|SignWriting List Forum|
Date: Fri Nov 12, 1999 6:30 pm
Subject: Re: A question...
Valerie asked me ages ago to comment on how we started into the SWLP and
I've been remiss in doing so. Apologies, again, Valerie...and now Don's
question prompts me to get this done, finally.
We do find that it takes quite a long time to write the signs. It was a big
problem at first. The twelve year old opted out completely for a while
because it took too long and, I believe, he felt silly doing it but I did
notice that, left to himself, he fiddled around with a few things and seemed
to be intrigued by the idea. Has to be 'cool' though, ya know ;)
However, the children are very proficient at their 'favourite' signs now,
and can write them quickly. I believe it is like anything else, when new it
takes longer to do but once you become proficient at it, not only does it
not take as long - you begin to develop your own innovations and a 'style'
unique to you develops and that, too, can make writing faster. I'm a
professional Graphoanalyst and the personality emerges in writing of any
sort. SW appears to be no different. Some add more detail than others (one
of the little girls insists on putting HAIR on all the heads!!), some are
very bare bones about it and you have to read on to get the message.
We have, in our small, but sturdy, group, a variety of personalities and
they all approached SW differently. The children saw it as drawing (and
colouring), and something that helped us learn the initial materials was
just sitting around and dissecting it. I learned that some people prefer to
go from the 'whole to the part' in reading SW and others prefer to go from
the part to the whole. I took this as an indication of their learning
styles and tried to work with that.
Once they understood the basics, they would pick a new sign and try to
figure out how it was written (and by then, Val, they did say 'written' not
'drawn', which I found interesting...). We'd do them up as flash cards on a
piece of bristol board and when we met again, some of them had thought about
it and realized that this bit was wrong, or whatever, and they'd correct it.
One thing I didn't do (and I had the liberty of doing this since we're such
an informal gathering) was correct their work. If I saw obvious errors, I'd
discuss the concepts in a different context and it seems that they got it
and would correct themselves. I didn't want them to feel shy, or wrong and,
quite frankly, I couldn't always be sure that I knew what I was talking
about myself :)
We also tried to do fun things, like make our grocery lists in SW and once
the kids did a treasure hunt with clues in SW. That was fun for all. I
have to stress that, often enough, the SW wasn't CORRECT but I thought it
important to let them go with it until one or the other would say "but if
you want it to be this...you have to make the hand black" or whatever. This
seemed important (for us) and really helped to impress the principles of SW
on them. Of course, if something was left uncorrected for too long, we'd go
over the materials about that and one or the other would say "oh, like
that's wrong" and they'd fix the note (or whatever) up.
Anyway, works for us. They loved the books and would like to read more,
when they are available, but as far as writing it themselves is
concerned...it will take practice and motivation and time. I'm not very
good at it myself because I'm not comfortable just dashing off a note in SW.
However, we have one fellow (an adult and our rebel) who is not only a
sloppy signer, but a sloppy SW writer. He says "well, you should be able to
figure it out if you read on!". It's a conundrum because, he's right AND
he's writING. If we read on we do manage to figure it out. Go figure.
Obviously we are boldly going where no one has gone before. Onward ho!