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From:  Hope Hurlbut
Date:  Wed Mar 15, 2000  1:46 am
Subject:  Re[2]: SignWriting as a gateway?

To: Donald Grushkin
From: Hope Hurlbut

I read your note to the SW list with interest.

As you probably know there have been many studies done which show that
children learn best in their Mother Tongue first. Other languages can
be added later. I think it is the same for the Deaf children. If
they become comfortable and fluent in SW then they will be better
prepared to spend time learning English or French or whatever the
national language of their country is.

It is not a waste of time to learn SW, but from the testimonies on the
list, it seems that the children get really turned on to learning SW.
Hopefully this enthusiasm can gradually be channelled into learning
other languages as well. Of course something new like this does take
time and commitment, but the results will be worth it.

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: SignWriting as a gateway?
Author: at Internet
Date: 10.03.00 09:10

----- Original Message -----
From: Akehurst

> I am not the children's 'school' teacher so I'm not really sure about
> 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

This observation is something that concerns me. I do support, tentatively,
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 is
the lingua Franca of our American society, not to mention the world. Being
able to use English through reading and writing is SO vital for them. From
what I see from this comment, it sounds like they would rather do all their
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 easy way
out" (I hate that phrase for its application to oralism and sign, but it 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 is
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 so
inclined. How do the classroom teachers out there make time for both SW and
English instruction? How do the classroom teachers help the kids make the
connections and transitions between SW and English?

--Donald Grushkin
Ph.D., Language, Reading & Culture (Bilingual Education)

  Replies Author Date
3113 Re: Re[2]: SignWriting as a gateway? Stefan Woehrmann Thu  3/16/2000
3633 SignWriting can inspire speech.... Valerie Sutton Sun  6/25/2000

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