AW: writing by hand - not so easy ? -

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Wed Dec 3 23:41:10 UTC 2003

SignWriting List
December 3, 2003

For the researchers on the SW List...take a look at the clips I
highlighted below, all written by Stefan, about teaching Deaf children
to write well...First, you can see that they use SignWriting daily, but
second, their hearing parents do not necessarily know how to sign. Nor
can their parents read SignWriting, although they are not against it.
And third, Stefan would like them to be at the same level with hearing
children, who have parents who speak their own language, and
fourth...Stefan's students do write by hand and are proud of their
documents...they just don't reach the level of skill of hearing
children at the same age...

What a wonderful teacher, you are, Stefan, to care so deeply about your
students...They are lucky indeed!

There are more classrooms in Albuquerque starting to use SignWriting
now...two new teachers (one of them Deaf) have requested SignWriting
assistance today, and I feel, that SignWriting is a benefit in these
classrooms...but I am not sure if we can judge the idea of "literacy"
completely based on hearing children's experiences...maybe that is an
impossible comparison, because nothing is equal about it...

Instead I am just grateful if SignWriting is helpful in any way, and I
assume it must be, or teachers wouldn't be choosing it...It may be that
in another generation true literacy will be achieved...perhaps our
software or books etc are not good enough right now, or maybe we need
more written literature?...or maybe we need to start at younger ages,
as you suggested with your hearing child Gordian, who is now 5? how did
he grow up so fast?

Val ;-)


Stefan Woehrmann wrote:
> ....Do you know that we read and type   (;-))    GebaerdenSchrift  -
> documents
> day by day in almost any subject. Perhaps more than any other class in
> the
> world ....
> ......deaf students are in a bad position if the whole
> family is hearing and shows almost no interest in SL. Same old soup
> ... deaf
> children have to grow up in order to inform their hearing parents about
> their isolated situation ...
> ....The reason that I asked for feedback is that I cannot imagine at
> all that
> other 8 - to ten year old students are really able to use handwriting
> SW as
> a notation system that can be compared with written language as hearing
> pre-school kids can use it. (So not just copying some signs - or kind
> of
> painting some signs more or less accurate for a document that is
> planned for
> any kind of presentation. I can imagine that deaf students at the age
> of 15
> or 16 will show a different attitude.
> ....So all in all - yes we can show more than one document - in a
> handwritten
> form. And yes I agree - the students are very proud to be able to write
> them - but I am afraid that this would not be enough to develop
> bilingual
> competence ...

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