Hearing Impaired Teacher Re-invited To Teachers’ Conference

No invite for you!

Susan Elliot, an award winning teacher who teaches history and social studies to both mainstream and hearing impaired students was initially invited to speak at an education conference in Singapore later in the year. However, according to Edweek, once Elliot was discovered to be hearing impaired herself, her invitation was retracted, based on what the conference committee deemed as a “miscommunication”. (Thursday, 16 Apr’09)

When Singaporeans heard of the story, word spread on the Internet, and people wrote in to the conference officials to reinstate Elliot’s invitation, many voicing that it was insensitive to withdraw an invitation just because Elliot was hearing impaired.

According to Edweek, as of Saturday, 22 Apr’09, the conference chairman personally clarified matters with Elliot, sincerely apologising for the withdrawal of their invitation and reinstated her invitation. Elliot has accepted their apology and will also be attending and speaking at the conference in September this year.

This was the statement issued to anybody who wrote in to the conference officials:

The withdrawal of our invitation to Ms Susan Elliot was a mistake on our part. It arose from our misunderstanding about the need for interpreters and her professional experience. The chairman of the Organising Committee has since contacted Ms Elliot and spoken to her personally to convey our sincere apologies. We should have clarified these matters before making the decision. Ms Elliot has accepted our apology and the Organising Committee is delighted that she will participate at the Teachers’ Conference in September. We look forward to her contributions in making the Conference a success.

Ms Sucillia Sukiman
Teachers’ Conference 2010 Organising Committee

While I’m glad this matter was handled swiftly and with class on both sides (Anthony Mullen who first blogged about this was firm yet poised, the conference officials who after clarifying the matter on their turf, made an apology), I cannot help but feel disappointed that the ‘miscommunication’ happened in the first place.

Simple fact checking before inviting your guests would have easily prevented this from happening in the first place. Alas, it did happen and the initial letter sent to Ms Elliot was anything but tactful, so of course it’s going to sound discriminatory. Again, if lack of support on the organiser’s side was of concern, I’m sure that could have been addressed in the initial correspondence instead of just retracting the invitation. But all’s well ends well, and let’s hope something like this doesn’t happen again.


Twestival Singapore 2010


Approximately twenty three hours to Singapore’s second Twestival, a global event that brings together Twitter users all for a good cause.

Come 25 March 2010, Thursday, at Brewerkz (Riverside Point), Singaporean Twitter users will meet for a massive tweet up of fun, music, food and drinks, where 10% of all food and beverage purchases go directly to Concern Worldwide, who aid in providing education to those who don’t have the opportunity for one. Last year, the global effort managed to raise $250,000 for Charity Water, who built 55 wells to provide clean water to 17,000 people in Uganda, Ethiopia and India.

This year’s festival will be hosted by Joe Augustin, best known for being a popular DJ with Class 95 FM, and now produces his own podcast, Morning Jam. Other acts include the popular duo, Jack And Rai as well as Deborah Lee and Thomas who are personal friends of mine.

I’ll break seclusion and go down to meet friends, and get some much needed beer. Good to know that some of the folks from Revo-Emag will also be headed down., haven’t seen @drewpan in yonks!

If you wanna say hi, my Twitter profile’s @litford, the Twestival hashtag is #twestivalSG, and the profile for Singapore is @TwestivalSG

To learn more about Twestival Singapore, head on down to their website here.