Bilingual Education

In 2006, two teachers at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD-US) attended an intensive training program by CAEBER (The Center for ASL/English Bilingual Education and Research) whose goal is to bring about high academic achievement for deaf and hard of hearing students by facilitating proficiency in American Sign Language and English. Later when presenting a seminar to the PSD staff, they introduced a textbook, ESL/EFL Teaching: Seven Principles for Success, by Yvonne S. Freeman and David E. Freeman, which cites research showing that most successful students (whether hearing or deaf) receive bilingual instruction. The seven recommendations are:
  1. Learning language occurs from whole to part; use the big picture first and the work down to specifics
  2. Lessons should be learner-centered, i.e., use students’ interests as a motivator
  3. Learning occurs when lessons have meaning and purpose for students now
  4. Learning occurs in social interaction (as well as in formal lessons)
  5. Lessons should develop both oral and written (ASL and English), e.g. shows English words on the wall and the demonstrate the ASL sign for them
  6. Lessons should support students’ first languages and cultures, i.e., include their home/families’ cultures too
  7. Faith in the learner expands his/her learning potential

Source: THE PSD WORLD: a publication of the PSD  Summer 2007. www.psd.org

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