Author(s): Mayer C, Akamatsu C
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Abstract As Carolyn Ewoldt (1996) points out '[M]uch has been written of late about the viability of a bilingual focus in deaf education.' While these writings are necessary to the ongoing pedagogical dialogue in the field, much of the rhetoric suffers because, rather than truly adopting a 'holistic perspective', arguments and positions focus only on selected aspects of the relevant theoretical and research information. If proponents of bilingual education for deaf children truly rely on 'research on the benefits of native sign language and from theoretical and research support coming from other disciplines' (Ewoldt, 1996, p. 5) to support their claims, then these research and theoretical supports must be examined as comprehensively, and holistically, as possible. Weaving together only a few threads of theory and research does not create the fabric for a pedagogical position that can withstand close scrutiny and analysis.In this article, we will touch on some of the major claims made in explications of bilingual models of literacy education for deaf students (Baker, 1997; Livingston, 1997; Mashie, 1995; Mason & Ewoldt, 1996). Our goal is to broaden the scope of the discussion on some of the major arguments and to encourage an expanded dialogue in this ongoing debate. It is not our aim to argue against the concept of bilingual education for deaf students nor to advocate the exclusion of native sign languages from the classroom. Rather, we support the concept of a bilingual education for deaf students with native sign languages playing a key role; however, we contend that the model as it is currently conceived requires further scrutiny and analysis.
This article was published in J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ
and referenced in Advances in Robotics & Automation