December 8, 2005
Hearing Impaired Writers
Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity of tutoring a hearing impaired student. Basically he is completely deaf and has been since birth. Usually when he comes in for a tutoring session, he has an interpreter with him so we can communicate easily, other times we just type back and forth to each other on the laptops. I have found these sessions to be quite frustrating though for one simple reason. I donâ€™t know how to really give him knowledge about English. When he comes in, he always wants to work on grammar, and for good reason, his grammar is definitely in need of some help. During our sessions, however, I just end up doing all of the work and making grammatical changes in his writing. He has a lot of problems with word forms and verb endings. He likes to make everything pluralized when it is completely out of place. During one session, I was trying to explain to him why his words were wrong, he was always turning verbs into adverbs with â€“ly endings and such, and adding â€“s endings all over the place. However, when I tried to communicate this to him, the interpreter mentioned that deaf people commonly do this in their writing because they have no way of expressing these things in sign language. Apparently from what she told me, there are no plurals in sign language. So how am I supposed to help this guy out? I feel that I am just correcting this guys paper and doing all of the work for him without him gaining any useful knowledge that he could apply in his future writing. Is this even something I should be doing? or should I just refuse to do his grammar corrections for him.
Posted by at December 8, 2005 1:00 AM
The problems with articles and endings that hearing impaired folks have are much like those of NNS students, whose native language doesn't have articles or endings either. So, you could say that American Sign Language is a different native language than spoken American English. Your student (like a native Chinese speaker) will always need an editor to help with those issues, which you could tell him and explain how editing is different than tutoring. So, maybe your grammar cuss blog is relevant here too :)
Posted by: Kirsten at December 13, 2005 3:19 PM
I find this very interesting, it seems that tutoring him in English or grammar is quite a waste of time, if indeed it is the sing language that is a hitch for him. If he can't (or won't) learn to make these adjustments, perhaps the focus should be as you stated more "editorial" in nature, rather than tutoring!
Posted by: Derek at September 13, 2011 7:49 PM