Dr. Maureen M. Donald
Address to Graduates November 24 2000

Greetings to the Members of the Faculty and Staff of UBC and friends:

As a Deaf person, I am very pleased to join you the students in the class of Educational Elementary Projects and Human Kinetics who graduate today. And I thought it an appropriate opportunity to meet you... "from a retired teacher to new teachers".

My address is about communication, which should be considered a key. Teachers, among the many skills they need in their repertoire (skills), need to be flexible and creative in regards to communication.

May I speak personally about any parents for a moment, first? I wish they could have been here. They certainly provided my two sisters and me with a happy childhood. They also provided us with values that have sustained us throughout our lives. I'm certain that the many parents here today have made the same effort anal I know that the many young people here today have been as fortunate in the parenting they receive, as was I.

Communication should not be taken for granted or ignored. Communication is an original pattern, we keep learning and finding our place in the world.

Canada has opened its doors to the world. People from other nations flock to our country for a new life. These people have also brought to share their language, rich cultures and cultural norms .for us to respect. Last but not least they have brought their precious children here for a better education.

You, as future teachers, have a responsibility for communication in the classroom. It is also your job to encourage your students to participate in the daily discussions and interactions of all types. This communication may come in different forms: voice (spoken language), Sign Language, foreign languages, gestural/altemative communication. Using your teaching skills these students will gain knowledge, confidence, culture, respect, a positive attitude, responsibility and independence.

My wish, and our collective wish is, that all of these students will have a better life in Canada. You know it can be done ... if you put your heart and soul into teaching these young student's minds.

Communication is precious!

Thank you