|SignWriting List Forum|
Date: Tue May 4, 1999 2:04 am
Subject: Re: introduction
Welcome to the SignWriting list...I couldn't resist responding to your
intro since I'm a transplant to New Mexico from New York (which school
district are you referring to?...what area in NY?)....and am in the very
'slow' process of introducing SW to public school Deaf and Hard of
Hearing students here in the Albuquerque Public Schools. When you visit
the Teacher's forum on the SignWriting web...you'll find out more about
our projects...our participation in the SW literacy project and my
dissertation research project. Both are on 'hold' now, waiting for the
final APS research committee approval....."any day now", 'any day now',
as the saying goes!
I can respond to your question about how long it might take 'you' as an
instructor to feel comfortable with SW...I grabbled with that myself and
still do. I've ordered all the instruction materials, spend some time on
the SignWriting web, met with Valerie and Darline for some individual
tutoring(a real luxury of an opportunity) and still plug away on the
SignWriter computer program. Once you learn 'a little' you want to learn
more. I've gotten over that 'it's so much to learn' hump...and feel I
can learn as long as I have other 'learners' with me.
I've taken the collaborative approach to teaching/learning SignWriting.
I too have seen very young Deaf students and even the very 'cool' middle
school Deaf and Hard of Hearing students 'take to' SW very quickly. Some
'read' it without any hesitation....others stare awhile...look at their
hands...then sign what they see....others give it a 'blanch of a
look-see' shrug their shoulders and say either...'don't know', 'what's
that?', 'that's weird!' These 'off the cuff' responses continue to
motivate me to keep 'learning' SW and helps me maintain my conviction
that Deaf and Hard of Hearing kids...know more about the language they
use for everyday communication than we have yet to acknowledge.
I think I've sparked an interest in SW for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
students literacy development in the three schools where I have
established relationships with kids, teachers, parents and
administrators. Some teachers express similar responses to those of the
kids...'oh this is going to be fun'...or...'wow this is a lot of stuff
to remember'...'this might be too hard for some of our kids'....and
still more....'you take the lead and we'll follow'!
I haven't been able to formally introduce SignWriting lessons yet but do
anticipate receiving full approval from the school district to conduct
the two literacy projects described on the web. Instructional times and
duration of the study is included there. Since I was not able to begin
collecting data this spring...the formal study will probably begin and
continue throughout the next school year '99-00'. Hopefully we will be
able to report on those 'how long does it takes' questions...and respond
to 'what is it like to learn SW'?
We have only three weeks of school left before summer vacation but I'm
all ready for the Fall with the SW reading materials, SW introductory
video lessons, SW children stories, six 'old' but 'SignWriter ready'
computers, and lots of videotape ready to record student, teacher, and
parent affective responses to learning to write using SignWriting. Oh
and I'll be doing a lot of SW practicing over the summer too.
Good luck with your proposal to begin using SignWriting with NY Deaf
students...I'm glad Silent News has 'spread' the good news about the
potential of an ASL written literacy.
Counselor/Teacher f/t DHH
UNM and APS