objectives:

  1. To gain hands-on experience applying the D-C schema through the use of situational analysis tools and the DC-S grading rubric.
  2. To understand and accurately identify the elements in supervisory conversations that create a process for making ethical decisions using a teleological or consequences-based approach.
  3. To learn how to use these teaching tools (situational analyses) with students, mentees, or practitioners accounting both for the accurate application of the schema and in the teaching opportunities that emerge from these exercises.
  4. To understand the use and benefits of the DC-S teaching methodologies such as observation-supervision for use in the classroom.