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From:  Stefan Woehrmann
Date:  Tue Oct 3, 2000  10:15 am
Subject:  Re: University of Hamburg

----- Original Message -----
From: Valerie Sutton
Sent: Monday, October 02, 2000 9:05 PM
Subject: University of Hamburg

At 12:54 PM +0100 10/1/00, Stefan Woehrmann wrote:

>This week students from the University of Hamburg were visiting my class
>a week. They seemed pretty much impressed . They were so much fascinated
>that these little kids - first grade take without any effort so much
>information out of these written materials. You know - my first grade
>students canīt read one single word in German but can understand questions
>about "How many eggs " - "Where is Irina ..?" "Where is the blue car "
>- and what is most important to me - they learn this way that we can
>identify objects - we can name them by signing in a special way - we can
>write down what we did --- THEY LEARN TO COMUNICATE...

Hi Valerie and all ,

Valerie wrote:
"It is great that the students from the University of Hamburg could
stay a whole week ...that means they got a chance to watch
SignWriting in action in your classroom on a day to day basis...."

Yes , at least one of them. The other one stayed for two days in my classes.

"Can you tell us a little more about the students from Hamburg? "

The students are asked to visit during their teacher-training special
facilities that would allow them to get familiar with different subjects
that are connected with special education for the deaf.

In this case they were interested to learn something about
articulation -training. The funny thing to them was to see this intense
combination of SignLanguage and SignWriting and articulation-training which
is unique in Germany so far ;-)

"Were they associated with the HamNoSys system at all?"

No ! I donīt know anybody personally who is using it. I assume it could be
a valuable tool for linguists to document or analyze signs on a very
accurate level.
But as we discussed before - the writing systems are invented for a
different purpose -
Iīm very happy to be able to use GebaerdenSchrift as a written form of SL
for teaching at school.

"How did they find out about your work, and what was the purpose of their

They didnīt know anything about my work before . The University of Hamburg
sends their students on a regularly schedule to many different facilities .
They asked for the possibility to visit our school as well .
Generally Iīm very happy to welcome visitors to our classes. Within two days
they are welcome to support me during my lessons. There are so many
different levels of accomplishment that every little one to one situation
is helpfull - amd as the supervisor I keep an eye on that ;-)
As I mentioned before - the utmost important goal is to enable my little
newcomers (first grade) to communicate -
The little students donīt know how to express their ideas, how to ask for
anything, how to understand my questions no spoken German - no
SignLanguage - it is a difficult situation. I donīt say , "CI is wrong " -
But I say "little children desperately need a way to communicate with other
children, adults ... If we wait for the time that hopefully some day in the
future the auditory stimuli can be interpreted sufficiently enough so that
speech may develop - situations like the one Iīm confronted with may occur.
Who cares about the develpmental aspects of these little personalities ? Now
they get the chance to understand signed and written symbols. Now their
brains are asked to interpret dialog-situations and to learn the meaning of
the interaction. After 4 weeks they know the written and signed signnames
for their colleagues in the classroom. They know the written and signed
symbols for 8 colors. They know the meaning of the articulation faces. Most
of them know the meaning of "How many ?" and "Who" . Most of them understand
the written and signed numbers from 1 - 6. Now the auditory stimuli may
give a hint what Iīm speaking out loud - So many combinations of voice and
SW-sign and signing - lead here and there to a new - to an additional
information-channel - the ear. Iīm happy for each child and each parent if
the CI can contribute to a better understanding of whatīs going on - but we
canīt rely on it alone for a long period of childhood. The contrary is true
from my point of view. Understanding human interaction and Language with all
your senses will lead to a better understanding of auditory stimuli that
would support the development of speech and personal growth . Itīs not the
spoken language but the meaning of the communicated symbols.

SW is a wonderfull tool to support this process.

Iīm very pleased that one colleague of mine asked for a basic set of printed
SW signs. She asked for the possibility to visit our class every week for
one hour in order to get familiar with the "GebaerdenSchrift = SW in
German)" .She wrote a list and asked me to write these signs in
GebaerdenSchrift, so that she can use these "flashcards" as kind of memory
game or whatsoever within her work in our k i n d e r g a r d e n (!!!!!!)
with one deaf girl.
She watched my first grades when they answered my cued speech- faces at the
blackboard with impressive AAAs or UUUUUUs and MMMMMMMMMs and asked me for
a print-out of the whole set of "mouth-pictures"

Slowly - slowly and carefully people get interested in the benefits of this
system. Getting in contact with me - my enthusiasm will help to make them
think about it twice - !?

All the best

Stefan ;-)

  Replies Author Date
4005 Re: University of Hamburg Valerie Sutton Tue  10/3/2000

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