Thursday, 17 November 2016

Blended: Depends what cake you are baking ?

A recent post read online talked abut literacy/ASL and 'blended' families (Only in America).

The issues talked about, lacked some realistic input. Much detail gets lost in the promotion of deaf people, access, and communications as we know.  Deaf who acquire sign usually do NOT use it to advance English literacy shortcomings, indeed cultural lobbies insist they shouldn't have to because they have a language and grammar of their own etc.

How deaf can then manage in a hearing world based on that higher literacy requirement as a necessity, isn't made clear. Few deaf children have attended school from day one, immersed in signed language, where is the 'proof' it is 'better'  when comparisons aren't viable ? especially as grammar varies. Whilst there are some areas in the USA where intensive grammar of BOTH types is encouraged, one has only to look to the lifestyle of the deaf signer to see where the 'preference' really is.  

Personally I find it appalling deaf attend any form of university or higher education establishment virtually unable to follow the curriculum properly, and with the necessity of such Higher educational establishments having to spend the first 2 years raising deaf literacy levels before they can start a chosen course. A number drop out because they struggle with the grammar and supportive issues too, not really understanding once you leave Higher education, there will be even less support for them after.  It's setting up the deaf for a fall.  Often the prior education for deaf people has been unregulated, and because 'each according to need' or parental preferences have been the norm.

Pitting community against family hasn't been a great success either. To satisfy the sign and educational lobbies, maybe pure ASL or BSL should NOT be the basic sign or format used, but, Signed English or sign-supported English, to ensure they have a good grounding in the language they will have to co-exist with, that, or bi-linguality is a complete misnomer in real terms.   

Basically, if you use ASL or BSL as a FIRST language from day one, then few deaf would opt to be bilingual at all, paying 'lip-service' to the idea, with no real impetus, the facts suggest these deaf do not go on after formative education to improve their English literacy either, as they are concerned they are already 'literate' in their own language so that is OK, even if it does not enable them to be effective in the worlds outside their deaf community.  It's like saying I am fluent in French so I then move to the USA or UK and they must learn that to communicate to me.... it doesn't of course happen.

No real testing of sign language proficiency among deaf people has been undertaken, there are doubts many deaf ARE good signers to a proficient level to go on to benefit via a University placing.   Popular media suggests they are becoming more difficult to understand and just co-existing with hearing people, not cooperating with them.

That can only work if the deaf community can provide for its own, It still ignores independent choices deaf want to make to succeed outside that area, and there, they really do need to be literate in the hearing host country language to make the most of things.

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