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					THE SOMEWHAT BACKWARDS
BILINGUAL EXPERIENCE OF
A DEAF CHILD IN AMERICA



     Meghan Eckerson
SOME BACKGROUND
 Bilingualism – what does it mean?
 Deaf children – what do you do?
     Education
     Communication

 Research focuses on knowledge and
  understanding of English
 What about education?
EDUCATION
   Merriam-Webster defines education a few ways,
    one of which is the following:
       “to develop mentally, morally, or aesthetically
        especially by instruction.”
 What else do we want to teach deaf children
  other than English?
 What is the most effective way to do that?
SIDE A: BILINGUAL-BICULTURAL
 American   Sign Language (ASL) has its
  own structure and grammar
 The Deaf culture associated with it is very
  unique.
 Most deaf children grow up in families
  where the parents and siblings are
  hearing so they are not exposed to Deaf
  culture in their home, and often times are
  not exposed to the language either.
 Most of the exposure to ASL and Deaf
  culture comes from outside the home.
BI-BI EDUCATION
   “all of these factors – the fact that most deaf children do not
    learn English as a true native language; their ability to
    learn ASL as a native language; and the existence of a deaf
    community, to which most prelingually (and many
    postlingually) deaf youngsters and adults belong – have an
    important bearing on the education and language
    development of deaf children in North America.” (Veda R.
    Charrow and Ronnie B. Wilbur The Deaf Child as a
    Linguistic Minority. 354)
   Bilingual-Bicultural Education (Bi-bi). It “involves
    exposure to and acquisition of two languages, American
    Sign Language (ASL) and English. It also involves
    exposure to and involvement in two cultures, the Deaf
    culture and the Hearing culture . . . Bi-bi involves using
    ASL as the primary, and often sole, language of interaction
    in the first 6-7 years of life with children who are deaf and
    exposing children to all aspects of Deaf culture.” (qtd in
    Huefner, 2001 pg 187)
SIDE B: SIGNING EXACT ENGLISH
   Signing Exact English (SEE II) is a manual code of
    English developed from Seeing Essential English (SEE I)
    in the 1970s. SEE II is used in the education of deaf
    children today to help them learn English grammar and
    structure.
   “unlike American Sign Language, these codes follow
    English word order, and contain specific signs for bound
    morphemes to signify English verb tenses, adverbs, and
    function words. They were also designed so that they
    could be presented in coordination with spoken
    language.” (Barbara Luetke-Stahlman A History of
    Seeing Essential English (SEE I), 29)
   The idea is that if a deaf child can read and write
    English well, they will be able to understand more at
    school and around them and therefore succeed more
    academically.
   By teaching a child SEE (II) before they enter school, the
    child may develop an understanding of the syntax and
    grammar of English similar to that of the hearing
    children their age. English will become their native
    language.
METHODOLOGY
   Lack of research
       Focuses on English skills
 Longitudinal study
 Observe both sides for ten years
     Academic success
     Critical thinking skills
     English proficiency

   Why age 8-18?
THE TEST . . .
A   standardized test will be created for all
  twenty children and given at the end of
  every year.
 The English skills test – the Utah ELP
  standards
 Academic success – performance evaluations
  in school (i.e. report cards, teacher
  evaluations, etc)
 critical thinking test – based on Bloom’s
  taxonomy of education objectives.
 A final test will be given prior to graduation
  of high school, at which time the results will
  be analyzed and a conclusion decided on.
BLOOM’S TAXONOMY . . .
THE HYPOTHESIS
 Side   A:
     English skills may develop slower but
      eventually will catch up.
     Critical thinking skills will develop faster.
     Will be proficient in both languages.
 Side   B:
     English skills will develop faster.
     Critical thinking skills may be delayed.
     Will be proficient in English (will be their
      native language).
IF . . . THEN
   What if the hypotheses are true?
     We’ll have twenty smart, critically thinking deaf
      children!
     We’ll have ten bilingual children.
     We will be able to know which of these methods of
      educating a deaf child, if not both, is effective in
      developing thinking skills.
     We will know the strengths and weaknesses of each
      program and can identify ways to improve each.
FURTHER RESEARCH
 Does  the ability to lip read and speak
  make a difference in the education of a
  deaf child?
 Why is it that some deaf children can lip
  read and voice but others can’t?
 What role does family involvement play in
  the education of a deaf child?
 Can English be a fully-developed native
  language for a deaf child?
 Are there other ways to educate deaf
  children that are just as effective as the
  two evaluated here?
 What about psychological effects?

				
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