Deaf Residential Schools in the US...

Cherie Wren cwterp at YAHOO.COM
Sun Jan 7 16:01:14 UTC 2007

That is what we are hoping to do at GSD, a research project.  The administration won't let us do it formally during "instructional" time, so we are using the 'fun Friday' time.  Hopefully we will get enough results to be able to move us into "prime time".  I have the research proposal that I wrote at school-- I will send you a copy of that probably Tuesday.  (I will be off site tomorrow)  I have two Deaf people here at school interested.  Unfortunately neither is a teacher.  I'm hoping that when the kids start showing results, they will be a little more open minded about the source.  I am also trying to get my two Deaf  non teachers to actually get caught using SW.  In order to use SW during the friday time, we are correlating it with the Georgia Performance Standard (Official curriculum from the state) so that we can prove the kids are still learning what they need while doing this at the same time.  Once the kids are using it, I plan to set them up with SignText and Sign P!
 uddle on the computers in the dorm.  Lots of Deaf folks there to see and get interested...

All of this is why, Kelly Jo, I am a little reluctant to set a date for you to come.  We haven't even started yet!  ::smile:: We are trying to work around people who see this as something that will be taking the place of instruction in English.  


----- Original Message ----
From: Stuart Thiessen <sw at>
To: sw-l at
Sent: Sunday, January 7, 2007 1:20:11 AM
Subject: Re: [sw-l] Deaf Residential Schools in the US...

Here in Iowa, we have tried to mention SignWriting to both our local 
mainstream program and the state school for the Deaf. I say "mention" 
because we are still trying to figure out the best plan for introducing 
it to the schools. Part of the challenge is that they have pressure to 
achieve English literacy. For many of them, ASL Literacy seems like 
they are going in the wrong direction, so they don't want to "waste" 
their time. So part of making SW attractive to them (and many others) 
involves having the "proof" that ASL literacy will lead to English 
literacy. Even better would be "proof" that ASL literacy will either 
lead to faster English literacy or better English literacy than the 
various other programs available that do not involve ASL literacy. 
Again, we would have to define what "proof" means. What we might call 
"proof" might not be the same as they would call "proof". So that is 
all part of the process too.

So, (in stating the obvious) I think this is one of the high priority 
research items that SW advocates need to develop is something that 
shows how SL literacy impacts spoken language literacy. I think some of 
that is happening now just in the ancedotal evidence that has been 
mentioned on this list, and certainly Dr. Flood's dissertation is 
another helpful resource toward this question. Valerie's Literacy 
Project is another good avenue. So some things are happening.

Now, I think all of us would agree that SL literacy is valuable on its 
own, and I think eventually people are going to realize that. But in 
the meantime, we will need to find ways to "dangle the carrot" and get 
their interest. English literacy is certainly one that will grab the 
attention of the educational community. Maybe we should brainstorm some 
other avenues that can introduce SW into the schools, and maybe we can 
come up with some other creative ideas.

I do agree that residential schools are a key part of the puzzle, but 
we must include the mainstream programs as well because so many deaf 
children graduate from mainstream programs. This actually might be a 
way to instill some pride in having Deaf heritage, language, and 
culture for these mainstream students.



On Jan 6, 2007, at 23:27, Valerie Sutton wrote:

> SignWriting List
> January 6, 2006
> Now that Cherie and Donna, at the Georgia School for the Deaf, have 
> initiated a SignWriting study, it is the first Residential School for 
> the Deaf in the US to try least in one classroom...
> To explain, SignWriting is used in schools in the USA, such as Hodgin 
> Elementary School in New Mexico, but Hodgin is not a Residential 
> School for the is a Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing program inside 
> a hearing school...mainstreamed I believe is the term...
> And perhaps Georgia School for the Deaf is not all residential either, 
> but it is still a School for the Deaf. Generally there are two in each 
> state in the have SignWriting used, even 
> experimentally, at a School for the Deaf is very important, I think, 
> for getting acceptance from the Deaf Community later...If Deaf schools 
> (not just mainstreamed programs) accept SignWriting then we are 
> reaching more of the Deaf Community...
> Do you agree with this, Stuart? If more Deaf Residential Schools 
> adopted SignWriting it might gain more acceptance later? That is why 
> it would be so great if we could encourage more residential schools I 
> think...Val ;-)
> On Jan 6, 2007, at 8:06 PM, Stuart Thiessen wrote:
>> It has been my experience (and for understandable reasons) that 
>> hearing advocates of SignWriting are often resisted. For example, one 
>> Deaf man I met was very resistant when I mentioned SignWriting. He 
>> commented that he had met these hearing people who tried to encourage 
>> him to use the system. But then Philip and I talked with him and 
>> explained the system Deaf to Deaf. It made a big difference for him 
>> to see Deaf people who championed the system. So, with all due 
>> respect to hearing people (and to Valerie who invented the system) 
>> and to all the other hearing people on this list who are our valuable 
>> allies, I think that it pays to have Deaf advocates lead the charge 
>> where possible. That way, the system cannot be put down as a 
>> hearing-imposed system or some other such excuse. :)
>> Now, I by no means am saying, Kelly, that you shouldn't advocate for 
>> the system. I just suggest that you try a different tack. Perhaps use 
>> it around Deaf people until you identify Deaf people who are open to 
>> the idea and curious enough to explore it more. As they become more 
>> convinced, together as a team, work to convince other Deaf of its 
>> value. By building this kind of network, you will be better able to 
>> overcome the resistance that some have toward the system because it 
>> will no longer be a hearing-Deaf issue. If you let them push for it 
>> but you simply provide some of the linguistic support that you have 
>> through your education and skills, that will be a valuable way to do 
>> it.
>> Thanks,
>> Stuart
>> On Jan 6, 2007, at 19:47, K.J. Boal wrote:
>>> Thanks Shane,
>>> I'm planning on doing that when I can, but I've talked to some of 
>>> the leaders of the Deaf community here (e.g., the chair of Deafness 
>>> Studies at the University of Alberta), and they have been very 
>>> negative about SignWriting.  Without their support, it's definitely 
>>> going to be an uphill battle!
>>> Thanks again,
>>> Kelly Jo
>>>> From: "Shane Gilchrist O hEorpa" <shane.gilchrist.oheorpa at>
>>>> Reply-To: sw-l at
>>>> To: sw-l at
>>>> Subject: [sw-l] Kelly Jo - Canadian Association?
>>>> Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007 19:59:34 +0000
>>>> Kelly Jo,
>>>> another possibiliy here is...
>>>> you could go and set up a Canadian Association for Sign Writing - or
>>>> something like that.
>>>> Some of us have set up European SignWriters Organisation (some ll 
>>>> say
>>>> SignWriting) in Brussels to support the development of SW in Europe 
>>>> -
>>>> we are being slow but more and more people are picking up on SW. Our
>>>> first ESWO symopsium did lead to more schools getting involved - and
>>>> have impressed the Japanese people!
>>>> It will take time but you will get there - just get a few deaf
>>>> teachers/lecturers together in Canada, say Western Canada and the 
>>>> rest
>>>> will be good.
>>>> Shane @ ESWO
>>> _________________________________________________________________
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