• Before convening a group, view the documentary in its entirety. Become familiar with this guide, which provides discussion questions, tips on negotiating controversial issues, and supplemental information and resources to further discussion.
  • The film is two hours in length. Decide whether participants should watch the entire film or film segments individually or as a group. (If you are presenting clips, select those that are appropriate for your audience.) A group viewing of the entire film will require at least four hours to allow for thoughtful discussion time. If participants watch the film individually, they can then attend a post-viewing session that allows for sufficient discussion. (Session lengths will vary depending on group composition and your familiarity with participants.) Regardless of the viewing and discussion formats, provide participants with reading and supplemental materials that familiarize them with the film’s content, issues, and topics.
  • Smaller groups of five to eight members are ideal. You can divide a large group into two smaller ones, each with a different facilitator.
  • In hosting a screening/discussion, consider the conflicting perspectives on language use and identity. Beyond linguistic and educational experiences, be mindful of the Deaf community’s diversity. Deaf people come from all corners of the country, and while common deaf experiences unite, differing histories, understandings, and desires in the Deaf community also exist.
  • Moderate discussion where appropriate, but do not try to control the flow of dialogue or defend the film. Pay careful attention to the individual making comments, and assist them in clarifying statements if needed. For example, restate the perspective and ask others to paraphrase their thoughts. If participants disagree with each other, ask them to explain why. Be sure all participants have a chance to share their thoughts. This may require setting time limits.
  • Early planning will help ensure that you have highly qualified, professional interpreters for the event – see more about accessibility. Work with the scheduled interpreters, sharing as much information as possible so that communication can proceed unimpeded by language barriers.
  • If appropriate, point participants to resources that provide additional coverage of the film’s key topics, such as those listed on our site.
Through Deaf Eyes Documentary Discussion Guide

The documentary Through Deaf Eyes takes a straightforward look at life for people who are part of the cultural-linguistic group, use American Sign Language, and often define themselves as "Deaf" — with a capital, and cultural, "D" — and deaf people who, for a variety...

History Through Deaf Eyes

Resource Type: History