Research Brief 8: ASL/English Bilingual Education


Many teachers everywhere wonder whether to use ASL or English with their deaf students. Guess what? You can use both! Research shows that when deaf learners engage in both ASL and English to learn new skills and knowledge, there is greater impact on their academic and social success. In ASL/English bilingual education, deaf learners reap benefits that are valuable for success such as advanced creative thinking skills, conceptual development, and many more! These benefits are the result of students’ full access to both ASL and English. If you’re wondering how to implement the ASL/English bilingual approach in your classroom, I present three examples of teaching new knowledge using both ASL and English. First, one strategy known as P-V-R is used to teach and develop new conceptual knowledge. “P,” which stands for “Preview,” is the point when you introduce a new concept using ASL. “V,” which stands for “View,” is the point when you teach a new concept using English. “R,” which stands for “Review,” is the point when you review the concept in ASL. Another strategy known as “chaining” can be used for teaching and learning new vocabulary. For instance, you and your students would first finger spell the new word. Then, sign the word in ASL. Finally, you’ll write the word in English. There is also a similar strategy which you can use with teaching new sentences. This strategy is known as “sandwiching.” For instance, you first sign the sentence in ASL. Secondly, write the sentence in English. You then repeat signing the sentence in ASL. Research shows that these various strategies and approaches used with different languages strengthens knowledge and conceptual development. These bilingual strategies have tremendous impact on students’ vocabulary, reading, writing, and signing comprehension. Deaf learners of all age and grade levels possess diverse language backgrounds and skills. Still, all of them can benefit from an ASL/English bilingual education.

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