AW: writing by hand - not so easy ? -

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Wed Dec 3 23:03:59 UTC 2003

SignWriting List
December 3, 2003

Stefan Woehrmann wrote:
> Well yes - they can write their sign-names and this and that - but it
> is far
> away from "what I expect a 10 year old child to express in written
> form."
> They can copy signs and symbols and show not too much attention to a
> very
> accurate writing - which on the other hand is an interesting
> information.
> They are absolute fluent readers - but not in an analytic - reading -
> style
> as I call it if the reader is informed about all the tiny hints and
> pieces
> that are "hidden" in a correct SW - spelling.

Dear SW List members and Stefan, Ingvild...

First, I think for the sake of new members on the SW explain:
Stefan and other teachers have been using SignWriting for several years
with success...mostly in increased reading this
email-conversation is specifically about writing skills...I personally
feel there is no doubt that "reading SignWriting" is a benefit to Deaf
children...of course that needs to be researched too...but experience
seems to be positive when it comes to reading signs...but writing signs
has not been studied as much...there are definitely people in the world
who write SignWriting by hand, but what influence that has had on
literacy skills is not known this email conversation is
discussing the issues of "writing signs by hand" and "typing signs by
computer"...Stefan is really helping all of us by focusing on this
question, since Stefan's class of Deaf children has been using
SignWriting for several years...

Second, I think the key point in your paragraph above, Stefan, is that
you have specific expectations...You say: "what I expect a 10 year old
child to express in written form....etc". What do you expect? Are you
basing the expectation on hearing children at that age? Are you basing
it on writing your first or second languages? Maybe expectations don't
matter? What really matters, is if some of your students are better off
with SignWriting than without?...maybe writing slowly and not going as
fast as you expect is ok, if it sinks in later, and they remember it
better, as they get older?

You know, recently I had my 15 year old nephew living near me, going to
school in my area. He has now moved back to Florida, because he was
homesick! But in that short time, while he was going to school here, I
saw the stress of the school days...believe this or not, his teachers
were emailing me with his grades from week to week, and reporting on
every good and bad thing that happened...frankly I found it stressful
to communicate this to his mother in Florida, and to explain it to his
grandparents everyday...after awhile I started to see how hard it must
be to grow up today in the school system here...there are so many
expectations that it is exhausting...maybe all of these students and
teachers need to have less expectations and a little more learning for
the fun of it...I realize our society doesn't allow that, but that is
my observation as an outsider...

I think I will be able to resume lessons in SignBank this weekend...I
hope you are still interested, Stefan? expectations - ha! ;-)

Val ;-)

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