Children of Deaf Adults as Third Culture Kids

Children of Deaf Adults as Third Culture Kids

READ MORE & WATCH THE RECORDING

Who are Codas?

Codas are the Children of Deaf Adults. This means that biology makes them de facto members of the hearing world because they can hear. But they are also native ‘speakers’ of sign language because they grow up with one or more deaf parents.

Let me repeat that. Codas can hear but they are native users of sign language. They grow up signing with their parents who, ironically, are deaf but are often non-native users of sign language.

Photo by Jo Hilton on Unsplash

What do Codas have to do with Third Culture Kids?

According to Erin Mellett, a medical anthropologist, Codas grow up straddling the Hearing culture and the Deaf culture, feeling like they belong to both and neither. They often identify strongly with Third Culture Kids because of the shared experience of inbetweeness.

“Growing up I wanted to be deaf.”

It’s a warm day in early June and I’m sitting across from Tyra, a Deaf Education researcher and professor. Afternoon sunlight streams through the office windows, silhouetting Tyra as she talks about what it was like to grow up with a deaf father.

“I tried to jam pencils into my ears so that I’d make myself deaf.”

“Did you want to be deaf because your dad was deaf?”

“I think he wanted. I knew he wanted. He would have preferred to have deaf kids. And within my social world and my…yeah, within my world the people who are at the core, who are, you know, the top of the social hierarchy are the deaf people. And everybody else is on the periphery. And so that’s my frame of reference is being on the periphery where I’m not quite part of it. And never will understand what it means to be deaf.”

Erin Mellet, MS Thesis, Cochlear Implants and Codas: The Impact of a Technology on a Community

Want to know more?

Join us on July 24 at the FIGT Research Network webinar to hear Erin Mellett and Alexander Laferrière talk about the Children of Deaf Adults (Codas) as Third Culture Kids.

Erin is a medical anthropologist and will be speaking about her research on Codas. She will show us how she uses the Third Culture Kid literature as a analytical concept to better understand the Coda experience

Alex is a third generation American Sign Language user within a large Deaf family and will be sharing his own experiences of growing up as Coda.

UPDATE (Aug 25): The seminar was held on July 24. The write up & recording is now available on the FIGT website. READ MORE & WATCH THE RECORDING, which includes American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting.

The Graduate Roundtable: Sociology of Education

I’ll be hosting The Graduate Roundtable at the FIGT Research Network this month. It’s the inaugural session. For more info click here.

I’m thrilled because Richard Pearce, PhD, who has supported my work for many years without having even met me, has agreed to act as a Guest Advisor. We’ll also be joined by Mari Korpela who was doing her postdoctoral work back when I was doing my PhD and Heather Meyer who was doing a PhD as the same time as me. Mari, Heather and I, along with my examiner Anne-Meike Fechter, met at the EASA conference back in 2014 in Estonia (folks, did you know that that’s where Skype was invented). The Graduate Roundtable will be like a mini, semi-reunion.

Of course, the main course will be served by the graduate students who will be sharing about their current research. One of whom is Preeti Samuel Rajendran, a fellow TCK who not long ago reached out to me about her research because she had read my book and liked it. She has such a fascinating upbringing and I find her research topic fascinating. It’s so different from what I’m used to hearing.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Home

Let’s start from the very beginning …

News & Stuff is where I will be posting about various events that I am organizing or any news, info or events that I find interesting or just random musings and thoughts and commentaries.

Honestly, I don’t have a clear plan for this section, so join me for the ride and let’s see how it goes!

But whatever it is, I’ll need coffee to do it—that’s for sure!

(And yes, I do like The Sound of Music. Who doesn’t? … Well, okay, we tried making my dad watch it but he fell asleep within the first 15 minutes all three times that we tried. Ha. As for those who missed the reference, the title of this post is taken from the scene where Julie Andrews gets the kids to sing the Do Re Mi song up on a hill.)

Language & Power: Stories from Asia – A TCKS of Asia event

Have you ever felt uncomfortable that people around you perceived you as superior for speaking a certain language or inferior for speaking it with the ‘wrong’ accent? Have you ever heard someone at school accusingly ask, ‘Why are all the Korean kids sitting together in the cafeteria?’ Or have you ever wondered why your mom didn’t know how to make brownies when everyone else’s did? And why all the characters in the novels your English teachers made you read had blond, brown or red hair but not black? Or perhaps you changed your name to, say, ‘Jay’ or ‘Erika’ to make it easier for your teachers and classmates to remember?

As children, we start life without any understanding of why things are the way they are or why things like language, culture and race matter. But it doesn’t take long before we begin to internalize the messages we receive from the cultural hierarchies we see around us, which can have a lasting impact and take a long time to unlearn. Even those with an international upbringing are not immune to it.

In this forum, we will and talk about the experiences of Third Culture Kids who went to schools where the dominant language and culture were different from home and how it affected them.

Danau Tanu will be interviewing Isabelle Min, a coach and former radio host and television broadcaster for KBS who speaks five languages and grew up as a diplomat kid.

The forum recording is now available as a Third Culture Stories podcast episode – Click here