Sign Language in Classrooms & Communities

The coolest woman in NYC steals the show.
40 states recognize American Sign Language as an official second/"foreign" language for school instruction.  Can we imagine a movement into bilingual ASL-English schools?  There's also a growing movement that uses "baby signs" to teach pre-verbal infants to communicate with basic signs (i.e. giving them a way to communicate before they can actually talk).

Hungry babies aside, might we be witnessing something bigger?

I hope so, which is why I'm thrilled to learn about the Deaf Bilingual Coalition.

There are many human dimensions to this.  While bilingual immersion in schools is an fascinating idea, there are many teachers currently using limited forms of sign language with hearing-students to enhance learning and to manage classrooms.  There's so much to offer, for both community building and instruction.

Allison Bouffard has posted some great videos about using signs in her classroom.  I don't know when this all started, I've seen this implemented in quite a few classrooms over the years.  While this trend seems to be geared at early childhood activities and classroom management, I believe that ASL can be used just as effectively with older hearing kids and teens.  "Muscle memory" can enhance learning.

This 1-minute clip shows some of the management tricks in action with hearing youth.

It's cool.  It builds community.  It's non-verbal.  It engages multiple learning styles at the same time.  And perhaps it can bridge more hearing people with deaf culture?