PyCon 2016 in Portland, Or
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Teaching Deaf Sign Language Users to Code Using Python

Sarah Jessica Leivers

Audience level:


The English Language, which Python syntax is based upon, is a secondary language to Deaf sign language users. As such, Deaf people often have difficulty in using written language and need written language to be clear and simple for meaning to be comprehended. The guiding principles in ‘The Zen of Python’ by Tim Peters suggest that Python is an ideal language for teaching Deaf people to program.


# Teaching Deaf Sign Language Users to Code Using Python ## Including Deaf people in the Python community #### My Rationale Although I am active in the British Sign Language community in London, and know many Deaf people who pursue a variety of careers, I am yet to meet a Deaf programmer. Deaf people are clearly underrepresented in the Python and wider CS communities. #### But why? I believe that the reason for such an under-representation is lack of access to suitable learning resources and learning aids. The syntax of many programming languages is complicated and they use many characters rarely found in written English. This is a hinderance to Deaf sign language users wanting to learn to program/code since any written language is already a secondary language to them. When it comes to written language for Deaf people ‘Explicit is better than implicit… Simple is better than complex… Sparse is better than dense’ and ‘readability [definitely] counts!’ Is Python, therefore, the ideal language to use for teaching Deaf people to program? #### My Poster Proposal The poster I propose will outline visually some of the hinderances that I foresee a Deaf sign language user will need to conquer when learning to program/code. These potential stumbling blocks will be presented in a way that should provoke thinking and debate about overcoming them. #### Poster Presentation This poster will be presented in a clear and simple way using basic written English suitable for Deaf people to comprehend the meaning. This will enable viewers to gain an understanding of the clear and basic English that would help optimise learning should they want to go on to produce their own teaching resources for Deaf people.