teaching the kids

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Sun Jan 14 21:26:02 UTC 2007

SignWriting List
January 14, 2007

Kim -
That would be an appropriate question about the kids in Albuquerque,  
New Mexico, who learned SignWriting officially for a period of years,  
in elementary school...they are now in Middle School...and the same  
question could be asked of James Shepard Kegl about the kids who  
learned SignWriting for years in Nicaragua, or to Stefan, whose  
students have learned SignWriting for years in Germany...

but regarding the children who were introduced to SignWriting by me,  
for exactly ONE hour only, back in 1977...I never saw them again! And  
their teachers were angry to be interrupted by this weird woman who  
wanted to see if ASL-signing Deaf students, who were in a special  
class because their English skills were low, would take to writing  
ASL quickly or not...Their signing skills were high according to the  
principal...it was just their second language English which was a  
problem as it would have been for me too, if I were in those  
student's positions...

The success was so obvious in just one hour, that it truly astonished  
me, and disappointed me, to see how angry the teachers were...they  
believed in presenting English without ASL...let alone writing  
it...this was back in 1977 when ASL was just becoming more  
accepted...and while they saw the excitement in the students...they  
were actually jealous of the attention I got...and I would also like  
to note that they were all hearing and did not necessarily know ASL  
themselves...so the teachers would have been at a disadvantage too,  
because they would have had to learn SignWriting to keep up with the  
class themselves...so how could they even consider teaching something  
they did not know themselves?

Complicated psychology...But that was way back in 1977...

Mainly the point is that even within one hour, signing Deaf children  
can become inspired by SignWriting...I am so happy that Cherie and  
Donna had that experience two days ago!

And it was that first experience for me, that gave me the courage to  
continue working with SignWriting...I could see there might be some  
value someday, for someone in the world...

Val ;-)

Kimberley Shaw wrote:
> Hello Val:
> out of curiosity ... do you have any way of knowing what these now  
> grown-up kids are doing these days?
> Any of them still use SW?
> -- Kim from Boston
> I presented SignWriting to ASL Deaf kids in New Hampshire in 1977,
> for exactly one hour...they were writing in SignWriting all over the
> board themselves, before I barely had a chance to start!

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