Bilingual/Bicultural Education

By, Allison Mazza
University of Tulsa
Bilingualism is the ability to know,
understand, and to use two languages in
one’s life.
 In the United States today, it is very
common to see two languages in the home,
due to the fact that many families are
 It is important for students to learn about
their own culture they were born with as
well as the culture they were born into.
Language Acquisition
Language acquisition is an everyday task
for children up to the age of about seven.
 First language should be learned between
the ages of 3-5 years old.
 First language of the home is called the
native or heritage language.
 The language that is easiest to learn is
called the natural language.
Hearing vs. Deaf or Hard of
Hearing Children
Hearing children in a bilingual classroom already
have learned a native language and can bring that
language acquisition process to the classroom to
learn a second language.
Some deaf children have no language acquisition
when they enter a bilingual/bicultural environment,
so they are already behind and must be taught a
first language.
Both hearing children and deaf or hard of hearing
children go through the same language acquisition
and learning process.
The Key to
or hard of hearing
children need a first
language to be able to learn
a second one.
The Main Problem…
 There
are not enough skilled and
qualified teachers who are able to
take the language deficient child and
begin the remediation process or take
the language fluent child and
challenge them to a higher level of
thinking to learn a second language.
Teachers Need To…
Be proficient in ASL and in English.
 Understand the importance of eye contact and
linguistic uses of eye gaze.
 Understand the process of first language
 Understand how to bridge from ASL to English
and other strategies of teaching English as a
second language.
 Be knowledgeable of the requirements of the
general curriculum.
Classroom has visual orientation and the
sensitivity to visual requirements.
 Full access to communication
 Respect for deaf students community and
 A variety of students (ie. Deaf students,
their hearing siblings, hearing children of
deaf adults, hard of hearing students.)
Models in ASL/ESL
Schools project led
by Steve Nover.
Star Schools Project
“The purpose of the
Star Schools project
is to implement and
test a proposed
bilingual/ESL model
for deaf students
acquiring and
learning two
languages, American
Sign Language (ASL)
and English.”
The Swedish Model
In 1981, the
Swedish Parliament
passed a law
stating that deaf
people need to be
bilingual in order to
successfully in
families, in schools,
and in society.