|SignWriting List Forum|
Stefan Woehrmann |
Date: Sat Mar 4, 2000 9:21 am
Subject: Re: SignWriting as a gateway?
I enjoy reading your comments so much. Thank you for sharing. They are so
helpfull to look at my own situation at school.
Congratulations ! Itīs amazing how fast your pupils accept to work with
Within my classes there is a big difference between the young and the elder
pupils. First grade pupils donīt analyse the signs . Zhey simply pick the
sign up as whole "Gestalt". And amazingly they can read this way lots and
lots of different signs . They love to read short sentences which say what
they are supposed to do. They read and sign at the same time - short brake
- big smile - and then they run to to whatīs to be done. That is fun.
The pupils of the 7 th grade ananlyse the signs. They are able to read signs
they have never seen before in there lifes. So slowly putting all the pieces
together handshape, orientation ( gap vs. no gap) movement ( right, left,
both which direction,) ...
After all they try to figure out what this sign could mean - trying to move
their hands several times.
And then they ask me to rewrite it. - (another facial expression, dynamic
index, two different orientations (beginning and endposition) . Sometimes we
discuss the differences between their ways to sign it ...
Itīs helpfull. With them we use SW as a tool to learn German vocabularies
very much. Itīs so helpfull to write a sentence all in SW in present tense
or past tense and ask them to translate these sentences into German. I can
not thing of a more supportive tool for this process. Itīs like the hearing
people learn foreign languages. Based on a fundament in their first language
we can add a second set of vocabularies without too much effort. But with SW
its much more. Now we are able to show in a very clear way the contrasts and
differences of grammar etc. I like that and my pupils as well.
The point is that being so crazy about this I would like to learn to write
SW much faster. But Iīm doing my homeworks every day.
And thanks to the email -lessons I get the feeling of improoving slowly -
step by step. That is good. Thank you Valerie for your excellent work.
Love to hear from you soon again
Iīm interested in everything that helps your pupils to use SW as a tool for
enlarging their abilities to deal with written materials.
Iīm looking forward to your next messages
>From: INGRID FOGGITT
>Reply-To: SignWriting List
>To: SignWriting List
>Subject: SignWriting as a gateway?
>Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2000 09:40:13 +0200
>I hit upon an interesting revelation yesterday at school. However, I would
>like to share some background first. At a recent lecture on Deaf Education
>and Wits University in Johannesburg, the following statistics were
>revealed: In South Africa, the average Deaf school leaver has the general
>knowledge of what is thought to be 'normal' at 8 years old and writing
>skills of what is thought to be `normal' at 10 years old. This is a very
>sad fact of Deaf Education in South Africa (if there is any true form of
>that!) and it shows what a disservice education has done to Deaf people in
>this country. Much of this results from past historical realities of
>education in South Africa: separate learning, the Bantu Education Act,
>oralism, etc. It is also widespread that many Deaf people in South Africa
>are functionally illiterate: they can read words, word for word, but are
>unable to group the words together to understand what the words as a group
>are saying (i.e. comprehension skills). This does not mean, however, that
>they do not have anything between their ears! The main means of expression
>is Sign Language which often reveals the person to be having a deep sense
>of understanding about the world and very knowledgeable. However, present
>assessment methods to not allow for these Deaf kids to be fairly assessed:
>assessment methods are done through written English. We are trying to make
>it recognised that a precentage of exam marks be allocated to an `oral'
>(i.e. Sign Language) component to allow the children to express themselves
>and what they know through a mode with which they are comfortable and which
>more adequately reveals what they know than written English.
>The point is: some of those kids at school who are desperately weak in
>written English skills and who find this means of expression virtually
>impossible have taken to Sign Writing much more enthusiastically than those
>kids who do have the writing skills to express themselves (not to say that
>these kids are not enthusiastic!).
>I realised that there must be something very important in this! Those kids
>who find writing English virtually impossible might be able to rather write
>in SignWriting??? Exams, tests, worksheets, etc in SignWriting as a
>percentage of the whole exam? This is a very interesting insight. One
>boy, Glen, who is functionally illiterate (he missed YEARS of schooling)
>has already taken to jotting down SignWriting in his other subjects:
>maths, biology, english, etc. The present lack of having a book that
>serves as a `dictionary' to what ALL the symbols in SW mean (e.g. the big
>black dot, the 'number' symbol #, etc) has not deterred Glen at all -- he
>has independently worked his way around this by attaching his OWN meanings
>to symbols. I have not encouraged this otherwise he might end up with his
>own SW system that no one else understands. HOwever, for now it is working
>for him and I told him that when we receive more SW materials, we will work
>on substituting his own SW symbols with the more `universal' ones. Hope
>that this is the right thing to do?
>Anyway, watch this space -- more to come.
>Yours in SignWriting