Narrative-Based Research for Social Change
Edited By Ahmet Atay and Mary Z. Ashlock
Chapter Four: Disability Subjectivity in Educational Contexts
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Disability Subjectivity IN Educational Contexts
SANDRA L. PENSONEAU-CONWAY AND JULIE S. COSENZA
My office phone rings, breaking my focus on the computer screen. “Sandy Pensoneau-Conway,” I answer. The voice on the other end introduces himself, establishes a bit of common ground based on mutual conferences and such, and then explains the reason for his call:
The student is deaf. I don’t know what to do about the public speaking requirement, given that the state has standards that each student has to meet as a requirement of the general education articulation agreement. And the student gets an interpreter, which is a resource that other students don’t have. I thought that, given your role as the course director, you may have had this situation before and could offer some advice.
I worry that, in my response, I’m not able to withhold judgment. I understand his intention of wanting to treat all students equally—despite the fact that equal is not equitable. I hear in his situation the desire to hold the course accountable to the standards of the state—despite the fact that standards are a form of institutional discourse that cannot, by virtue of being institutional, account for individual difference. Such standards cannot bridge “the gap between action and expectation” (Scott & Lyman, 1968, p. 46), the expectation of the standard and the action of the individual. I sympathize with the ways he feels...
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