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An Initial Investigation of Sign Reception
Mary V. Compton, Edgar H. Shroyer,
& Tom Wingerath,
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The ability to attain competency in both
expressive and receptive aspects of signing is central
to the preparation of appropriately qualified teachers
and educational interpreters. To participate in
reciprocal, interactive communication with their
students, teachers and educational interpreters need
to be aware of strategies to improve their receptive
signing abilities. One such strategy involving eye
fixations has been documented in observational
research by Siple and Christie, Miller, and Swisher.
These findings indicate that deaf signers use eye
fixations on a certain portion of the sender s face in
receiving signed messages.
The roundtable presentation displayed the
results obtained from objective measures of gaze
during durations of students preparing to be teachers
or educational interpreters and young deaf adults as
they viewed a videotape of a deaf adult signing a
personal narrative in American Sign Language.
Subjects were divided into a total of five cohorts
based upon the number of signing classes completed
with one cohort of age-matched young deaf adults.
Mean gaze durations were computed for each group
with analyses of variance applied to the five cohorts.
Preliminary findings confirm previous researchers
observations that more experienced receivers of
signed communication direct their sustained visual
attention to the area to the lower right side of a
partner s head. Implications of the findings were
discussed relative to teaching signing classes and
developing receptive signing proficiency.