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From:  James Womack
Date:  Sat Mar 11, 2000  11:15 am
Subject:  Re: SignWriting as a gateway?

At least someone understands what I have said for years.
Thank you.

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Stuart Thiessen"
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2000 2:50 PM
Subject: Re: SignWriting as a gateway?

> It seems to me that the best approach is to catch the kids as early as
> possible and teach them in ASL with SW from the beginning. Once ASL and
> are firm enough in their minds, then we begin to phase out actual teaching
> of SW as such and begin to **use it** to build a bridge to English. Which
> grade that would mean for sure, I am not certain. But, to teach English
> first, in my opinion, is to put the cart before the horse. By having the
> basics down, we can then utilize that tool to teach them English as a
> second language and they have the tools to compare the two languages. We
> would also have the opportunity to prepare appropriate English/ASL and
> ASL/English dictionaries, to develop English grammar books in ASL, to
> develop vocabulary cards and other instruction media in ASL, etc, etc.
> whole process of instruction becomes easier because you can introduce
> English in the context of ASL. By using a language in a medium they can
> understand, they will have a basis and background for understanding a
> language that is in a medium they may not understand as well.
> My two bits,
> Stuart
> At 09:10 03/10/2000 -0800, you wrote:
> >----- Original Message -----
> >From: Akehurst
> >
> > > 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
> > > 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
> >
> >This observation is something that concerns me. I do support,
> >the idea of a writing system for sign language that could help Deaf kids
> >learn to write in their own language. However, as we all know, Enlgish
> >the lingua Franca of our American society, not to mention the world.
> >able to use English through reading and writing is SO vital for them.
> >what I see from this comment, it sounds like they would rather do all
> >reading and writing in SW rather than bilingually switch between the two
> >(which would be just fine with me). We know how hard English can be for
> >deaf kids to learn, so it sounds here as if they're trying to "take the
> >way out" (I hate that phrase for its application to oralism and sign, but
> >is appropos here) by sticking with SW rather than English.
> >
> >I mentioned SW to my wife, who is an elementary teacher of the deaf at a
> >school for the deaf. One thing she said, in addition to the fact that SW
> >not "English" (as it shouldn't be), is that for her, she finds no way she
> >could make room in her schedule to teach English AND SW, even if she were
> >inclined. How do the classroom teachers out there make time for both SW
> >English instruction? How do the classroom teachers help the kids make
> >connections and transitions between SW and English?
> >
> >--Donald Grushkin
> > Ph.D., Language, Reading & Culture (Bilingual Education)

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