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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Sat Aug 26, 2000  8:34 pm
Subject:  SW Teacher's Seminar, July 2000

On 8/24/00, Cecilia Flood wrote:
>Meanwhile, I've been meaning to post something to the list about our
>seminar with Valerie in July. Just a quickie for was well
>worth the trip. The other two teachers, Lorraine and Kate, were soaking
>in a lot of info about the origin and development of SW. Valerie is an
>excellent teacher. I too was a participant for those three days. I know
>good teaching when I see it.

SignWriting List
August 26, 2000

Dear Cecilia and Everyone!

Thank you for your kind words, Cecilia. I know all of you spent money
and trouble traveling to California to study for three intensive days
at the end of July, and I know you all traveled home quite I also want to thank you all for dedicating your time
to learning SignWriting.

This was the first real workshop I had taught in years. As some of
you may know, back in the 1970's and 1980's, I taught regularly. We
held "Teacher Certification Workshops". At that time, we gave
certificates to 80 DanceWriting teachers, and 33 SignWriting
teachers. The workshops were intensive - lasting four weeks non-stop,
and the final exams were difficult. But they graduated as real
"movement notators", which is something totally different than the
seminar held this summer in my home...

I think you may be interested in the difference.....

There are two aspects to SignWriting...."reading" and "writing". That
sounds simple...but actually what I am trying to explain is an
historic phenomenon - namely that people who know signs learn to
"read" SignWriting with little training. That is not true for most
writing systems of spoken languages. English is much harder to read
for hearing people fluent in English, than SignWriting is for Deaf
people fluent in signs....

So the old "Teacher Certification Workshops" were training teachers
to become skilled at "writing any signed language". That would be
equivalent to learning how to write any spoken language with the
International Phonetic Alphabet.

The new Teacher's seminar we held this summer had a different focus.
The teachers could already read SignWriting. With the help of our
SignWriter Computer Program, and the dictionary that is included, the
teachers and students were already participating, without learning
how to write the "easy reading" factor has changed my

I realize now that there are several ways to approach training
teachers, and that needs to be defined better in my own head....

So we all learned from the seminar! And I am so glad you came ;-)))

By the way, the most fun was talking late into the night - ha! Like a
slumber party

Val ;-)


Valerie Sutton


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