(Brief Review) Special Needs Deaf (SND) are deaf people who, for one reason or another, need special methods to teach them. Here are some final thoughts about pictures, which help when teaching the Bible, salvation, and language.
(Continued from last article) Be sure to prepare your pictures in the classroom. Arrive early and get things arranged so you can easily and quickly find the pictures you need. I use a table and put out my pictures and teaching materials in order. That way, I just get the next one in the pile without having to hunt for it.
Use the same picture for the Bible Character. This is especially true while you are teaching his or her story. For example, if you are teaching the story of Noah, get a series of pictures in which Noah looks the same. I have seen people use pictures in which each picture had a different picture of Noah. He looked different! This can be confusing. If possible, use a series of pictures that uses the same picture of the character for clarity’s sake.
- Facial Expressions – Expressions are very important in teaching SND deaf. Expressions modify and clarify the signs. You can say you are a little sick, moderately sick, or very sick just by changing your expression. However, with SND deaf the expressions take on an even more important task. Facial expressions are a very big part of their language. You can say whole ideas with your face and never sign one sign. My favorite example of this is:
You are sitting in a room. On the floor you see a rat, spider or snake coming toward you. Your fear increases until you run out the door.
This whole story can be acted out on your face. Some body action is required, but you can do most of it on your face. (Remember to think in pictures) Think of the story and act it out. Use your face to show both the approach of the pest, and your growing fear. (My wife pointed out to me that men and women will do this differently. A woman might show fear faster, whereas a man might just show irritation and then chase the rat out the door. Whichever you do is fine if you use your face to show the story.)
Next time: Story Actions, Mime, Gestures
Editor Note: Sign language is visual. However, Special Needs Deaf people tend to depend on natural visual communication even more than structured language. Hearing signers can greatly improve when they learn to sign more visually. Show it, don’t just sign it! -jb