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Bilingual/Bicultural Education

What It Means For Teachers

Key words: Information, Deafness Related Issues, Deaf Education

Submitted by: Melissa Close

Topic: Teachers and Bilingual/Bicultural Education

Task: To investigate how the Bilingual/Bicultural approach will affect teachers of deaf students.


Strong, Michael. A review of bilingual/bicultural programs for deaf children in north america. American Annals of the Deaf, 140,(2), 84-94.

Mashie, S.N. (1995). Educating deaf children bilingually. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Pre-College Programs

Information: Recently, in the United States, there has been interest in implementing a Bilingual/Bicultural (Bi-Bi) perspective in educating deaf students. For a successful Bi-Bi educational system to be implemented in the United States, some changes will have to occur in the training of the educators in Deaf Education.

1. Teachers will have to become fluent in ASL. The theory of Bi-Bi is for the child to be instructed in his/her native langauge, American Sign Language. Teachers will have to be fluent users of this language.

2. Teachers will have to be instructed in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). Since ASL will be the child's first language, English will be the child's second language.

3. Teachers will have to be instructed in Deaf studies. The teacher will have to have a knowledge of Deaf people's lives, history, and accomplishments.

4. Teachers will have to have knowledge of the English language structure. The teacher will have to be able to analyze and explain forms of written English completely independent of the spoken representation.

5. Teachers will have to have a knowledge of the ASL language structures. They will have to be able to compare and contrast the differences in the structure of ASL and English.

6. School will have to hire more Deaf teachers. This is an important component of the Bi-Bi approach. The children need native role models.

7. Teams of Deaf and hearing teachers are important. This provides a way to have expertise in both languages and cultures. It also models Deaf/hearing cooperation and teamwork.

8. Teachers will need a more active role in the Deaf community.

The education of teachers for the deaf will have to encompass a knowledge of the structures of both languages (ASL and English), of Deaf studies, child development, first language acquisition, second language teaching, the subjects which the teacher is expected to teach, and an understanding of the nature of bilingualism.


This is an important component of the Bi-Bi approach for current teachers of the deaf and who are pursuing a certification in deaf education. If a Bi-Bi approach is implemented throughout the United States, then it is not only going to affect the school systems, but also the curriculum for training teachers of the deaf.


1. Who will train the teachers if there are few people who know ASL?

2. How many years of training will it require to become a teacher?

3. How will school systems find Deaf teachers when there are so few available?


Drasgow, E. (1993). Bilingual/bicultural deaf education: An overview. Sign Language Studies,80, 243-266.

Goldberg, J.P., & Bordman, M.B. (1974). English language instruction for the hearing impaired: An adaptation of ESL methodology. TESOL Quarterly, 8, 263-270.

Kanapell, B. (1974). Bilingual education: A new direction in the education of the deaf. The Deaf American, 26, 9-15.

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