AW: SW as a bridge between signing and Spanish

James Shepard-Kegl, Esq. kegl at MAINE.RR.COM
Wed May 26 04:58:47 UTC 2004

Hello Everyone, and James!
Thanks for showing us your document...It is really good looking. So you
are using SignWriter Java now? That is great!

Are your Deaf students in Nicaragua learning Spanish from this?..I you see some success and does the SignWriting help?


The Deaf students are learning a good deal of Spanish  -- much more than
their Deaf peers in the Managua schools for Deaf, so far as I can tell.  The
SignWriting is no less than invaluable  -- it is integral to our entire

Having said all this, at the moment we do not have a volunteer in Bluefields
which means I would doubt that the program is being implemented as
effectively as I might hope.  Nevertheless, we manage to limp along.  We
have a volunteer scheduled to begin in January (although one never knows),
so for those of you who might be interested in coming to Bluefields this
summer (for several months, please), now is the time to contact me.  What a
difference an on site qualified volunteer would make!

My next step is to conduct a more formal research study aimed at comparing
the progress of the Bluefields students with that of other Deaf students
(and former students) in Nicaragua.  All this takes money of which, alas, we
have essentially none.  The educational system in Nicaragua in general has
collapsed: 26% of Nicaraguan children never set foot in a classroom; 50% of
the teenagers in Bluefields cannot go to school.  The newspapers reported
just two days ago that many families with Deaf children in the Managua
public schools can no longer pay the monthly fees and bus charges.  (It is a
wonder they still call it "public" school.)  In our case in Bluefields, much
of our funding is directed toward the foster care and shelter programs, or
some of our students would starve.

Anyway, here is a lesson that I just completed.  We have a level one and
level two Spanish text, and this lesson is geared for students who are
completing level one.  As this material is in the production stage, I have
not yet contacted the children's books publisher who no doubt holds a
copyright to the illustrations.

-- James

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