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Start With A Great ASL/English Bilingual Roux!

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1 Start With A Great ASL/English Bilingual Roux!
Louisiana Leads 2006 Deaf Education Gumbo: Start With A Great ASL/English Bilingual Roux! ASL Mona Alkadi, M.Ed. and Robby Porter, M.Ed. Louisiana School for the Deaf English Deaf Education

2 A little about the presenters:
Robby Porter is Louisiana School for the Deaf’s Teacher of the Year! He teaches third grade. Robby is a southern gentleman, born and raised in Mississippi.

3 Mona Alkadi teaches Middle School Science at Louisiana School for the Deaf. Originally from Colorado, she’s in no hurry to leave the warm weather, crawfish etoufee and her wonderful students and coworkers!

4 How do you refer to persons with a hearing loss?
hard-of-hearing hearing impaired deaf and dumb deaf The phrase “deaf and dumb” was once neutral, historically stemming from the misconception that deafness caused the inability to speak. In fact, The American School for the Deaf, the first and oldest school for the deaf established in 1817 in Hartford, Connecticut, was called “American Asylum at Hartford for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb,” until William “Dummy” Hoy was one of the greatest baseball players. He developed the hand signals that umpires use today. Over the years, however, the word “dumb” has evolved as a synonym for “stupid.” The phrase “deaf-mute” was similarly an acceptable term. Gallaudet University, the first and only university in the world established for deaf students, was formerly known as “National Deaf-Mute College” (p. 148). The oralist movement, interestingly, initiated the rejection of the term “deaf-mute” because they wanted all deaf to learn how to speak. The Deaf clung onto the term, protesting that they couldn’t be forced to speak. The term today, however, no longer means “proud, non-speaking Deaf signer.” On the contrary, it carries a negative connotation (p. 149). These terms continue to be improperly used in the media and by individuals ignorant of the offensiveness involved. The term “hearing-disabled” is a modern version of “hearing-handicapped” and both are equally offensive. Legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, changed the terminology we use, focusing attention on the person rather than the disability. However, the term “hearing-disabled” as well as hearing-impaired are construed as negative since they direct attention to a LACK of a perfect hearing mechanism. These terms result from a medical or pathological view of deafness in which hearing loss is a deficiency that needs to be remedied i.e., deaf people need to be “fixed” in order to become more “normal.” Though the majority of persons with hearing loss prefer the terms deaf and hard-of-hearing, there are some others that may refer to themselves as hearing-impaired or deaf-and-mute. Be aware of the variation. hearing-disabled deaf-mute

5 What’s the difference between the terms “Deaf” and “deaf?”
“Deaf” ( sometimes verbalized as “big d deaf”) is a reference to a cultural group; a community of people who share a common language (American Sign Language) and culture (art, social practices, entertainment (theater), recreation (sports), etc.) regardless of their degree of hearing loss. The Deaf community may also include hearing family members, supporters, and friends among others. deaf (sometimes verbalized as “little d deaf”) is an adjective that indicates a person with a hearing loss. Often people who have a mild or moderate hearing loss may refer to themselves as hard-of-hearing, but some audiologically hard-of-hearing individuals may refer to themselves as Deaf. Arab culture, Black culture, Hispanic culture, Amish culture. The Deaf are an ethnic minority. Does a deaf person not use ASL? (Not necessarily) Hard-of-hearing typically conveys membership in the hearing community. Hard of hearing often feel out of place in both the Deaf and hearing communities.

6 Facts about American Sign Language
American Sign Language, also referred to as ASL or Sign Language, is a TRUE language with its own syntax, semantics, morphology, pragmatics and phonology (YES, Phonology!). ASL is not a simplified or distorted form of English. It evolved independently of English. ASL is one of many sign languages around the world. Seeing Essential English (SEE1), Signing Exact English (SEE2), Pidgin Sign English (PSE), Signed English and Cued Speech are NOT languages. PSE is a blending of English and ASL signs, frequently used when a deaf signer communicates with a hearing person who may be less than fluent signer. Think about it like an English speaker trying to communicate in French. They would use as many French words as possible in an English word order. Regional variations of signs: watch, cookie, birthday Similarly in English: coke, pop, soda, cold drink

7 So ASL is visual language and English is a spoken language?
Right! Some may be completely oral, communicating by speech and lipreading. Others may use cued speech, which is not a sign system, but a transliteration of English (based on the sounds of speech), or Manually Coded English systems.

8 Try to sign these words:
A sign language lesson! Try to sign these words: baby love cat eat car drink These are called “iconic” signs, meaning that the signs resemble the noun or verb. Contrary to early views of ASL, the language is not purely iconic. English even has some iconicity. Bump, hump, lump onomatopoeia (buzz, crash, boom, knock-knock)

9 Now try to sign these words:
dog man hot hate play deaf name Of course, not all signs are iconic.

10 Challenges Facing Deaf Education
Exposure to a fluent, consistent language model before entering grade school 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. Whether sign or voice, exposure to a fluent language model (English or ASL) is often inadequate. Deaf children may enter kindergarten with little or no language foundation (compared to the average hearing 5-yr-old who understands about 2,500 words) and are exposed to print immediately before having the opportunity to acquire communicative competence. Those children who have Deaf parents generally enter school with a solid first language (ASL), so written English is acquired much easier. Other: inadequate use of hearing aids, visual acuity, physical or mental disabilities, family support, socioeconomic status. Approximately 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents. Early identification, assessment and intervention increase the chances of successful language acquisition. Parents and caretakers often are uninformed and overwhelmed with the decisions they must make regarding their child, often at the mercy of their physicians and audiologists: whether to choose signing or focus on oral (Auditory/oral (residual hearing and speechreading) or auditory/verbal (only residual hearing)) approach or both. Whichever decision they make, the profoundly deaf child will not learn language spontaneously, he has to be purposefully taught. A profoundly deaf infant would naturally receive information through the visual channel. “ASL is an efficient language for visual learning and is easier for Deaf children to acquire as a first language than any form of English" (Finnegan, 1992, p. 7) Though some parents may learn to sign, typically the deaf child does not receive the same quality exposure to a fluent language model as a hearing child. Consequently, many deaf kids enter Kindergarten with little or no language. The average hearing 5-yr-old understands about 2,500 words and produces about 1, words and has a good grasp of the English language. This child has already been exposed to print and may even basic reading skills. Think of how many years of spoken language the child heard and used before learning to read. The deaf child, on the other hand, often begins school with no real chance to develop a first language before being bombarded with English text. Not the case for Deaf of Deaf. They generally learn written English at a rate similar to hearing peers. Other confounding factors include: possible lack of natural conversation at home and at school, limited life experiences, inadequate use of hearing aids and other disabilities (visual, physical, mental, learning disabilities, family issues).

11 Challenges Facing Deaf Education
Native signers are not the standard in the field of deaf education. Some teachers of the deaf are not fluent signers, which further hinders the deaf child in his language development. Louisiana requires only two ASL classes for certification. How well could you teach English to non-English speakers if you didn’t know their language, not to mention if they had limited literacy skills? Even if the teacher communicates competently using some form of manual communication, they may not have the skills to convey subtle or deeper meaning (e.g. signing accuracy, noun/verb distinctions, tense distinctions, passive voice). The teacher may communicate competently in an English based signing system, but may burden or confuse the deaf student by not providing a more visual representation of the concept (example: the rabbit and the fence). Teachers with no signing experience try to communicate through writing. But often deaf students have delayed literacy skills. Furthermore, literacy is required in all content areas, so if the student reads below grade level, how will their conceptual knowledge of science, math and social studies topics develop? Signing accuracy: white vs. like, White color vs. white person (concept), “have to” meaning must, expressions such as “can’t stand that,” save money vs. save homework vs. save a life, right Noun/verb distinction: sit vs. chair tense: I drive home. I drove home. I am driving home. I’ve been driving home… Passive: 500 English soldiers were killed by the colonists. She went through the gate. Using classifiers. ASL vs. English: Give the book to her, constant pain, make a mistake (same as English) Have to, I made it! (arrive or successful), make up (create or do the work), oysters make me sick vs. she makes me sick.

12 More Challenges Facing Deaf Education
The biased attention and credit given to the Oral/Aural Approach. considerations: Hearing loss/language capabilities/family support variation among individuals limitations of speechreading amplification (hearing aids) cochlear implants similar to acquiring fluent signing skill, auditory/oral training is intensive. However, there is always a fluent and consistent language model! Hearing loss obviously affects each child differently (type, degree of loss, benefit from amplification, age of identification, individual skill to acquire spoken English and speechreading). There are limitations inherent in speechreading in the case of Auditory/Oral (only 40% of speech is visible on the lips). Amplification – progress in technology has developed better hearing aids, but they do not restore hearing as glasses restore sight. Hearing aids make everything louder but not necessarily clearer. Cochlear implants do NOT make a deaf child hear again. Successful implantation provides the opportunity for the child to access meaningful sound, especially spoken language. NAD has changed their stance and personally they may help fill in the gaps that a non fluent signing environment may have. Auditory/oral training is intensive, requiring commitment from teachers, parents/families, speech therapists. Oral programs sadly have a “last resort” attitude when it comes to manual communication. If a student isn’t making satisfactory progress (due to the individual child or lack of family support), they may relegate a student to a manual communication environment.

13 Remember…….. Every child is an individual who deserves to have access to consistent and fluent language models. Yeah!

14 Challenges Facing Deaf Education
Variation of students in a class older, newly enrolled, hard-of-hearing students with minimal or no signing skill bilingual students who sign proficiently and whose English literacy skills are on level students who depend entirely on sign who may or may not be fluent signers (delayed language) some students have other disabilities that affect their learning and communicative ability: CP, Apraxia, (suspected) learning disabilities, Usher’s Syndrome, etc.

15 Challenges Facing Deaf Education
Misconception of residential schools like Louisiana School for the Deaf. IDEA (Individuals With Disabilities Education Act) emphasizes that students should be educated in the Least Restrictive Environment. Contrary to popular belief, residential schools ARE the LRE for many deaf children who need the the specialized services and maximum support to achieve educational goals. Remember, the basic tenet of special education is to meet individual needs.

16 Unlike other cultural minority groups, Deaf culture is generally not passed down from parent to child* (because most deaf children are born to hearing parents). Deaf culture is transmitted from Deaf peers and adults at the residential schools. The schools are the heart of the Deaf community, because of the social and cultural bonds that develop through their common language, ASL. Deaf students have access to fluent ASL models and proud Deaf adults and peers, which fosters positive self-concept and linguistic development (in both ASL and written English). *(Cohen, 1995, p.55)

17 Challenges Facing Deaf Education
Students in a signing environment, especially those that enter school with a weak or nonexistent language foundation (ASL) are generally not taught ASL. Deaf students are not necessarily “naturally” fluent in ASL – they have to be exposed and involved in native conversational experiences. How many years do hearing students take “English” in their educational lives? Ironically, ASL classes are generally offered to hearing adults instead of deaf students!

18 Challenges Facing Deaf Education
7. Limited background knowledge and experiences, sometimes due to lack of communicative interaction. The existing gaps necessitate repeated or initial presentation of concepts that we may take for granted, hindering the path toward more complex and in-depth knowledge construction. Abbreviations: USA, 12/6/05, Classifications: states, countries, continents

19 do to better serve our deaf students?
Gosh, what can we do to better serve our deaf students?

20 Our ASL and English Gumbo!
The ASL/English bilingual approach advocates development of fluency in ASL and English for our deaf students, through the use of pure ASL, written English, speech/auditory training if applicable, bridging techniques and other methods supporting language acquisition and learning. ASL English Deaf Education

21 Foundations and Rationale for ASL/English Bilingual Education
ASL/English Bilingualism falls under the wider context of spoken language bilingualism. Bilingualism fosters cognitive, social, cultural and personal growth (self-esteem, future career choices, effective communication with wider range of people) Adult bilingualism and multilingualism is valued in the United States and worldwide. ESL/EFL principles for success are integral to our ASL/English Bilingual education.

22 Deaf individuals most commonly have varying degrees of bilingualism and biculturalism. Successful interaction with the hearing community necessitates literacy skills. Even within the D/deaf community, text messaging, , tty’s and instant messenger programs require English skills for successful communication. Research and anecdotal evidence shows the most skilled deaf bilingual students come from homes where ASL is the first language, i.e., Deaf families. Bilingual fluency necessitates the development of a strong first language foundation, and maintenance of both English and ASL education.

23 Another sign language lesson!
What are examples of the different meanings of “MAKE?” In English, we use the word “make” in a variety of contexts. In ASL, there are distinctions based on meaning. Let’s make a clay animal. Doctors make a lot of money. The teacher makes due with the scarce supplies. I make sure to check my work. She makes me sick vs. oysters make me sick. He will make it (to the airport in time) vs. (in Hollywood). The book makes sense. AND THAT’S NOT ALL!

24 Conversely, some different words in English are signed the same in ASL:
think/brain/mind/thought guess/miss (I guess I missed the party) plant (noun)/spring (noun) but/different danger/dangerous (dangers of volcanoes vs. dangerous volcanoes) magnet/magnetic/magnetism

25 All languages have variations in their structure and how concepts are conveyed. It’s not simply a matter of “knowing the right signs for the English words.”

26 “Which layer was laid down last?”
Some examples from the classroom that illustrate how English can be inadequately conveyed: The topic is geologic history within sedimentary rock layers: D C This will be demonstrated by signing “word for word” vs. signing conceptually and appropriately. B A “Which layer was laid down last?”

27 Additionally, visual reinforcement is helpful for all students, but due to language delays and background knowledge, visuals do not necessarily guarantee immediate comprehension. Solar eclipse The _____________ is between the _______________ and the _______________. This also will be demonstrated, emphasizing the amount of time it took not only to convey the concept, but also to understand the relationship in English, for the students to practice appropriately signing the scientific concept and/or English relationship and finally, to transfer the “between” understanding to other topics (in sign language and English)

28 Questions & Comments

29 Thank You!!

30 Helpful advice....

31 What to do when conversing with a deaf individual:
If they are with an interpreter, speak to the person, not to the interpreter. (looking at the person) “Are you enjoying the class?” NOT (looking at the interpreter) “Ask him if he’s enjoying the class.” Speak clearly and naturally in a normal voice. Do not overly emphasize mouth movements nor raise your voice. Do use writing to communicate if necessary.

32 What to do when conversing with a deaf individual:
Touching the arm is an appropriate way to get an individual’s attention. Do NOT touch the head or the hands. Maintain eye contact while “listening” and try not to be distracted by people or sounds. It’s quite all right to walk between two deaf individuals conversing, as long as you do not stop and call attention to yourself. Politely decline any deaf peddlers offering you a card with the ASL alphabet for a “donation.”

33 If you have a deaf student in your class:
If the student uses oral communication, remember to face the student, making sure not to turn your back and continue speaking (when writing on the board, for example). Make sure the lighting around you is adequate. Remember if you call attention to text or a picture, allow time for the student to look at the material then resume focus (on you or the interpreter) before moving on. Or, use a visual presenter or transparency to display the text at the same time you’re discussing it, but seat the student properly so he can see the interpreter and the information easily. Looking back and forth from interpreter to board Looking up and down from print to teacher/interpreter

34 If you have a deaf student in your class:
Be aware of the “lag time” between the verbal and interpreted message. All interpreted situations will naturally have a delay, so allow extra time for the deaf student to respond and participate. Designate a notetaker for the student and/or provide the student with the printed material you use. Remember that the interpreter is not a teacher, nor an aide. They should strictly convey what you say. Do give the interpreter information about the topics you’ll be discussing, the pages you’ll be using and any handouts that students will be addressing, so that she may be aware of new vocabulary and concepts. If you read text out loud, identify what you are reading first and try not to read too quickly.

35 Helpful links: http://www.nad.org/ National Association of the Deaf
Karen Nakumura Deaf Resource Library Gallaudet University – explanations of communication systems used with deaf individuals sign language and Deaf culture videotapes and texts American Sign Language Visual Dictionary and Info Fingerspelling tutorial Captioned Media Program jewelry, gifts and materials

36 Contact/Resource Information
Mona Alkadi Robby Porter This presentation and other resource materials are available on our school website, the “LSD SignPost,” at


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