Hearing people often learn a second (third, fourth) spoken language online. Because they want to study or work abroad, or because they are going on holiday in a foreign country.
Many Deaf people learn a second (third, fourth) sign language. To work or study abroad or because they are going on holiday in a foreign country. Or because they have relocated to a new country as asylum seekers.
Usually, Deaf people learn a new sign language AFTER they've moved to a new country. They learn by 'immersion': they meet sign language users in the new country and learn the new sign language, informally.
The SignTeach Online team wanted to answer 3 questions:
1. Can Deaf learners learn a second (third, fourth) sign language online?
2. How is teaching a second sign language to Deaf learners online different, from teaching hearing people a first sign language?
To explore these questions, Valeria Giura and Luigi Lerose offered the Deaf partners in the consortium a short (5 lessons) online course in Italian Sign Language (LIS). Interesting also, because Sign Language teachers switched perspective: for a few online lessons, they became Sign Language learners!
At the consortium meeting in Preston (UK) in January 2023, the partners discussed this experiment and filmed their findings and comments.
Valeria Giura, Luigi Lerose
Emma Ripard Xuereb, Radka Novakova, Joseph Valdman