Date: Fri Jan 28, 2000 10:17
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: South African SignWriting Literacy Project
Principal A. V. Curry
Fulton School for the Deaf
8 Roosevelt Road
PVT. BAG 9002
Gillitts, 3603, South Africa
SignWriting Literacy Project
Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
PO Box 517, La Jolla, CA. 92038
Dear Ms. Sutton:
One of our Deaf teachers, Ingrid Foggitt, has shown an increasing
interest in SignWriting since she happened to read about it on the
Internet. From what she has told us about SignWriting and her
motivation to experiment in SignWriting, we are convinced that it
would be worthwhile to make SignWriting part of the school's Sign
Language curriculum. We understand that to join the SignWriting
Literacy Project, certain contributions on our part are required. Ms.
Foggitt has agreed to take responsibility for this, which I am sure
she will do with the usual dedication she expresses in all areas of
At present, Ms. Foggitt will be the only teacher who will initiate
SignWriting in her classroom. Ms. Foggitt has expressed that she
would like to eventually spread this trend to other classrooms. Ms.
Foggitt teaches Sign Language to Grade 8 through Grade 12. While we
realise that most of the SignWriting work done so far is aimed at the
primary school grades, Ms. Foggitt has said that the benefits of
teaching SignWriting at a secondary level could be twofold:
(a) the improvement of students' literacy/comprehension skills
(b) the possibility of these secondary students eventually being
given curriculum time to teach SignWriting in the primary school
where it would be beneficial to both the primary and secondary
Sign Language has only recently been recognised as a medium of
instruction at schools for the Deaf in South Africa. Before that,
Sign Language was regarded as being a very primitive language. Sign
Language went underground for many years. It is only in recent years
that Deaf students have begun to realise that their language is equal
to any other language. One of the legacies of the descrimination
against Sign Language is that many Deaf students have very little
confidence in Sign Language. We do believe that SignWriting would
enhance the students' involvement in their own language.
As a school for the Deaf, we are always looking for ways to improve
English literacy amongst our students. Due to a variety of reasons,
Deaf students in South Africa suffer from severe literacy problems.
We do sincerely believe that Sign Language is a bridge to English
literacy and that SignWriting would serve to reinforce this bridge.
We are very excited about this new venture. Thank you for considering
us for your project. We look forward to hearing from you.
Fulton School for the Deaf