FocusThe main focus of our interest is deaf college studentswho are skillful communicators in sign language and whotake ESP (reading) I and II at the University of Zulia.
Communicative Abilities• Their first natural language is SL . (Sandler and Lillo-Martin, 2006)• Written Spanish is their second language (L2)• English is considered a third language (L3)
Common misconceptions• It is sometimes believed that teaching English to deafstudents falls into a regular case of bilingualism.• The universality of the sign is taken for granted; that is,these signs are not just universal pantonimes to replacespoken words.
Production ComprehensionSpeaking ListeningWriting ReadingManual –Gestual (L1)Visual (L1)Writing (L2) Reading (L2)Bimodal Bilingualism PhysicalModalityThe official language of their community
Features of Sing Language• “Sign Languages are used for everythingthat spoken language are – within thefamily circle, for social interaction, ..[…]..for introspection and dreaming, story-telling, and poetry”. (Lane and Phillip 1984, Padden andHumphries 1988 cited by Sandler and Lillo-Martin (2006)).
Sing Language SyntaxTaken from Sandler and Lillo-Martin, 2006• Word order possibilities in SL: SVO, OSV, VOS.• Embedding of articles, pronouns, and prepositionswhich are integral with the signing of verbs andnouns.
SL effects on written productionAccording to Michael Strong these are some of the manifestations of SLupon English:• READING: “The results of numerous studies have consistentlydemonstrated that the reading comprehension skills of hearing-impaired students are considerably lower than those of normally-hearing children of comparable age” (Strong, 5:1988).• WRITING: “Sentences written by deaf children and adolescents tendto be shorter (i.e., contain fewer words) than those written by childrenof the same age”. “the misuse of function words (i.e., articles andprepositions” (Strong, 6:1988).• GRAMMAR: “Articles, prepositions, conjunctions, pronouns, verbalauxiliaries, and inflexional and derivational suffixes are among themost persistent and pervasive sources of errors observed in theirspoken and written English (Bochner, 1982; Quigley and Paul, 1984cited by Strong, 6:1988).
Other intervening factorsDeaf people may differ in the respect of using the spokenlanguage. An individual’s degree of hearing loss, whether heor she is pre-lingually or post-lingually deaf, the use oflanguage in their education, and their family background mayinfluence their use of spoken language (Lucas and Valli, 1992).
Some practical teaching strategies1.Use lots of visuals in the classroom• Understanding of spoken information is increased if it isaccompanied with images.• Don’t use visuals aimlessly. Insert images in a sequentialmanner. “For example, a PowerPoint must be in a teachablesequence of visual information, all of which gradually adds upto the whole of a course.” (Dotter, 107: 2008).• Try to create topical lessons to accommodate visuals (family,food, transportation, etc). This is best achieved by usingFLASH CARDS.• Allow time to digest the information among them if they cometo the classroom as a group.
Some practical teaching strategies2. Don’t expect them to lipread EFL.• Lip reading is not considered full access to such informationas the ability to lip-read requires guesswork and familiarity ofcontent, which will only add more challenges in learning whenstudents are expected to learn a language not familiar tothem. However, some deaf people like to see the mouthing ofa foreign language.
Use web 2.0 toolsMy experience in making a vocabulary video.• CONTEXT:A group of 3 deaf students who enrolled in my EFL class at theUniversidad del Zulia, Cabimas and who:1. Have a very low level of English.2. Are studying Computer Science but do not know technicalwords from their field of study in English.3. Do not have signs for tech words such as motherboard, CPU,desktop, etc.
Use web 2.0 toolsMy experience in making a vocabulary video.• CHALLENGE: DESIGN A VIDEO TO TEACH TECHNICAL WORDS.1. You are not allowed to forge or create such signs; they mustarise from the deaf community.2. If they are newly available, the must go through astandardization process which requires the supervision of anofficial commission.3. Once these signs are openly available they start being usedby the rest of the deaf community.
Use web 2.0 toolsMy experience in making a vocabulary video.HOW DID WE DO IT?1. There was a small community in a private school inMaracaibo that were using some computer-related signslocally.2. One of their teachers came to our university and taught usthese signs.3. There is always a tech expert in the classroom who is willingto help. A video was made.
Support and Resources1. Web pages• http://www.cultura-sorda.eu/• http://www.conapdis.gob.ve/index.php/• http://www.gallaudet.edu/• http://www.wou.edu/education/sped/instructor_guide_deaf&interpreter.pdf• http://jdsde.oxfordjournals.org/content/by/year2. Create a PLN
Bibliography• Dotter, F. “English for Deaf Sign Language Users: Still a Challenge”.English in international comunication. Eds. Cynthia J Kellett Bidoli &Elana Ochese, Bern: Peter Lang, 2008. 97-121.• Lucas and Valli, C. (1992) Language Contact in the American DeafCommunity. New York: Academic Press, Inc.• Gernsbacher,M and Traxler,M. (2007) Handbook ofPsycholinguistics. Elsevier Publishing, Second Edition.• Sandler, W and Lillo-Martin, D. (2006) Sign language andLinginguistic Universal. Cambridge University Press.• Strong, M. Language Learning and Deafness. (1988) CambridgeApplied Linguistics.