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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Thu Feb 24, 2000  2:51 pm
Subject:  Re: IMPORTANT Message from South Africa!

On 2/21/00, Ingrid Foggitt wrote:
>Of course, they took to it like ducks to water! And here, they were
>differentiating between SASL and ASL. Pauses in the video allowed us
>to change the signs portrayed on the video into SASL on the
>chalkboard. This was fairly easy to grasp. By the end of this, the
>kids were all following the handshapes shown on the video in unison.
>I had to rewind it back again (on demand). The learners all reacted
>very positively to this, showing concern about the complexity of
>being able to actually `write' the symbols and then arguing about who
>is a good artist and who is not!!! Just before the end of the third
>run of the video, the TV was abandoned and all the kids rushed to the
>chalkboard, writing signs to each other -- of their own making but
>incorporating the basics that they had got from the video. And let
>me say this: a lot of the signs that they wrote included lots of
>symbols that are part of SW but that they have never seen before (or
>been taught yet).
>Fulton School for the Deaf, South Africa


SignWriting List
February 24, 2000

Thank you, Ingrid for your write up. I love the above paragraph. It
reminds me of the one time I taught Deaf you all know,
I personally am not a teacher of deaf children....but I thought
SignWriting might be useful in the classroom, back in I got
permission from the school administrators at a school in Manchester,
New Hampshire, to teach SignWriting for exactly one hour to a group
of born deaf, signing children -

While the teachers sat angrily in the back of the room (they thought
SignWriting was nonsense), I showed a sign to the kids written in
SignWriting on the blackboard...that was all...Kids jumped up and
started writing on the blackboard and corrected each other...and they
loved it when I told them I couldn't read something because I was
hearing and didn't know how to sign very well at the time..They would
correct my signing by writing in SignWriting on the blackboard - it
was an experience I will always treasure...but the teachers made it
clear they were glad when I left...they didn't want to be bothered
with it...I guess experiences are in the eye of the beholder!

This story is also up on the web:

History of SignWriting...Early Years in USA

I remember thinking to myself when I left the school that day, that I
hoped someday teachers of deaf children will be open-minded enough to
try this new 22 years later that is happening...

Thanks to all the wonderful teachers who are trying now...

Val ;-)


Valerie Sutton


SignWriting List Archive

Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

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