Rebecca Dunne, who just finished her Leaving Cert. exams, shares some views on classroom captions, based on her own experiences.
Captions and subtitles help everybody, not just deaf people. This year I did my Leaving Cert Vocational Preparation (LCVP)/Link Modules, which involved watching a video and answering questions on it, at the same time.
I personally found this very difficult as I can’t read captions and write at the same time. The Department of Education supplies the exam video with a subtitle option, which helps but it is not easy reading the captions and writing down the answers at the same time when you’re under pressure.
There should be captions on every video used in teaching, or at least a subtitle option especially for videos shown in classrooms and lectures.
Some of my teachers transcribed videos for me beforehand, with some telling me the video to watch so I could see it at home before class.
While I appreciated this preparation, I think all deaf children should be able to watch a video with their classmates and fully understand what it is about.
As I said earlier, captions help deaf people and others who might miss a piece of video or not understand a speaker’s accent. Captions can improve our English grammar and spelling as we absorb these without realising.
As a deaf student, it is very disheartening not to be able to be able to understand what the video is about, and not to be able to include yourself in the conversation that follows after the video is shown in the classroom.
You have no idea what the video was about and therefore you cannot form an opinion on it yourself. In my mock exams for the LCVP, I was told that I would not be able to view the same video as the rest of my classmates, since the company who supplied the mock papers did not provide captions.
I think this was extremely unfair. I had to watch a video during the mock that we had seen before in class, which obviously was of no benefit to me.
Some of my classmates told me after the LCVP exam that having captions had helped them as they missed some bits and the captions helped them.
While YouTube have taken the first steps in trying to provide captions on their videos, more often than not, the words are wrong and the sentences make no sense. I believe a huge improvement is needed in this area.
I think subtitles are vital in education and in everyday life as they ensure everybody knows what is going on, and everyone can learn the same way.
(compiled by Rebecca Dunne)
- Captions In The Classroom Boost Literacy Skills
- Australia To Take Classroom Captioning ‘National’
- TeachNet Blog: Closed Captions In The Classroom
- Digital Media Content Accessibility For Schools