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1993 Conference Presentation Summaries

Second Language Acquisition and Perspectives on Bilingual Education

Presented by Kenji Hakuta, Stanford University
Summary by Marilyn Sass-Lehrer, Gallaudet University

The 1993 conference opened with a stimulating presentation by Kenji Hakuta, Professor and scholar in the School of Education at Stanford University. A discussion followed with comments and issues raised by moderator, Barbara Schirmer from Lewis & Clark College; and panelists Joseph Fischgrund, Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, Steve Nover, University of Arizona, Patrick Stone, Tucker-Maxon Oral School and President of the Alexander Graham Bell Association of the Deaf, Michael Strong, University of California Center on Deafness, and Laurene Gallimore, Indiana School for the Deaf.

Dr. Hakuta discussed both the theory and lessons learned from research on bilingualism. He made several points regarding the learning of first and second language including:

  1. Languages mutually reinforce each other rather than compete for limited resources;
  2. Bilingualism has positive consequences on other areas of development (e.g., social development);
  3. Knowledge and skills of one language transfer to other language(s) acquired;
  4. Social expectations and the environment retard or facilitate the development of bilingualism;
  5. Maintaining the native language while acquiring English does not deter from English and may have substantial benefits.

Dr. Hakuta emphasized the need for systematic reform and keeping an eye on standards and assessment issues. He challenged school programs to align theory and practice and to integrate the knowledge base on bilingualism with staff development programs.

Fischgrund commented on the need for teachers to be trained to think about language-both first and second languages rather than to know about the different models of bilingual education. Strong emphasized the differences and challenges faced in the field of deaf education regarding the establishment of a strong first language and the applicability of what is known about bilingualism. Stone commented on the differences between interpersonal language and the language proficiency needed for cognitive and academic tasks. Nover shared perspectives on language planning policies and the importance of involving the Deaf community in language policies and programs. Gallimore shared experiences and perspectives from the Indiana School in which teachers and programs are designed to provide environments which facilitate a well established first language in American Sign Language.

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"How Good Are Your Receptive Sign Skills"

Presented by Gerilee Gustason, San Jose State University
Summary by H. William Brelje, Lewis and Clark College

A new receptive sign skills test, the Educational Sign Skills Evaluation: Receptive (ESSE: R) was introduced.

Teachers of deaf and hard-of-hearing students generally agree that reception is more difficult than the expression of signs. The ESSE: R was developed to evaluate teachers' and prospective teachers' receptive sign competency. On the video taped test, deaf high school students present three types of signs including pidgin Signed English, Signing Exact English and American Sign Language. Each of the three types of sign systems are presented at three different vocabulary levels: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced.

The ESSE: R set includes three videotapes (one at each vocabulary level). Each tape includes two warmup sentences and ten test sentences for each of the three types of signing. Each level requires approximately -hour to administer. The test manual includes a transcription of the test sentences, instructions for scoring, a score reporting grid, and criteria for labelling skills as Beginner, High Beginner, Intermediate, High Intermediate, or Advanced.

On tests of reliability the ESSE: R has a split-half odd-even item correlation of .82 for the PSE segment, .84 for SEE, and .92 for ASL. The instrument has been rated by evaluatees as valid measure of their receptive skills.

The cost is $100 for a set of three tapes and manual, plus $5 for shipping. California residents must add 7.75% sales tax. The test can be ordered from: The SEE Center for the Advancement of Deaf Children, P.O. Box 1181, Los Alamitos, CA 90720.

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Linking Standards and Practice: A Model for Preparing Educational Interpreters

Presented by Mary V. Compton & Edgar H. Shroyer, University of North Carolina
Summary by Paul Crutchfield, Flagler College

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro developed a comprehensive interpreter training program that leads to a Bachelor of Science Degree. Interpreter processes are designed to develop competencies listed by both the CED and the RID. The interpreting component includes development of expressive and receptive skills in ASL, MCE, and PSE; interpreting theory and techniques; and knowledge of the code of ethics. These skills are developed through course content, observation, practice, and internships. As an innovative component of the program, students take courses in the liberal arts and in linguistic and cultural systems. They also join prospective teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students in educational methods courses.

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Deaf Education in Public School Teachers: What are They Saying About Bi-Bi Philosophy?

Presented by Joan Studnicky Osgood & Azar Hadadian, Ball State University
Summary by Barbara Leutke-Stahlman, University of Kansas Medical Center

Ninety questionnaires to all programs in Indiana about Bi-Bi were sent to public school teachers of deaf students. Surveys are still being collected, but 60 were analyzed for this presentation. The ratings on questions were categorized by a) all teachers, b) 1-5 years experience; c) 6-15 years experience and d) 16 or more years. Three main areas were assessed a) knowledge base, b) training acquired, and c) attitudes toward Deaf Culture, towards ASL, and towards parenting. All respondents were hearing; the majority held graduate degrees and most had taken an English-based sign class taught by a hearing person in their training. Most taught elementary students (56%) in self-contained classrooms (46%). Most teachers thought that ASL-users were low achievers; 24% thought ASL was a form of manual English, that deaf children should not be instructed through ASL, and that use of ASL interferes with socializing with hearing children. On the other hand, the respondents indicated that they need inservice training and should learn ASL.

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Discussion Group: Curriculum Modification/Bi-Bi

Led by Steve Nover, University of Arizona, & Laurene Gallimore, Indiana School for the Deaf
Summary by Barbara Leutke-Stahlman, University of Kansas Medical Center

Because of difficulties in changing teacher training curricula, it may be helpful to set both long- and short-range goals. Deaf instructors need to be trained to teach, and should be hired to teach Deaf studies and sign courses. Course titles and descriptions can be written to reflect a cultural (not medical) model. Deaf adults can be included on the advisory boards, along with hearing parents. There are now 17 deaf superintendents at schools and they should be working with teacher training programs.

Audience comments included (1) 4-year programs; (2) merging interpreting training and deaf education with deaf adults teaching a variety of classes; (4) focusing on process thinking of changes as a domino effect; (5) the need for state NAD groups and Deaf adults to be active and supportive of teacher training program; (6) work to change attitudes at ASHLA; (7) change department names away from things like Communicative Disorders which are offensive; (8) be in step with your constitutes; (9) provide inservice to school programs to facilitate changes in philosophy; (10) recognize parent perspectives; (11) disseminate ideas; (12) organize training activities with families and deaf adults (e.g., baseball games, spaghetti dinners, story telling sessions, poetry sharing, etc.); (13) study parallels between hearing bilingual situations where parents speak one language and children aculturate into another; (14) read Nancy Hatfield's article in Boys Town Issues in Language and Deafness, October, 1992, conference proceedings; (15) parent classes to include direct, consistent contact with deaf adults; (16) Deaf adults visit parents with newly identified children; (17) to help rural parents: subscribe to Deaf newspapers, help libraries buy books on deafness, work with interpreter training programs to develop video tapes of Deaf adults talking about their lives, traveling deaf "troupes", older deaf kids working or chatting with younger kids, interview and video tape older deaf adults and their lives; (18) the effect of deaf children "integrated" into early childhood programs is a very serious problem; (19) weekends for families with different focuses (e.g., Hispanic Families ,etc.); (20) don't scare families; (21) improve the itinerant model; and (22) suggest topics for NAD monograph. The groups concurred that it was very positive that people are trying to make changes.

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Preparing Teachers to Serve Deaf and Hard of Hearing students with Mild Learning Disabilities, Mental Retardation and Social-Emotional Problems

Presented by Ann Powers & Ray Elliott, University of Alabama
Summary by Thomas W. Jones, Gallaudet University

This presentation described a program to prepare teachers at either the M.A. or Ed.S. level for with deaf students with mild accompanying disabilities. The project had four goals:

  1. To prepare 30-40 personnel
  2. To include minority group members
  3. To develop and to disseminate video and print materials
  4. To develop competencies for working with the population of deaf students with mild accompanying disabilities. These include competencies for understanding this population, especially those from culturally diverse groups; competencies for identifying those students; competencies for using assessment information to plan appropriate interventions; nad skills in consultation and collaboration.

The program includes specialized coursework and a series of workshops over a 2-year period.

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Training Deaf Adults to Teach Deaf Children

Presented by Gabriel Martin, Lamar University
Summary by Barbara Leutke-Stahlman, University of Kansas Medical Center

Currently Lamar University has 22 deaf students enrolled in their teacher training program. Support services are essential: note-takers, interpreters, dorm modifications, and peer advisors. Solutions have included block-advising students into classes so interpreter services can be provided, open and frequent communication with deaf students, deaf students teaching beginning interpreters, writing grants to train interpreters at Lamar, using IQ Performance instead of GRE scores, and meetings with tangential departments to problem-solve issues. Recruitment of deaf students was successful because of a philosophy of a deaf leadership, b) ASL as a language, c) ESL approach, d) stipend support and e) continuous dialogue about improvement of support services. A grant pays $3,000 per semester to assist deaf students with tuition. An important point made was that trust needs to be developed between deaf and hearing students.

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Dialogue Journals: Reflections and Professional Enculturation of Pre-service Teachers

Presented by Rachel Hardesty & Shirin Antia, University of Arizona
Summary by Barbara Bodner-Johnson, Gallaudet University

The research questions were (1) What do teachers in preparation write about in dialogue journals? (2) What role does the journal dialogue take in enculturating the student to professional expectations. (3) To what extent is the development of the dialogue journal evidence of the invention of a mentorship relationship?

Dialogue journals were analyzed from students in the 1st, 3rd and 4th semesters of the program; student interviews, supervisors' written and discussion responses and comments.

Summary of Findings:

  1. Students write about a variety of themes, some of which are common: hearing status, communication mode, and deaf culture.
  2. Supervisors share a definition of professional culture and an understanding of the values expected of members of that culture. It appears that supervisor's use journals more overtly and correctly to enculturate their students.
  3. Although data are insufficient, the students appear to have seen some qualities in the journal dialogue that were like those they would hope for in a relationship between themselves and a mentor. They saw the dialogue journals as one element in that relationship.

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Discussion Group: Innovative Coursework/Evaluation

Summary by the session leader, Marilyn Sass-Lehrer, Gallaudet University

This group discussed several issues including the acquisition of sign communication skills, involvement of the Deaf community in teacher preparation, and certification issues, especially challenges faced when state certification requirements are low. The group also identified areas of study which need to be included in teacher preparation programs including career development, sex education, and innovative technology.

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Dual vs. Single Certification

Presented by Karen Dilka & Deborah Haydon, Eastern Kentucky University
Summary by P. Lynn Hayes

What is the value of dual certification to an educator of students who are deaf or hard of hearing? Does it provide an element of flexibility preferred by teachers and administrators? Or is the additional coursework in regular education unnecessary for training of qualified teachers in the field of deafness?

Certification standards vary from state to state. Although specific competencies are recommended by professional organizations such as CEC and CED, the framework within which these skills are taught depends on whether the program is at the graduate or undergraduate level and requirements established by each program. If regular education classes are a component of the program, they are included to provide a foundation from which curriculum, instruction and evaluation are modified for deaf and hard of hearing students. Prospective teachers need this information to solidify a knowledge base of developmental learning stages. However, dual certification restrict on deaf individuals seeking a teaching credential. These individuals, who may be interested only in teaching deaf children, may be discouraged by the number of irrelevant classes required to meet certification standards. Therefore, dual certification allows for alternative opportunities within the job market for some prospective teachers and severely limits others.

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