SASLJ Vol. 2 No. 2 - Page 97

Unlocking the Curriculum Johnson et al. [-----unintelligible-----------] YELLOW FLOWER [---] OTHER 1 Those are purple flowers. I said yellow flowers. Get another one. EAT WAIT OTHER 1 CAN OTHER 1 Okay. Wait a minute. Can I have another one? Have another one? I FREEZE OTHER 1 CAN I HAVE 2 PINK 1 I want another one. Can I have two? Oh. A pink one. GOOD I GET 2 MAYBE ASK GOOD I got two. ... I don't know, maybe. Good. Okay, let's change. GOOD EASTER DEVIL You were a good Easter Bunny. Johnson and Erting comment on this event as follows (in press, pp. 63-4): The teacher consistently misarticulates signs, a problem compounded by the fact that her misarticulations often result in signs that actually mean something else, for example, DEVIL and HORSE for RABBIT, CAN'T for CAN, and FREEZE for WANT. But more problematic is the incongruity of her signs with her spoken English. It is clear that her signing is not in any sense an exact representation of English speech. Many English words are not represented by signs, and there is no consistent pattern to what is eliminated. The end result is signed sentences that are mostly incomprehensible, often contradictory to the intended meaning, and largely incomplete. Even at best, the teacher's sentences are not accurate representations of English. To expect children with little or no hearing and with little previous contact with English to learn English from this kind of model is unrealistic. Productions of this quality are not unusual among hearing teachers using SSS. It is natural to wonder how such a state of affairs could possibly develop or be sustained. One explanation is that, because a hearing teacher is attending primarily to the spoken portion of the signal, the fact that the signed portion has broken down is seldom recognized. Under such conditions, teachers generally believe that, because they are signing, the children have access to the information being put out by their speech (Erting, 1986). Thus, the focus on performance leads to an inability by the teacher to judge appropriately the needs and responses of the children. This is contradictory to our view that classroom education depends on teachers' ability to adjust their teaching strategies and what they say to the children's needs. It also results in providing an unintended advantage to those children in the class who have more residual hearing. These children, then, become the weathervane of the teacher's own judgments about the success of the lessons. Even under the best of circumstances these observations remain true. Consider, for example, a situation in which a hearing teacher is actually able to produce signs clearly while speaking to a deaf child who has acquired a natural sign language from birth. When the teacher produces an utterance, the child will recognize many of the signs but will lack the competence in SASLJ, Vol. 2, No. 2 – Fall/Winter 2018 97