For teachers and caregivers there are a multitude of reasons for them to use signing with their children. Signing provides rich environment for children to play, move, sing and learn all at the same time. Teachers can enhance learning of basic educational concepts like ABC's, phonics skills, numbers, colors and expand vocabulary by combining signing with songs in their classroom. Yet there are additional benefits that teachers, who use sign, gain.
Teachers find that when they use signing as part of their daily routine children keep focused on them and they pay attention. This is due to the visual nature of signing; you must see the sign to understand it. Silent classroom commands provide a way to manage behavior inside and outside the classroom. Commands like walk, line up, sit down and quiet can be signed and understood over distances rather than speaking loudly. Signed commands lead to a quieter and pleasant classroom with less nagging and fewer reminders to pay attention. Teachers report that children love to learn sign and it actually “goes a long way to generating an enthusiasm for learning in their students.” (Daniels p.75)
A great thing about using ASL is that teachers do not have to be a fluent signer to gain the benefits for their classroom. “A teacher's additional ASL experience or presumed comfort with signing has been shown to have no effect,” (Daniels p.61), on the benefits teachers and students receive. Teachers just need to have a desire to use the signs they choose consistently and naturally as an ordinary part of the school day. Begin with a few words like stop, yes and restroom and watch as the students quickly embrace and respond to signing.
We Sign™ Bibliography
Daniels, Marilyn, Dancing With Words, Signing for Hearing Children's Literacy, Bergin & Garvey, Westport, CT, 2001