Helping people understand their legal rights From Tolerance to Respect: Cultural Competence in Practice Friday 8 September 2006
The Education Standards • Came into force on 18 August 2005 and covers a wide range of education programs - from universities to public schools, TAFE training courses to private colleges. • Aims to clarify obligations of education providers and rights of people with disability in education and training. • Covers enrolment, participation, curriculum development, accreditation & delivery, student support services, and harassment & victimisation. • Concerns from both student and education provider perspectives.
Structure of the Standards • Statement of rights – Obligations/Standards – Measures (evidence of compliance with obligations/standards) • Parts 1 and 2 – Definitions and important terms • Part 3 – Making reasonable adjustments • Part 4 – Standards for enrolment • Part 5 – Standards for participation • Part 6 – Standards for curriculum development, accreditation and delivery • Part 7 – Standards for student support services • Part 8 – Standards for harassment and victimisation • Part 9 – Treatment of a person who has an associate with disability • Part 10 – Exceptions (unjustifiable hardship, protection of public health)
Concerns for education providers • Uncertainty of how new concepts/standards will be interpreted by courts and whether parts of Standards may be invalid (beyond DDA) • Duty to consult on reasonable adjustments (Section 3.5) is very onerous • Duty to develop, implement and train staff in all levels of education on victimisation and harassment (Section 8.3) exceeds DDA duty • Standards will not necessarily provide a complete code displacing application of the DDA. Will depend on terms of the particular standard, the particular circumstances of the case and judicial interpretation of acting “in accordance with” the standard (HREOC) • Must seriously question whether Standards provide more clarity or more confusion – possibly greater scope for complaints – twin regime
Concerns for students with disability • Does not distinguish between direct and indirect discrimination – new treatment ‘on the same basis’ standard • “On the same basis” unclear; “opportunities and choices” meaningless • Unjustifiable hardship‘defence’ is available at all stages (enrolment, participation, dismissal) – under DDA, only for enrolment • Unjustifiable hardship‘defence’ effectively extended to direct discrimination – under DDA, only for indirect • Concern about academic integrity (Section 3.4(3)) for students with intellectual disability • Protection of public health‘defence’ – too broad, subject to extremes: • “infectious disease or other condition and it is reasonably necessary to … isolate or discriminate to protect the health and welfare of the student with a disability or the health and welfare of others”
The Project The idea: To translate the legal lingo into Plain English and other accessible formats so students with disability and their associates can actually understand them and use them.
The Project Three main elements: • Plain English Website • Auslan and audio interpretation • Short information brochure
Plain English ‘Too often government and business documents try to sound impressive rather than communicate clearly.’ Dr Neil James, Plain English Foundation 2005 published in the Daily Telegraph 01/092005 p38.
Plain English Exercise • Can you guess what Christmas carol this is? Adapted from Dr Neil James ‘Unjingling the carols for a modern Christmas’ published in The Daily Telegrpah 9/12/2005 p39.
A more serious example From a local council responding to objections over a development proposal: ‘In terms of reaching its decision Council took into consideration the matters in your submission and as the proposal complied with the objectives of the Council’s policies and conformed to the relevant statutory requirements, Council was of the opinion that the application should be approved’.
OR ‘Council considered your submission carefully. However, we had to approve the application because it complies with Council policy and meets all legal requirements.’ Dr Neil James Plain English Foundation Daily Telegraph 01/09/2005 p38
Plain English Law? Saying what you mean • the Legal Tradition vs. Plain English • Getting started • Some handy hints • The review process
AUSLAN Translation • Translation challenges • Defining the target audience • Legal terminology • Sociolinguistic variation (dialects) • Drafting and scripting process • Filming and on-screen talent
Defining the target audience • Deaf signers with limited proficiency in English • Unable to access ‘Plain English’ version • Assumed fluency in Auslan • Fingerspelling kept to a minimum • Unfamiliar terms supported with captions • Exclusion of students only exposed to Signed English
Legal terminology • Specific, legal meaning of terminology • Lack of direct Auslan equivalents • ‘complain’, ‘standard’, ‘harassment’, ‘victimisation’, ‘measures for compliance’, ‘exception’, ‘rights’ • Impartial and legalistic • Maintain ambiguities from legislation
Sociolinguistic variations • Variations in signs occur, similar to variations within American, British and Australian English, and in different accents. • Signing variation: • Need to remain ‘linguistically neutral’ • Specific terms: e.g., ‘COURT’, ‘GOVERNMENT’ • Generally sign variations are known throughout the Deaf community, but wanted to avoid appearance of reflecting any regional bias
Drafting and scripting • Read and analyse Plain English text • Draft Auslan translation • Glossed using English • Recorded using webcam • Repeat steps 1 and 2 as needed • Gloss copies into PowerPoint (as auto-cue) • Filmed onto digital video • Edited and compiled onto DVD • Draft sent for review by project manager • Revisions followed same process above
Sample English text From ‘Exceptions’: “Sometimes there are other lawsthat allow discrimination. These laws can sometimes mean an education provider is allowed to discriminate. There are not very many of these laws.”
Sample of glossing SOMETIMES HAVE OTHER L-A-W ALLOW EDUCATION ORGANISATION CAN DISCRIMINATION. BUT L-A-W FEW HAVE.
Filming and on-screen talent • Deaf on-screen talent rather than hearing translator • Approached hosts of Sydney-based Deaf TV programme • Draft translation used as auto-cue • Minor modifications to translation during filming • Monitor: facial expression, lip patterns, placement of signs, articulation of signs, fingerspelling, cohesiveness, etc.
Bringing it all together! • Co-ordinating the different contributors • Sticking to the budget and other challenges • Meeting the needs of people with disability • Lessons for the future
Tell us what you think? • QUESTIONS? • Directions to the website • Feedback forms.
Visit the website: www.ddaedustandards.info Contact: Gary Kerridge email@example.com