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Monday, 17 October 2011

Response from Philip Garber's Professor

Just found this online.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/nyregion/professor-of-philip-garber-nj-stutterer-defends-actions.html

It's interesting to hear her side of it.

- Sarah

4 comments:

  1. Her response still does not excuse her behavior. Ignoring any student's hand for 75 minutes is rude on the professor's part. Perhaps she is not familiar with a lecture style class-if the professor has a point to make, let the student know you will address his/her concern in a minute. Lectures always go over time in university/college and asking a student not to speak because he/she takes up too much time is appalling. Would she have said the same thing to someone using ASL who was speaking through an interpreter?

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  2. It's been my experience that the responses rarely do excuse the behaviour, on just about anything...just thought I should be fair and present the opposite side, you know?

    This whole story is so disheartening...

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  3. Wow, thanks for bothering to post this...

    I will say that I think her approach was inappropriate but I also was pleased to see that the suggestions to Phillip were made in an email and NOT (as has been intimated in other accounts) verbally in front of others.

    Furthermore I think it is a credit to Phillip that he understands that it was a mistake.

    I was touched by this;-

    “I’ve been an advocate for kids my entire life,” she said. “But people’s rush to judgment on this, it feels like it’s pretty much destroyed my life.”

    Sometimes people make the wrong call when they are juggling competing priorities - it may be that Phillip is overly participatory in his youth and enthusiasm, and perhaps that did need to be managed. Should a lifetime of service in the thankless task of education be destroyed? Does the punishment fit the crime is I guess my question.

    None of this negates the fact that tying the "gag" to the fact that he speaks slowly because of his stutter is categorically NOT ok!

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  4. "Does the punishment fit the crime?" is ultimately my question too, I think.

    She handled this inappropriately, no question. But I can think of incidents in my career where, even when my intentions were good, I *really* wished I'd handled things better...where I've gone to both my supervisor and the person I was supporting and said, "I handled that situation badly, and I apologize. Can we talk about what I can do to make this right?"

    One of the things that really struck me as I was learning to become a support worker was that the history of the entire field of developmental services has been about doing something one way, discovering (often to our horror) later how absolutely wrong we were to do things that way (take how convinced we were that institutionalizing children with intellectual disabilities was the right thing to do, for example, and contrast to how hard many agencies are now working to move away from even the small-scale institutional environments of group homes...).

    We learn as we go, when it comes to supporting people with disabilities. And it doesn't seem that there's a lot of support within the college environments for professors learning disability sensitivity skills...that's not an excuse for her behaviour, but it *is* potentially a reason.

    Maybe we need to take our cues about how to deal with this from Philip, the person that it most affected...?

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