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Susie asked for a definition of bi-bi...... here is my reply...
"Bi-bi" is an Educational - Language Philosophy that stands for Bi-Lingual(ASL and English) - Bi-Cultural (Deaf and Hearing).
That was the easy part. What does a Bi-Bi program look like?? That is a harder one. There are variations in each program I have observed. I work at Texas School for the Deaf and we have a bi-bi Pilot Program in the Early Childhood Program.
We use ASL in the Classroom and teach ASL classes to our Parents. We read stories in ASL although we explain to our kids that we are reading English stories and when they are writing we talk about the "English words." We have a once a week group Speech lesson and students who are HoH or have good speech skills are pulled out into small groups based on parental and professional judgements. We have a TTY in our home center and we talk about different cultural rules as they occur in natural settings. We have four teachers in our program 3 Deaf, 1 Hearing and 3 Aides, 2 Deaf and 1 Hearing.
Sorry this was not a very organized response..... if you want to know more just write me back!
Early Childhood Teacher
Texas School for the Deaf
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Mary asked a "few" questions about my description of one bi-bi program. I need to point out that the policies and practices instituted at The Learning Center reflect the way that one program chose to interpret a bi-bi philosophical approach to educating deaf children. Without doubt, certainly not all bi-bi programs will look exactly the same.
>...it does not sound "bi-bi" to me. What role does English and "mainstream" American culture play in the process
Mainstream American culture is all around us and hard to escape in real life as well as various media such as movies, books, etc. In addition to providing courses to the students in Deaf Culture, there is also a focus on developing effective strategies for communicating and interacting with hearing people that don't know sign language, understanding what acceptable behaviors in the Deaf community are unacceptable in the hearing world and so on. The "English" part often fools folks ... the two languages employed in educating deaf children at TLC are ASL and written English (because spoken English is not fully accessible to deaf students, and one of the underlying philosphies of the approach used at TLC is that all communication should be fully accessible to everyone on campus).
>do you find it hard to get staff with the requisite ASL proficiency (and is the reason that the preschool staff is more Deaf that preschool teachers do not need to be certified?)
The pre-school staff is fully certified (we're not talking daycare, we're talking children ages 3 and 4 with IEPs in hand, who are enrolled in a full-day program ... with a lot of nap time and play time ... being served by a school system in compliance with a mandate to provide early education for children with special educational needs). I was never in a position where I would know about recruiting or hiring, so I really can't answer your question about any difficulty recruiting and hiring individuals with ASL proficiency.
>Also, what percentage of parents at TLC learn ASL?
Again, I don't have any exact figures, but it's quite high ... especially if you confine the answer to those parents who started with their children in the parent-infant or pre-school programs. TLC had been offering free parent sign classes for years before switching to a bi-bi approach.
>What do you think about the use of cued speech and spoken English in early childhood along with ASL (one at school and the other at home, or one from one parent and one from the other) to create truly bilingual children
To me personally it makes sense because both languages are theoretically fully accessible ... however cued speech carries a lot of baggage with it within the Deaf Community ... often at the mere mention of CS one is likely to get sneers and barf signs. The reaction appears to be based on two major points: one, that CS was "invented" as just one more thing to do with deaf children so that they won't have to be exposed to that nasty ASL, and two, CS has often been associated with a more oral approach, with some advocates in the past touting its worth because it enables deaf children to articulate better. That's unfortunate for some current advocates of a bi-bi approach that incorporates CS and ASL, but we all have our hearing baggage to live with.
LAUREL, i'm trying to answer you with the fancy method everyone else seems able to use. hope its not too confusing....roselle
American School for the Deaf
On Sun, 2 Jul 1995, Jack wooster wrote:
> Dear Roselle--- [STUFF DELETED] From what I understand, the object of the bi-bi method is to get those kids reading English at an early age through the use of sign language. What is so extreme about that?
There is nothing at all wrong with the desired outcome. The method which the community is shoving down the throats and the way the method is being promulgated is extreme.
Hopefully, no one is going to force a method that doesn't work on children (although that has been known to happen in the past--but I would hope we've gotten beyond all that). Not being able to read is devastating for a child. I think, IMHO, that any and all methods should be used in order to increase the child's reading ability.
Noboy knows what will or won't work. There is no test that is definitive. With all of the knowledge we have re: critical periods for linguistic development, the "let's try this and see if it works" method is the least effective and IMHO is responsible for many of the reading failures. Why??? Because center schools with ASL or TC philosophies get the students way past the critical stage for optimal language learning.
[MORE STUFF DELETED]
You're -not- gonna hit? Aw heck...I love pain!!!
The whole package of the bi-bi contingent is rather extreme. It is equal to the extremism of those tongue flapping total inclusionists who want to throw all handicapped into the public school setting in a survival of the fittest or Roman gladiator type exhibition. The results would be equally bloody.
I am basically on the side of Bi-Bi. My hesitation is that there is no test to show which children should/could best be educated by this method. There are some profoundly deaf (born deaf or pre lingually deafened) kids who show a penchant for oralism. They sop it up and work out their social lives with aplomb. There is also H-O-H who couldn't lip read to save their lives and need ASL more than some deaf people do.
To make an arbitrary decision about the education of -all- no matter what the philosophy behind the decision is, is equally extremist, IMHO. This is what I am saying: both positions are extreme and hence deserve each other. But it is good. If we did not have the opposite momentum we would not have a chance of the outcome falling slightly in the center.
Here in CT we host the Special Olympics this year. I am not personally involved but there is a coach from my school who is and there may be other deaf people who ventured forth into this. Supporting Special Olympics should win us some support when we fight for center schools for the deaf. The newspaper headlined it...Does the Need for Special Olympics Show the Need for Special Education, Too? this is not extremist...just subtle politics. What do you think?
ps: these are MY opinions only. not school policy
American School for the Deaf
I am not a teacher of the deaf but I am working on becoming one. I am finding this discussion very interesting. It seems obvious to me that there are several different ways and views on teaching deaf children. The problem is, as you've addressed, that some methods work for some children that are doomed to fail in others. From what I understand, the object of the bi-bi method is to get those kids reading English at an early age through the use of sign language. What is so extreme about that? We all know the statistics of the reading levels of deaf children. Don't we want to combat this problem? Hopefully, no one is going to force a method that doesn't work on children (although that has been known to happen in the past--but I would hope we've gotten beyond all that). Not being able to read is devastating for a child. I think, IMHO, that any and all methods should be used in order to increase the child's reading ability.
Laurel Fosnaugh (temporarily at firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Mind, at the center of all, containing within itself all that it is the center of." -- John Crowley, _Aegypt_
I totally disagree with your assumption here that most parents want their deaf child included in the classroom. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. I have stood next to Deaf leaders along with other parents of deaf children to fight the full inclusion movement. All those of us with deaf children who are capable of inclusion want, is the right to determine when, where, and how our children are included. It has to be done when the child is truly ready for it.
I also totally disagree with your position that giving parents "Rights" is detrimental to the education of their deaf children. Our children are our responsibility, not yours, not the school's, not the Deaf community's, not anyone's but ours until they are of legal age.
If you'd like to discuss this off-list, feel free.
<< Chris deHahn....CdH....Consulting Engineer....EDA Plus, Inc. >>
<< System,Network,CAD Admin...email@example.com..'91 Buell RS1200 >>
I guess it depends on when the child's deafness occured and when it was diagnosed. If it was diagnosed before the child was of school age, then I wouldn't expect a teacher of the deaf to offer much more than support and understanding. My main concern with teachers of the deaf is that they stick to the child's IEP and not impose their beliefs on their students. It's very, very important to do this. Now, if the child was late deafened during school age, that's a bit of a different issue. If you have opinions and expertise to share, by all means share them if the parents are willing to listen. Whatever you do, respect their choices, don't talk down to or belittle them, and keep an open mind. That's the best thing you can do.
Chris parent of a four year old profoundly deaf preschool student << Chris deHahn....CdH....Consulting Engineer....EDA Plus, Inc. >> << System,Network,CAD Admin...firstname.lastname@example.org..'91 Buell RS1200 >>
I put my two cents in just to support what Christofer posted about we professionals not imposing our views, opinions, prejudices on *any* children whether deaf or not. Our jobs as professionals is to present *all* choices.
Yes, keep an open mind, but be fair and educate the families and the children to *all* points of view so that they may make the choices which are right for them. And, *yes*, parents *do* have the rights to make the choices for their children which the parents feel are most comfortable for themselves (i.e., the parents). Consider, as a child none of us chose our schools (regardless of which school we went to), none of us chose where we lived, none of us chose our religion, etc. Our parents chose these for us based on what they believed was right for them. As we grew up, we began to make choices for ourselves. This is life ! ! !
Dr. J! @ St. John's <email@example.com>
I think that at least some of the activism of the Deaf is a result of an accurate perception of a threat to Deaf culture. Prior to P.L.94-142, most deaf kids went to state schools where they learned ASL and became enculturated. As a hearing parent, I cannot enculturate my deaf son into Deaf culture, and I have found it to be very difficult to be accepted into Deaf society myself. My experience has been one of seeing Deaf adults warmly welcome my son, while ignoring the rest of our family.
> To view deafness as a difference does not mean that we must view them as deficient, nor does it mean that radically different ways of teaching them must be used. Once a deaf child is provided with accessible language (read: ASL --- I know you won't like me saying this, Cathy :-) ), the linguistic difference of just about any deaf child disappears. At this time, the child becomes just like any other...it is with instruction in ASL that we can work with deaf/HOH children as "individuals", which should be the case for any child.
The child does need an accessible language. However, it does not matter if it is ASL, SEE, Greek, Japanese, or whatever. The point is that it is a language. We chose to use SEE with our son, meaning that we could communicate with him *and* any non-signing people present at the same time. He is now almost 17 and is learning ASL from his school interpreter. He just received his SAT scores, and got a 650 on his verbal test. Using SEE instead of ASL certainly has not hurt him.
> achieved, but I hope it can. One way is (IMO) to think bilingually and biculturally: We have to start looking at ALL deaf (and HOH) kids as natural bilinguals and biculturals: they will have and need two languages (ASL and English) and will (if exposed to BOTH environments EQUALLY), become bicultural members of both societies, although some to a lesser or greater extreme, depending on the individual characteristics of the person.
I don't think this is possible. Since the vast majority of deaf kids live in hearing families, they will not be exposed to significant amounts of Deaf environment unless they go to a residential school. Deaf kids are *not* "natural bilinguals and biculturals." One becomes bilingual and bicultural only by growing up with both languages and both cultures. As long as the language (ASL) and Deaf culture is so difficult to access by hearing parents, bi-bi will have a very hard row to hoe.
> On Wed, 28 Jun 1995, Donald Grushkin wrote:
> use of signs, etc. In more recent years, Deaf people have fought to be recognized as not "hearing", but as DEAF people, with their own language, culture, etc., even as they co-exist within the larger Hearing society, learn English, etc. Thus, the Deaf have worked at getting educators and the Hearing society to see deafness as a DIFFERENCE.
I take offense at your reference to educators.... as if we didn't have a clue as to what these kids go through when they become adults. The very idea that you should imply that we don't know or never did. Them's fightin' words, son. And I'll mind you to hold your tongue.
A *difference* in communication options? Granted. However, there should be no *difference* where English text-based literacy is concerned, right? There should be no *difference* in expectations of literacy by you or from educators or from the Hearing society or the Deaf society, right? Just want to set the facts straight.
> not a DEFICIT.
The deficit occurs in not being able to acquire the English language through the auditory channel alone. There are other ways.... therein lies the difference. The difference has its roots in the deficit.
> To view deafness as a difference does not mean that we must view them as deficient, nor does it mean that radically different ways of teaching them must be used.
Teachers don't need to do anything special? Really? Nothing radically different? Amazing notion. Then you must be one of those "full inclusion" proponents ;-)
Deep in the Heart of Texas
Also, there are usually local parents' groups in metropolitan areas that do a lot of great things for each other and for society at large. I'm proud of all the work I've done with the parent's groups in our area. We have accomplished many things, and continue to work in support of, not just our children, but all deaf children. I had a parent contact me a few weeks ago, with a newly diagnosed three month old. Their audiologist in the 'big city' offered a hearing aid fitting three months out (the child has a moderate-severe loss). I hooked them up with an audiologist in our area, who had the child fitted in less than a week. The hearing aids came from the loaner bank that our parents' group provides, free of charge. We also provide free hearing aid insurance to all our members (no dues), as well as educational advocacy, help with funding for assistive devices, community outreach, and deaf awareness. We just recently signed the National Anthem at the Massachusetts Special Olympics. It's a great group.
<< Chris deHahn....CdH....Consulting Engineer....EDA Plus, Inc. >>
<< System,Network,CAD Admin...firstname.lastname@example.org..'91 Buell RS1200 >>
Hi, I am new to the group. I am hearing and have a seven year old son who is Deaf. He is just finishing the second grade (we moved him a grade level ahead for various reasons--he is doing terrific) and very excited for the summer. We live in Seattle, WA. Tyler goes to the elementry school that houses the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program for the Seattle School District. We are very involved in an group that is trying to set up a Bi-Bi school here. I am very interested to hear from people who have had experience with this philosophy or have any suggestions for starting this school. We have quite a large group supporting this so we think it will happen.
Niki: I am glad that you are working on setting up a Bi-Bi school in Washington This is very important, and it is good that you have a large group of parents who support this. I am glad to hear that so many people like you are catching on to the need for Bi-Bi. You might try contacting the Metro School for the Deaf in Minneapolis...they worked on establishing a Charter school like what you're suggesting. You might also look to advice from the Indiana School for the Deaf in setting up Bi-Bi programs.
Good luck in your efforts, and I truly hope that you and your group are successful, as I believe this is the way to achieve the best education for your (and just about every other deaf) child.
Sue asked about how Lezlie's program decided to go the bi-bi route ... obviously, I'll have to let Lezlie answer those specifics for herself ... but, I worked at a bi-bi program for several years (The Learning Center for Deaf Children in Framingham, Massachusetts), including the time period during which the school transitioned from a fairly traditional TC approach to a bi-bi philosophy ... so let me speak briefly about that process.
It began in the summer of 1988 with a workshop by MJ Bienvenue and Betty Colonomos from the BiCultural Center in Maryland ... well, okay technically it began in at least somebody's mind before that in order to invite them to the school in the first place. Parents and staff at TLC were already fairly satisfied with the kind of student they were producing, however we would occasionally hear "rumblings" from the Deaf Community that we hadn't quite gotten it right yet. And we were aware of the research being done in Sweden and elsewhere that indicated that deaf children exposed to an ASL model language early in life typically outperformed deaf children of hearing parents who used a sign system such as SEE. We wanted our students to do better, and we wanted to make our school campus more culturally Deaf (I usually explain this part by the fact that deaf children grow up to become Deaf adults, and we felt we had an obligation to help them become culturally Deaf in addition to providing the necessary academics to enable them to function in society at large).
The initial changes in philosphy and mode of communication created some problems, as you might expect. Teachers felt pretty badly about themselves when they were confronted with a mind-set that suggested that their well-intentioned actions may have had the effect of actually oppressing deaf children (strong and often over-used words, I know, but effective words ... in terms of bringing about change). I think the primary factor was that the largely hearing staff LISTENED to the Deaf Community, and felt that their position and their arguments had some very real validity. The faculty was quite young on average, not yet "set in their ways" of teaching, and open to incorporating what at the time was a novel approach to educating deaf children (it may be a factor that TLC was also the first school in Massachusetts to use signed communication ... prior to its establishment, BY LAW all deaf children in the state were required to receive an oral education ... most staff came to work there knowing that rebellious history).
Prior to the switch to bi-bi all students under the age of seven were required to wear FM auditory trainers (whether or not they received any sort of communicative benefit from them); all communication by staff in the younger grades was simcom; only one Deaf adult worked with children prior to high school age. After the switch to a bi-bi approach (not immediately, but over a period of 4-5 years) the majority of professionals working in the parent-infant program were Deaf (my understanding is that the woman who is the coordinator for that program was the first Deaf person to run a parent-infant program in the US); several Deaf teachers were added to the pre-school (by the time I left, the majority of staff in pre-school were Deaf), additional Deaf staff were added to the primary and elementary faculty (though the majority here continued to be hearing); most communication on campus (except that occurring in private) consisted of voice-off ASL or ASL-like signing, regardless of the hearing status of the participants (and that includes two hearing adults chatting with each other while walking across campus); after a thorough study of the cultural, situational, educational, linguistic and acoustic factors relating to the use of FM auditory trainers, we ceased using them in 1989 (essentially we found that students would gain as much information using personal hearing aids in 94% of communicative interactions that occurred throughout the school day, and we did not feel we could justify using the devices in the face of rather strong objections from older students and the Deaf Community); my IMPRESSION was that student communication (whether expressive or receptive) became much more smooth-flowing and functional in this environment. In short (though I've taken a long time to get to this point), TLC became a culturally and linguistically Deaf environment.
Unfortunately, we overlooked a couple of important factors along the way. First, we forgot to include parents from the get-go ... a fairly substantial minority were (rightfully) outraged that they had not been included in the decision making process that led the school to switch to a bi-bi approach. At some point shortly after the switch, TLC did establish a bi-bi advisory board that included parents, staff, students and the Deaf Community in equal numbers ... things did go smoother after that.
We also neglected to document academic and linguistic changes as they were occurring in the students ... everyone's impression was that kids were doing better, but we had no hard data to substantiate anything. After all, the primary mission of the school was to educate deaf children in a linguistically accessible environment ... who had time to do any research or documentation? I understand that TLC has recently hired a part-time researcher to address some of these oversights.
I hope this has provided you with some useful information about the processes and the pitfalls in one school's switch to a bi-bi philosophy.
I will not answer publicly on the Flame-the-D/deaf-List, however your question seems like a good one for EDUDEAF, so I'm transferring it here ....... First to quote you for the benefit of others who haven't read your message:
On Sat, 11 Mar 1995, Claire Wells wrote:
> Dear Y'all,
> A question for those of you who advocate placing students in residential schools for the bi-bi benefits........
> 1. You and your spouse were Deaf,
> 2. Your child was Deaf/deaf (whatever :-)),
> 3. You lived in the same town as the residential school and placed your child in the residential school instead of the mainstream school for the bi-bi benefit, (this placement is not a problem with the state, BTW)
> Would you place your child there as a residential student to sleep there during the school week (Sun-Thurs) and then bring him/her home on the weekend? If so, under what circumstances? If not, why not?
> This issue has come up recently and I'm having a hard time understanding the rationale for doing this.
> Claire Wells
> Temple, Texas
> ----who is adding a new twist to this thread :-)
I know and often visit a family in another state (the parents are hearing, the child is Deaf). They live a few blocks from a residential school in their state. Some years the child lives on campus during the week, some years she's a day student. The reasons for her sleeping on campus are varied, but one possible reason is socialization.
(BTW, a side note, this residential school also sends this child and some others to the local public high school in the same town for some academic classes in algebra-trig and English.)
Once a child gets to be a certain age, (most parents of teenagers know this from experience) peers and after-school-activities take priority over what goes on in the classroom. Basketball lasts until nine p.m.; dorms take weekly trips to areas around the city (example: the Mall ... a girl would rather go to the Mall with her school friends instead of with Mommy...even if mother-daughter are hearing-hearing or Deaf-Deaf). There are nightly study halls with special tutors. Transportation between home and school could be a problem if home is as far away as 30 miles and school has several extra-curriucular activities.
I can think of several other reasons .... but let someone else jump in here to add on to them. :-)
You mentioned you had a hard time understanding the rationale in your local case. Did you ask the parents their rationale? What is it? How old is the child? Do the parents work nights?
Betty, teacher who THANKS Cathy for starting this list
Dear Betty and Y'all,
Good to hear from you!
> On Sat, 11 Mar 1995, Claire Wells wrote:
> > A question for those of you who advocate placing students in residential schools for the bi-bi benefits........ (snip) Would you place your child there as a residential student to sleep there during the school week (Sun-Thurs) and then bring him/her home on the weekend? If so, under what circumstances? If not, why not? years she's a day student. The reasons for her sleeping on campus are varied, but one possible reason is socialization.
Now that I think about it, that's true. Hearing kids don't have much time to socialize during school hours. I had been thinking that they'd have plenty of time during the school day, but really they don't.
> (BTW, a side note, this residential school also sends this child and some others to the local public high school in the same town for some academic classes in algebra-trig and English.)
Yes, ours in Texas does that, too. There's also a mainstream program in town. I've often wondered what would happen if two interpreters showed up in Honors Algebra II class, for example, each of them assigned to a different kid (one from the mainstream program and one from the residential school). They don't coordinate their services at all and it's bound to happen some day ;-). They might both be needed if one kid wanted SEE and the other wanted ASL. Still, it would be a little funny at first.
> Once a child gets to be a certain age, (most parents of teenagers know this from experience) peers and after-school-activities take priority over what goes on in the classroom. Basketball lasts.....
Very true. I have a 16-year-old daughter. She doesn't mind my coming with her as long as I bring my checkbook :-)
> You mentioned you had a hard time understanding the rationale in your local case.
Well, it wasn't just one isolated case. And there were several from the 3rd grade class.
> Did you ask the parents their rationale? What is it? How old is the child? Do the parents work nights?
I know the father of one of the girls. She's an only child, age 8. He does work rotating shifts. Don't know about his wife. Maybe I'll get to see them at the TAD convention this summer. If I get a chance, I'll ask. It is more than likely their work/wake habits. I hadn't thought about that, but it would make sense.
-- who just loves the concept of sharing ideas and information in a respectful forum without the fear of flaming :-) Thanks from me, too, Cathy!
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