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Inclusive mihi

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Started by Chrissie Butler 12 Jun 2013 9:51pm () Replies (3)

signing ABC Over the last year or two, I have been exploring what it means to underpin story telling with UDL principles.

Like others it has become second nature to support my mihi, after speaking it in te reo Māori, with some photos, to provide more opportunities for people to make connections.

Today, in a meeting with some new colleagues, one of whom has a hearing impairment, my story telling needed a definitie leg up.

I now see that I also need to be able to sign my mihi as well. It's not a big ask, in fact it's quite a captivating prospect. I just wish I had got my act togther sooner as I believe it would have strengthened the relationship more quickly. 

After the meeting I had a chance to chat with the two people who were signing/interpreting during the meeting. I asked if there were ways of doing things that would have more inclusive. They shared the following suggestions:

  • Raise a hand to signal that you would like to contribute to the discussion
  • Wait until the person before you has finished speaking before you begin, or wait until the person chairing the meeting invites you to contribute
  • If you can have someone chair the meeting that's great, especially when lots of people are going to want to contribute, otherwise this can get very confusing for both the interpreters and the person reading the signing,
  • If you put written material on a screen, give people sufficient time to read it before you begin speaking
  • If possible give everyone any handouts prior to the meeting, so people can read them before hand,
  • Captions on videos are wonderful because they give the people signing a break. They are also imperative if there is no-one signing.
  • Don't rush. Keep speaking measured and if possible clarify what you want to say before you start to speak so that you don't waffle too much. Signing waffle can be pretty demanding!

Regarding next stpes for me, I am lucky that I can ask Patrick another member of this BeL SEN for some help  and he can coach me re. where to start. 

Maybe Patrick, you might also share some of your thoughts here about how we can learn togther to introduce signing into our introductions and welcomes. And if anyone else has experience to share in thsi area, we'd love to hear your stories.

And to catch your imagination, here's one of my favourite spoken word artists called Rives.

If you would like to view the Rives Def Jam with its interactive  transcript plus user comments on YouTube, it's pretty special.

Attribution Some rights reserved by edenpictures


  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 12 Jun 2013 10:08pm ()

    I had never heard of a spoken word artist but you are right- it is artistry.

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 13 Jun 2013 2:29pm ()

    Great post, Chrissie. Rives is always a winner:)

    The other day at a school, I watched the students sing and sign the national anthem at the start of an assembly, with the help of this video from Deaf Aotearoa NZ:




    Straight after that, a class presented their mihis and I was thinking about how they could incorporate sign - and how I could too.

    I have downloaded the NZ Sign Language app so I can begin to add a few signs at the start. There also this thread in the VLN from NZ Sign Language Week for those who are interested:)

    And I was reminded of this neat video from Deaf Rapper - nice example of the way sounds and visuals combine to support a creative process:

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