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

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Presentation on theme: "Louisiana Leads 2006 Mona Alkadi, M.Ed. and Robby Porter, M.Ed. Louisiana School for the Deaf Deaf Education Gumbo: Start With A Great ASL/English Bilingual."— Presentation transcript:


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

3 2 Robby Porter is Louisiana School for the Deafs 2006-2007 Teacher of the Year! He teaches third grade. A little about the presenters: Robby is a southern gentleman, born and raised in Mississippi.

4 3 Mona Alkadi teaches Middle School Science at Louisiana School for the Deaf. Originally from Colorado, shes in no hurry to leave the warm weather, crawfish etoufee and her wonderful students and coworkers!

5 4 How do you refer to persons with a hearing loss?

6 5 Whats 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.

7 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.

8 7 Right! So ASL is visual language and English is a spoken language?

9 8 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.

10 9 Now try to sign these words: dog man hot hate play deaf name Of course, not all signs are iconic.

11 10 Challenges Facing Deaf Education 1.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.

12 11 2.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 didnt 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). Challenges Facing Deaf Education

13 12 More Challenges Facing Deaf Education 3.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!

14 13 Remember…….. Every child is an individual who deserves to have access to consistent and fluent language models. Yeah!

15 14 Challenges Facing Deaf Education 4.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, Ushers Syndrome, etc.

16 15 Challenges Facing Deaf Education 5.Misconception of residential schools like Louisiana School for the Deaf. a.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.

17 16 b.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).

18 17 Challenges Facing Deaf Education 6.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!

19 18 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. Challenges Facing Deaf Education

20 19 Gosh, what can we do to better serve our deaf students?

21 20 Our ASL and English Gumbo! English ASL Deaf Education 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.

22 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.

23 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, email, ttys 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.

24 23 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. 1.Lets make a clay animal. 2.Doctors make a lot of money. 3.The teacher makes due with the scarce supplies. 4.I make sure to check my work. 5.She makes me sick vs. oysters make me sick. 6.He will make it (to the airport in time) vs. (in Hollywood). 7.The book makes sense. AND THATS NOT ALL! Another sign language lesson !

25 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

26 25 All languages have variations in their structure and how concepts are conveyed. Its not simply a matter of knowing the right signs for the English words.

27 26 Some examples from the classroom that illustrate how English can be inadequately conveyed: The topic is geologic history within sedimentary rock layers: A D B C Which layer was laid down last?

28 27 Additionally, visual reinforcement is helpful for all students, but due to language delays and background knowledge, visuals do not necessarily guarantee immediate comprehension. The _____________ is between the _______________ and the _______________. Solar eclipse

29 28 Questions & Comments

30 29 Thank You!!

31 30 Helpful advice....

32 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 hes 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.

33 32 Touching the arm is an appropriate way to get an individuals attention. Do NOT touch the head or the hands. Maintain eye contact while listening and try not to be distracted by people or sounds. Its 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. What to do when conversing with a deaf individual:

34 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 youre discussing it, but seat the student properly so he can see the interpreter and the information easily.

35 34 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 youll be discussing, the pages youll 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. If you have a deaf student in your class:

36 35 Helpful links: 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

37 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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