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This paper describes the implementation of a bilingual education program teaching both British Sign Language (BSL) and English at a school serving 100 profoundly deaf elementary and secondary students and an additional 100 deaf students in the post-16 provision. The decision to adopt a bilingual approach is discussed, and while the approach was widely accepted by staff, in retrospect it was found that further staff consultation would have been appreciated. Early stages of implementation saw the bilingual program's introduction with the youngest group of children, with each new class included in the program until a full bilingual program had arisen, giving the secondary school added time to prepare for the change. Although intensive training was made available to all elementary level teachers, secondary training was limited to core subject teachers, and numerous problems arose in the pursuit of a faculty and staff with high levels of BSL fluency and competence. Difficulties in balancing the roles of English and BSL in the classroom and in the larger educational environment are discussed, and plans to improve upon the current state of the program are described. (PB)

Descriptors: Bilingual Education Programs, Bilingual Schools, Deafness, Elementary Secondary Education, English, Foreign Countries, Language of Instruction, Program Development, Program Evaluation, Second Language Learning, Sign Language, Special Schools, Staff Development

Autor: Silvester, Timothy


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