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Bilingual-Bicultural Education of Deaf/Hard-of- Hearing Children

Submitted by: Neyrchel De Vera and Yaser Dharer

Keywords: Information, Deaf Related Issues, Deaf Education

Task: Describe Bilingual-Bicultural Education of deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

1. Bornstein, H. (1990). Some afterwords. In Bornstein, H. (Ed.) Manual communication: Implications for education, 186-92. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.
2. Hoffmeister, R. (1990). ASL and its implications for education. In Bornstein, H. (Ed.) Manual communication: Implications for education, 87-107. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press.
3. Stuckless, E. (1991). Reflections on bilingual, bicultural education for deaf children: Some concerns about current advocacy and trends. American Annals of the Deaf, 136(3), 270-272.


Bilingual-Bicultural education of deaf and hard-of-hearing children allows children to use American Sign Language as their first language and English as their second. Deaf culture is created by ASL shared by the students and faculty. Deaf culture also is discussed for children to learn more about themselves and other deaf people. This program promotes children to identify with Deaf culture that has a common language instead of identifying themselves as deficient of hearing and spoken English.

This program treats spoken English and written English as two separate ways of communication and entirely separate from ASL. ASL primary is used for instructional purposes. This creates a language environment that is more consistent and complete for children to take on as their own way of understanding and being understood.

At this point research reveals that no one approach has been proven to be more effective than another for educational purposes (Bornstein, 1990, p. 189). Many that have researched this topic agree that the effectiveness of Bi-Bi education for the deaf still needs to be researched. A questionnaire sent out on e-mail asking for opinions on the Bi-Bi program also indicated a need for more research. Many educators of the deaf/hard-of- hearing that responded would like to know more about this approach. A majority of the respondents felt that this program's effectiveness depends on the individual child's needs. Many college students were not familiar with this program.

Some of the schools found through this questionnaire that have implemented a Bi-Bi program are California School for the Deaf in Fremont, Indiana School for the Deaf, The Learning Center in Massachusetts, Texas School for the Deaf in Austin, Maryland School for the Deaf, Cleary School for the Deaf in Nesconset, New York, Arizona School for the Deaf in Denver, Sign Talk Children's Center in Winnipeg.

Insights: There are so many different language systems being used, and Bi-Bi is one other approach, but uses a real language. Because each child is so different, it would be impossible to say that this program would benefit all children. Not all children are culturally Deaf: what does that mean for the hearing parents of a deaf child? This approach seems to be geared for those that are culturally Deaf, because when the child enters the school his first language truly is American Sign Language.

Questions: How do you feel about this program? Would you like to be part of this program? How would this affect mainstreaming? Would children become more isolated? How would you promote interaction with hearing people?


Stewart, A. (1993). Bi-bi to mce. American Annals of the Deaf,138(4), 331-337.

Williams, C. (1994). The language and literacy worlds of three profoundly deaf preschool children. Reading Research Quarterly, 29(2), 125,155.

Provided by e-mail response:

Neuroth-Gimbrone, C. & Logiodice, C. A. cooperative bilingual language program for deaf adolescents.

Drasgow, E. Bilingual/Bicultural deaf education: An overview.

Strong, M., Woodard, J.& Burdett, J. A bilingual/esl approach to the education of deaf children.

Johnson, R. Bilingual/bicultural education for deaf students: A deaf researcher's perspective.

Those who have participated in our Questionnaire on Bilingual-Bicultural Education.

Educators of the deaf 42%
College students in deaf education 42%
Parent of deaf child 6%
Culturally Deaf 10%

Results of Questionnaire:

Many college students are unfamiliar with the Bi-Bi programs.

Many educators that responded feel like they need more information, but are aware of the program.

All of the culturally Deaf respondents felt they were knowledgeable of these programs.

Almost all educators felt this program should serve the individual needs of a child.

Uploaded by: Melissa Close/Kent State University/Deaf Education Major