Teachers' stories: Teaching American Sign Language and English literacy
AuthorGallimore, Laurene Elizabeth
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractEducators have long recognized that the average deaf high school graduate achieves only a third to fourth grade level education. Because of the low achievement of deaf children in America, there has been a growing interest in the concept of educating deaf children bilingually, acknowledging the value of American Sign Language (ASL) and English in the classroom. In recent years, there has been a move in the field of deaf education in Europe, Canada, and the United States toward the adoption of a bilingual-bicultural (BiBi) model for language and literacy instruction for deaf students. However, because very little research has been done on ASL/English instruction and methodology, Fernandes (1997, p. 2) states, "There is ongoing reluctance in the United States to capitalize on deaf children's bilingual, bicultural capacities in promoting literacy and competence." Although several research studies have investigated the relationship between ASL and English literacy acquisition and have provided strong theoretical support for educating Deaf children bilingually, there is still a lack of study on practical strategies or "how-to's." Furthermore, the teacher-training programs in Deaf Education historically have not attracted potential applicants with fluent ASL skills and knowledge of bilingualism and literacy. Most of the programs strongly emphasize medical-pathological views rather than appropriate pedagogies that access and build upon deaf students' linguistic and cultural knowledge. Hence, this dissertation addresses practical strategies for teaching deaf students by analyzing teachers' retrospective stories on their experiences with implementing a new bilingual model in their classrooms. As adapted from Livingston's claim in her book, Rethinking the Education of Deaf Students (1996), in light of our goals, we wish to address the dire need for prospective teachers and teacher educators to rethink their views of us, Deaf people, and in doing so, rethink the theoretical underpinnings of their teaching methodologies in teacher education programs and schools.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading and Culture