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From:  cmf
Date:  Fri Feb 25, 2000  2:00 pm
Subject:  Re: IMPORTANT Message from South Africa!

Valerie and Ingrid,

Your descriptions of Deaf kids 'jumping up' to write what they know
about 'signs' confirms once again for me this observable truth...Deaf
children know much more about their language than we as educators have
yet to acknowledge. Given introduction to even only basic symbols of
SignWriting seems to be 'enough' for Deaf students to take the lead and
position themselves 'in the know'. If that's not evidence of
'empowerment', I am at a loss as to where else to look.


Valerie Sutton wrote:
> 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
> SignWritingSite
> SignWriting List Archive
> Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
> Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

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