forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Akehurst
Date:  Thu Mar 9, 2000  2:30 pm
Subject:  Re: SignWriting as a gateway?

I think if nothing else, an activity that empowers the students
and gives them confidence, as well as providing a tool that they can at
least use to leave notes on the fridge, is worth it.

Absolutely. I think (as with other aspects of languages) some will take to
SW more than other and so on, but what I've noticed with our small (but
sturdy and devoted! :) SWLP group is the improvement in the children's AND
the adult's self-esteem. These adults were all raised orally (horrible
story, none of their family members even sign) and have always looked to
hearing authority figures for everything. Yet I notice a small but growing
sense of independence in them (which, of course, is transmitting itself to
the children) and it's a delight to see it. They've even put their foot
down about a few events recently and have insisted that I be there to
interpret, that reading lips would not be good enough and they wanted the
information in their own language. This has been empowering. They jot
notes to each other in SW and they are asked by hearing people to explain
what THEY mean (instead of always the other way around). Intriguing

I am not the children's 'school' teacher so I'm not really sure about their
abilities to read in English improving (actually, when they are with me,
they don't want to read in English they want to read in SW) but my
impression is that they are improving. The parents have asked me to join
them in meetings with the teachers in another month or so and I hope to have
a few minutes on my own to ask some questions with regards to their reading
in English (for my own information relating to SW).

We're really enjoying all the fascinating back and forth recently on this
list. It's also been great for the group to read about S. Africa, France
etc. Wonderful stuff, right, Val?! :)

all the best,

Kathy A.

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