Academic journal article Sign Language Studies

Supplementing an Educational Video Series with Video-Related Classroom Activities and Materials

Academic journal article Sign Language Studies

Supplementing an Educational Video Series with Video-Related Classroom Activities and Materials

Article excerpt


Teachers of deaf children express concern over a lack of curricular materials appropriate for and beneficial to the deaf population, particularly for language and literacy development and in early childhood classrooms. In addition, more and more deaf children are attending classrooms in which their teachers may not be fluent in ASL. This, too, indicates a need for curricular resources that support and extend language and literacy instruction for deaf children. The current study examines the potential of classroom activities designed to supplement an educational video series in ASL. The participants included one teacher, six deaf children, and one child of a Deaf adult (Coda) in an early childhood classroom. Over the course of two weeks, the teacher showed the participants an educational video and implemented six supplemental activities, all of which were designed to promote a set of early literacy skills (e.g., vocabulary, knowledge of story elements, sequencing ability). Each activity was video-recorded and transcribed for children's displays of literacy-related behaviors. The teacher also filled out a survey in order to provide feedback on the usability and effectiveness of the activities. The findings suggest that the children displayed many of the targeted skills during the classroom activities, and the descriptive statistics show higher mean scores in targeted skills following the classroom activities. Although they are exploratory, these findings suggest the potential benefit of incorporating such activities into early childhood classrooms.

The role of language, particularly in communication with others and in learning to read and write, is critical for children's success in school and in life. Researchers, educators, and others have long been interested in how and when to introduce language and literacy, and some have been especially concerned with doing so with deaf children. When children are learning a language and becoming literate, they must have a fluent language model. That model can take many forms, including parents and other family members, peers, educators, and schooling.

The statistics on deaf children's achievement in later schooling raise significant concerns. For example, the reading skills of deaf children with hearing parents lag behind those of their Deaf peers with Deaf parents (Lane, Hoffmeister, and Bahan 1996). This stems from the fact that, from birth, many deaf children are not provided with a fully accessible language (e.g., a visual language such as American Sign Language [ASL]; Mayberry 2007, 2010).Thus, often by the time these deaf children reach preschool, their literacy skills are already delayed. This places a greater responsibility on educators to provide fluent language models in the classroom, and both researchers and educators have focused on best practices for promoting language and literacy development with this population. Yet, questions remain, and perspectives on effective ways to foster such growth differ.

Recently, greater attention has been directed to multimedia and other technologies as resources for learning. Studies have demonstrated the potential of both new and old technologies to promote learning and development in language and literacy in particular.These technologies offer many opportunities to provide fluent language models by incorporating visual language and visual learning strategies, which, in turn, can become another source for facilitating deaf children's literacy and language skills. A small body of work has indicated that educational media in ASL are indeed one effective means of teaching language and literacy skills (Golos and Moses 2013a). In addition, findings suggest that engagement and learning in this area increase with teacher mediation (Golos and Moses 2011).Yet, the field still has much to learn about the role the teacher plays when utilizing educational media to foster early literacy and language skills.

The current study extends previous research in several ways. …

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