They Know Little or No Signs!
In the Philippines, we often met Deaf people who knew little or no sign language. Sometimes, it was lack of education. Sometimes, it was parents who did not want them to learn signs. Sometimes, it was a lack of schools for the deaf in the area. Sometimes, it was impairment that prevented them from learning. Whatever the reason, we taught the Deaf a language so they could learn about Christ and later be saved. Here are some methods we used to teach signs to the Deaf people.
- Use Sign Cards. These are cards with pictures on them. You show the picture and then show the sign. I usually do a group of ten different signs at one time. Then I use games, quizzes, and other methods until they can sign the right sign for the right picture.
- Use skits to teach action words. For example, run to teach “run,” throw a ball to teach “throw a ball,” etc.
- Use skits to teach words that you cannot show in a picture. For example, teach “lying” by asking a helper to steal your watch. The helper hides the watch behind their back where all can see. When asked about the watch, he gestured that he did not have it. Then reveal the watch and sign “lie.”
- Remember the order that children usually learn language: 1) Nouns, 2) Verbs, 3) Adjectives, 4) Simple sentences, 5) Complex sentences with other types of words. (This is true for both Deaf and hearing children.)
- Teach the alphabet later. First, teach enough signs so they can begin to communicate with others. Hearing children learn to talk before they learn the ABC’s.
- Let the students fellowship with other Deaf who can sign. By communicating with other Deaf people, they will begin to learn even more by practical experience.
If you have any questions, please contact me. I am always happy to help.