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Sign Bilingualism in Deaf Education
From Deaf Schools to Regular School Settings
Introduction ....................................................................................... 2
Sign Bilingualism and Co-enrollment ............................................................ 3
Sign Bilingualism in Deaf Education: In Search for a Linguistic Orientation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Migration of Sign Bilingualism from Deaf School to Regular School Settings ............. 5
Co-enrollment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .................................................................. 6
Empirical Evidence . . . . ........................................................................... 7
Language Performance and Academic Attainment .......................................... 7
Social Integration . ............................................................................. 9
Discussion and Conclusion ....................................................................... 10
Cross-References . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Related Articles in the Encyclopedia of Language and Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . 11
References . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 11
In recent decades, empirical evidence from sign linguistics research has con-
ﬁrmed the natural language properties of sign languages used by Deaf members
of the society. One consequence is to reintroduce sign language into the class-
room for the deaf, to rectify the ban on sign language and Deaf teachers during the
Milan Congress in 1880. Such a move led to the establishment of sign bilingual-
ism in educating deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) students in deaf school settings.
However, development of this approach constantly faces the challenge of oralism
(i.e., the use of oral language with residual hearing only) supported by advanced
G. Tang (*)
Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT,
Hongkong, People’s Republic of China
#Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016
O. García et al. (eds.), Bilingual and Multilingual Education, Encyclopedia of Language
and Education, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-02324-3_35-2
assistive hearing devices until today, regardless of educational settings. This
chapter addresses the combined effects of adopting sign bilingualism and
co-enrollment in regular school settings where DHH and hearing students are
supported by the collaborative teaching of a hearing teacher and a Deaf teacher in
a bimodal bilingual fashion.
Coenrollment •Deaf Education •Deaf Teacher •Sign Bilingualism •Sign
Language in raising and educating deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children has
consistently been under debate. Oralism supported by assistive hearing technology
like hearing aids and cochlear implants basically predominates the ﬁeld of practice;
and due to misconceptions about sign language, manualism (i.e., use of sign
language) is ascribed with secondary importance, if not regarded as “the untouch-
able.”Nowadays, children suffering from severe to profound hearing loss with or
without additional disabilities or failing to demonstrate gains in auditory-oral devel-
opment despite support of assistive hearing devices are channeled into deaf schools,
for better individual attention and sometimes with sign language support. This
controversy between a pathological or a linguistic view toward raising and educating
DHH students persists until today (Marschark and Spencer 2010,2011; Spencer and
In fact, back in the 1960s and 1970s when sign linguistics emerged as a
subdiscipline of linguistic study (Klima and Bellugi 1979; Stokoe et al. 1965),
deaf schools that endorsed sign language became the cradle for the initial develop-
ment of sign bilingualism (i.e., acquisition of sign language and spoken language
literacy), amid the general disappointment with the oralist approach toward educat-
ing DHH students during that time. However, when sign language was perceived as
the language of the Deaf and used in deaf schools, sign bilingualism seldom surfaced
in mainstream education.
Can sign bilingualism partner with advanced hearing technology to support DHH
students’education? Newborn hearing screening with prescriptions for hearing aids
or cochlear implants seems to suggest that in time individual DHH children will be
able to pick up speech in order to venture into the classroom with conﬁdence and
success. The reality is that some of these DHH children still lose the windows of
opportunities for language acquisition due to ineffective pathological intervention at
the initial stage of language acquisition, and, at the same time, lack of access to
language through sign language (Humphries et al. 2012).
In this paper, we propose that, given the current support of assistive hearing
technology, the modality of communication as involved sign bilingualism as devel-
oped in deaf schools can be extended to cover not only sign language and spoken
2 G. Tang
language literacy but also oral language. Moreover, we argue that there is no
physical boundary for practicing sign bilingualism. With modiﬁcations, this
approach can be established in regular school settings within the general rubrics of
inclusive education for the deaf (see Stinson and Antia (1999) for an earlier review of
research ﬁndings on this approach). Linguistically, sign bilingual mainstream edu-
cation for the deaf can assume the form of bimodal bilingualism, i.e., acquisition of
both a sign language and a spoken language either simultaneously or sequentially,
depending on the timing of linguistic exposure to the two languages. To achieve such
a goal, sign bilingualism needs to partner with co-enrollment in mainstream educa-
tion, meaning that a critical mass of DHH students be brought into the regular
classroom to study with a group of hearing students, usually in the ratio of one
DHH student to three or four hearing students (Tang et al. 2014). Over time, both
groups of students become bimodal bilingual users of the school community and see
each other as partners in the same educational process.
Sign Bilingualism and Co-enrollment
Sign Bilingualism in Deaf Education: In Search for a Linguistic
As said, sign bilingualism was originally associated with educating DHH students in
deaf school settings via the use of a sign language to promote spoken language
literacy (Hoffmeister 2000; Padden and Ramsey 2000; Wilbur 2000). Traditionally,
it stemmed from the concern for developing a linguistic and cultural model of
deafness, using the premise that sign language is the ﬁrst language of the minority
hence, an appropriate system had to be devised to legitimatize the
use of sign language in educating DHH students. Back in the 1980s, sign bilingual-
ism was introduced to the schools for the deaf in the Scandinavian countries, the
United States, the United Kingdom, as well as Australia, and has since spread to
many countries in Asia (Swanwick et al. 2014;Wu2008; Woodward and Hoa 2012).
Cummins’Linguistic Interdependence Hypothesis (LIH) developed in the 1980s to
account for bilingual education in spoken languages also held a great appeal to
educators for the deaf who promoted sign bilingualism in deaf education (Cummins
2006). When applied to the deaf learning condition, the LIH stipulates that, given a
common underlying proﬁciency among languages, development of a strong con-
ceptual and linguistic foundation in sign language at an early age facilitates transfer
of such knowledge to spoken language, thereby supporting literacy and academic
skills development in the long run. In recent years, LIH has been challenged by
In research on sign language, Deaf with a capital letter D refers to those individuals that use and
accept sign language as part of their identity and culture, while deaf with a small letter often refers to
those oral deaf people who are brought up in the auditory-oral mode and who may not avail
themselves of sign language or interact with members of the Deaf community.
Sign Bilingualism in Deaf Education 3
researchers of deaf education particularly on grounds of inadequate sign language
input as a ﬁrst language at home, as 90 % to 95 % of parents are hearing and do not
have this linguistic resource as ﬁrst language to support their DHH child. Clearly, the
signing of hearing teachers being second language learners themselves is also a
concern (Knoors and Marschark 2012). Some also argued that the lack of a written
mode for sign language weakens the argument of using this language to support
DHH students’literacy development (Mayer and Leigh 2010).
Research on childhood bilingual acquisition in recent years has documented the
importance of naturalistic input of a second language through early bilingual
education (Paradis et al. 2011). In many countries, implementing bilingual and
multilingual programs is the norm rather than the exception. Under those circum-
stances, children as young as age 2 or 3 begin to acquire an additional language
through exposure to it at day care centers and kindergartens, sometimes alongside
their ﬁrst language. Rinaldi et al. (2014) argue that such learning conditions in Italy
nurture bimodal bilingualism for young DHH children when parents request
sign language for their child in public day care centers and regular elementary
The emergence of bilingual acquisition as an autonomous research paradigm has
also created an impact on sign language acquisition research. In recent years, focus
has been shifting from a monolingual to a bilingual perspective, to capture the
processes that occur in DHH children’s bimodal bilingual acquisition (Baker and
Van den Bogaerde 2008; Fung and Tang 2016; Lillo-Martin et al. 2012).
While one must caution that there is no straightforward transfer of bilingual
theories and practice in the hearing context to the deaf context, insights from such
research instill new interpretations on sign bilingualism in deaf education, in partic-
ular, how best to gauge the complex acquisition phenomena in the transition from
home to school among the many DHH students born to either Deaf or hearing
parents. Bimodal bilingualism for DHH or hearing children capitalizes on exposure
to early, dual language input to trigger bilingual acquisition. A recent study by Lillo-
Martin et al. (2012) demonstrated that the linguistic outputs of hearing bimodal
bilinguals (i.e., hearing children born of Deaf parents) were qualitatively different
from their monolingual counterparts, although they achieved the desirable acquisi-
tion outcomes in the respective target languages. Based on longitudinal and exper-
imental data, they observed bidirectional, crosslinguistic transfer between a sign
language and a spoken language (i.e., American Sign Language vs. English and
Brazilian Sign Language vs. Brazilian Portuguese). Focusing on crosslinguistic
transfer, they assumed that bilinguals have at their disposal two independent but
interactive linguistic systems; therefore, bidirectionality of transfer of linguistic
elements is a natural acquisition outcome which was mistakenly taken to be linguis-
tic confusion previously. Lillo-Martin et al. (2012) further argue that such processes
of language synthesis will persist into adulthood, a characteristic of bimodal bilin-
guals. To sum up, recent research on bimodal bilingual acquisition further justiﬁes
the linguistic beneﬁts of adopting sign bilingualism in deaf education especially at an
early age, regardless of hearing status, hearing loss levels, parental backgrounds (i.e.,
whether Deaf or hearing), or even types of assistive hearing devices.
4 G. Tang
Migration of Sign Bilingualism from Deaf School to Regular School
As said, traditional sign bilingualism implemented in deaf school settings empha-
sized early sign language input as ﬁrst language to bolster literacy development in
spoken language at subsequent stages. Given this theoretical backdrop, it is under-
standable why oral language training with assistive hearing devices was originally
not perceived as equally important to DHH students as sign language. According to
Spencer and Marschark (2010), views on the effectiveness of sign bilingualism in
promoting literacy development continue to be polarized. In recent years, the
pendulum seems to have swung to the oralist end again because advancement in
cochlear implantation has demonstrated improvement in speech perception,
although outcomes are still diverse. Yet, medical advancement together with the
shift to inclusive education has resulted in more and more DHH students receiving
education in regular school settings, leading to a reduction of deaf schools and the
scale of sign bilingualism being practiced there.
In some countries, sign language manages to enter regular schools as part of the
“support services”for isolated DHH students. This service is usually rendered by an
external aide, usually an itinerant teacher, a teaching aide, a deaf paraprofessional, or
simply an educational interpreter, who visits the classroom at regular intervals. The
quality of such service, in particular, the signing skills of the service provider, has been
consistently called into question (McKee 2008;Russell2010; Schick et al. 2006). In
other words, sign language in those contexts is only seen as a pedagogical tool for
conveying curriculum contents through a third party, rather than a language of social
interactions among the core participants –teachers and students. Hence, speech by the
regular teacher and hearing students predominates, and sign language is relegated to
the interactions between the DHH student and the external aide only. Understandably,
such interactions contribute little to the general classroom discourse except for some
occasional “mediated”exchanges between the peers or the regular teacher and the
DHH student, through the signing external aide. As such, individual DHH students
enrolled in a regular setting requesting sign language support are being epitomized as
“marginal bilinguals.”Conﬂicts thus arise sometimes between practicing sign bilin-
gualism to satisfy the linguistic and social needs of DHH students, as against adopting
sign language as an ancillary communication mode to support the DHH students’
education in the classroom. With very little chance for participating in classroom
discussions and social interactions, the DHH students are rather isolated in the
mainstream learning context (Schick et al. 2006).
How feasible is it to incorporate sign bilingualism into the mainstream setting?
One crucial ingredient would be the nurturing of a bimodal bilingual environment to
encourage direct and spontaneous interactions between the DHH and hearing par-
ticipants within the school context. This creates opportunities for ample, dual
naturalistic input to trigger early bilingual acquisition of not only the DHH but
also the hearing students, as well as the hearing regular teachers in the classroom.
Sign Bilingualism in Deaf Education 5
Under those circumstances, one has to subscribe to the tenets that (a) both the sign
and spoken languages in the classroom are equal in linguistic status, (b) DHH
students are equal partners with hearing students in the educational process (i.e.,
class membership), and (c) the use of assistive hearing technology and speech/
language training are given more prominence than what traditional sign bilingualism
offered in the past.
Creating a sign bilingual community for both DHH and hearing students to
participate fully is easier said than done. The small DHH population (i.e., statistically
1 in 1000 live births is diagnosed as having potential hearing loss) makes it difﬁcult
to cluster them in regular settings especially in their neighborhood in order to
creation an educational context with members that who are bimodal bilinguals
(Hermans et al. 2014).
Knoors and Marschark (2012) argue that, for sign bilingual education to be appro-
priately implemented to beneﬁt DHH students, increasing the size of deaf enroll-
ments in the educational context is one possible solution to resolve the problem of
having lonesome “deaf singletons”struggling on their own in the classroom. They
further suggest that co-enrollment is a potential direction for future deaf education.
First, co-enrollment changes the ecosystem and mode of communication of a
regular classroom through having a critical mass of DHH students who study and
mingle with a larger group of hearing students. Second, it promotes partnership
between sign language and spoken language in the creation of a bimodal bilingual
learning environment, to support DHH students’inclusive education (Kirchner
1994). It was originated from The TRIPOD Program in California in 1982 and
aimed to remove the pitfalls as a result of inclusive education for the deaf. According
to Kirchner, co-enrollment embraces a set of pedagogical procedures to safeguard
(a) direct communication between the DHH and hearing members in the classroom
(i.e., the “no interpreters”approach), (b) equal access to a regular curriculum through
team teaching between a regular teacher and a teacher of the deaf in both a sign
language and a spoken language, (c) DHH students’socio-emotional development
by creating a peer group of both DHH and hearing students that shares common
linguistic resources and ﬂexibility of code choice, and, above all, (d) the opportuni-
ties for engaging DHH students in academically challenging tasks. In the Tripod
Program, both DHH and hearing students have demonstrated positive gains in social
behaviors and academic skills, at least considerably above what is normally expected
of DHH students at similar age levels elsewhere, including deaf school settings. The
program has also been well received by parents. For the teachers, team teaching
enhances professional experiences in supporting students with special needs as well
as the learning of an additional language. Clearly, professional training for the
regular hearing teachers is required in areas like strategies to tend to DHH students’
needs as well as strategies for teaching collaboratively with a signing Deaf teacher.
6 G. Tang
More and more co-enrollment programs have been documented worldwide at the
turn of the century –a program in Tucson, Arizona (Antia and Metz 2014); the Twin-
School Program in the Netherlands (Hermans et al. 2014); a few programs in Italy
(Rinaldi et al. 2014); two in Taiwan (Hsing 2014); one in Japan (Torigoe 2014); four in
Madrid, Spain (Pérez Martin et al. 2014); and three in Hong Kong (Tang et al. 2014;
Yiu and Tang 2014). All co-enrollment programs nowadays endorse the use of natural
sign language as the language of instruction, although use of manually coded spoken
language is also reported in some programs. Manually coded spoken language refers
to a mode of signing that is based on the grammar of spoken language. It is regarded as
artiﬁcial signing and not a language in its own right (e.g., Signed English vs. American
Sign Language, Signed Chinese vs. Chinese Sign Language, Signed Dutch vs. Sign
Language of the Netherlands). In a co-enrollment classroom, dual language input is
provided by the regular hearing teacher who teaches in an oral language and a teacher
for the deaf who signs. Note that in a co-enrollment classroom, both teachers, Deaf
and hearing, are tending to the educational needs of both DHH and hearing students,
whichever medium of instruction they adopt. Incorporating a sign language into a
regular school setting thus supports both DHH and hearing students to access the same
and regular curriculum. For hearing students who start to be immersed in a sign
bilingual environment at a young age also means they will become linguistically
competent in a sign language, using it to facilitate comprehension of curriculum
contents in class, in case obtaining them through the hearing teacher’sspeechfails
(Tang et al. 2015).
Language Performance and Academic Attainment
Since sign bilingualism and co-enrollment in deaf education is a relatively new
approach toward educating DHH students, published empirical evidence to evaluate
its effectiveness has just begun to emerge, and the results have been quite encour-
aging, especially in areas like language skills and socio-emotional development
(Marschark et al. 2014). Preliminarily, a number of studies have reported positive
gains in literacy development in spoken language. Kreimeyer et al. (2000) found that
DHH students who had 2–3 years of co-enrollment experiences fared better than
those from deaf schools in a reading comprehension test based on the Stanford
9 Achievement Subtest. However, these co-enrolled DHH students still lagged
behind their hearing age peers. Similar results were reported by McCain and Antia
(2005) in the reading comprehension of ﬁve DHH students after 4 years of
co-enrollment. Similarly, Hermans et al. (2014) observed a signiﬁcant growth rate
in receptive vocabulary in Dutch with their twelve DHH students in the Twin-School
Program, although a gap still existed when compared with the hearing age norms.
Initial positive gains in vocabulary knowledge were also found with a group of
co-enrolled DHH students studying in four sign bilingual, regular schools in Madrid
Sign Bilingualism in Deaf Education 7
(Pérez Martin et al. 2014). Eight out of 12 young DHH students tested on the spoken
Spanish Child Development Inventory (López-Ornat et al. 2005) had scores above
age norms. Also, all older children (i.e., 11 subjects) revealed age-appropriate
development based on their vocabulary scores of PPVT-III Peabody (Dunn
et al. 2006) and the Spanish version of K-Bit (Cordero and Calonge 2000). The
only difﬁculty these older children seemed to be facing was their grammatical
knowledge of Spanish. In the Asian context, Tang et al. (2014) tested the effect of
5 years of sign bilingualism and coenrollment education on the language develop-
ment of a group of 20 DHH students, and found a positive correlation in terms of
their grammatical development between oral Cantonese, written Chinese which is
based on Mandarin grammar, and Hong Kong Sign Language. This result dispels the
long-standing misconception that acquiring sign language impedes the development
of spoken language of DHH children.
There has been little research on the oral language development of co-enrolled
DHH students. In the Madrid program, except for one deaf child, ten DHH students
with 0–24 months hearing age at the time of assessment (i.e., after 1 year of
co-enrollment) showed auditory development above their hearing age norms. How-
ever, the assessment was only based on a parental questionnaire, and objective
measurements are necessary in future research.
Turning to sign language skills, the DHH students of the Twin-School Program in
the Netherlands were reported to be able to maintain a higher than average level in
their development of phonology, vocabulary, and grammar in the Sign Language of
the Netherlands, despite the fact that they had switched from a special school (i.e.,
with more opportunities for sign language exposure) to a co-enrollment setting
presumably with less exposure to sign language (Hermans et al. 2014). In the Madrid
programs, the researchers measured the sign vocabulary of eight co-enrolled DHH
students who were aged between 23 and 42 months and had 15–24 months of
exposure to LSE (i.e., Spanish Sign Language). Using an adapted vocabulary test
(i.e., CDI for American Sign Language), they found a signiﬁcant increase in these
children’s vocabulary size over a span of 12 months. As for grammatical assessment
in LSE, these researchers used an adapted test from the British Sign Language
Receptive Skills Test and found a signiﬁcant increase in their receptive signing skills
(Woolfe et al. 2010). They ascribed the results to the ample opportunity for sign
language input in the sign bilingual and co-enrollment environment, which they
failed to obtain at home as most hearing parents were hearing and had very little
experience in sign language before.
Not much has been documented regarding the DHH students’academic attainment
in a co-enrollment context. The study by Kreimeyer et al. (2000) found no signiﬁcant
differences in the scores of mathematics skills (i.e., problem solving and procedures)
between the co-enrolled DHH students and DHH norms (i.e., DHH students of deaf
schools). However, in one analysis, although the co-enrolled DHH students performed
signiﬁcantly worse than their hearing age norms after 2 years of co-enrollment, their
performance was comparable by the end of the third year. Therefore, it seems that the
longer the DHH students undergo co-enrollment education, the better they are able to
catch up with their hearing age norms in mathematical skills. Hermans et al. (2014)
8 G. Tang
also reported results of standard assessments in reading comprehension, mathematics,
as well as spelling, and found that, on average, the co-enrolled DHH students’
performance was below their hearing classmates. Only a few of them performed better
than their hearing peers. They argued that the positive or negative effects of
co-enrollment were sometimes difﬁcult to determine due to the small sample size
and mobility of the DHH students who switched between the special school for the
deaf and the regular school.
Evidence on social integration between DHH and hearing students in co-enrollment
programs is generally quite positive. Kluwin (1999), examining the long-term effects
of co-enrollment on self-concept, found no differences between DHH and hearing
students on aspects such as school status, popularity, satisfaction, happiness, as well
as degree of loneliness. The researcher concluded that the socio-emotional advan-
tages brought about by co-enrollment were deﬁnitive. Antia and Metz (2014) further
conﬁrmed the positive outcomes in terms of peer acceptance and an increase in
opportunities for social interactions between the DHH and hearing students. The
17 cochlear implanted children from the Madrid program also showed good socio-
emotional development in terms of social competence and general adaptation.
According to the researchers, the opportunity to use both sign and spoken languages
at an early age increases the frequencies of interactions between the DHH and
hearing students over time, thus collectively building a bimodal bilingual commu-
nity and nurturing class membership. Yiu and Tang (2014) also observed highly
positive peer acceptance between the DHH and hearing students, as well as positive
self-image among the DHH students in their co-enrollment program in Hong Kong.
They attributed it to the inclusion of a Deaf teacher in the classroom daily, serving as
a sign language model and a social role model of a facilitator in the educational
process not only of the DHH but also hearing students. For the coenrollment
program in the Netherlands, Hermans et al. (2014) showed less positive results.
They surveyed 16 co-enrolled DHH students and 96 hearing classmates using pro-
cedures like peer rating and peer nomination. While DHH students appreciated the
company of DHH peers in the classroom, afﬁrming the critical mass proposal of
co-enrollment, the ratings between the DHH and the hearing classmates toward each
other were signiﬁcantly less positive. They attributed these results to the tendency of
DHH students to cluster as a subgroup, which in turn generated some negative
perception by the hearing peers. In their program, the Deaf teacher only visited the
co-enrollment school a couple of times a week to teach sign language, while a
hearing teacher of the deaf participate in regular classroom teaching during some
periods of the timetable. They agreed that it might be more beneﬁcial if Deaf teachers
are given a more prominent role in future, to strengthen the DHH students’social
position in a co-enrollment classroom. Certainly, giving Deaf teachers a more
prominent role than just teaching sign language in school would enhance their status
of a collaborative teacher in the co-enrollment classroom.
Sign Bilingualism in Deaf Education 9
Discussion and Conclusion
The empirical evidence for effectiveness of sign bilingualism and co-enrollment in
deaf education has been accumulating, largely showing positive gains in vocabulary,
grammar, reading comprehension skills, mathematical skills, as well as socio-
emotional development. Yet, the perennial concern from educators of the deaf remains
that DHH students’performance lags behind their hearing age norms in language,
literacy, as well as academic attainment. Clearly, whether or not one should deﬁne
success in intervention in deaf education only in terms of DHH students reaching
hearing age norms in all respects remains a moot point. At least, linguistically, these
children are undergoing bilingual rather than monolingual acquisition hence, possibly,
the quality of the state of knowledge of their ultimate attainment might be quite
different (Baker 2014;Montrul2008). As far as the current approach is concerned,
the crucial ingredients for success seem to depend on whether the DHH and hearing
participants, teachers and students alike, become bimodal bilinguals eventually. The
constant presence of a Deaf teacher as a member rather than an outsider of a sign
bilingual classroom also helps to sustain bimodal bilingual acquisition, as well as to
raise Deaf awareness among the participants in the co-enrollment classroom. Yiu and
Tan g (2014) suggested that the co-teaching practices between the hearing and Deaf
teachers in such classrooms eventually entice DHH and hearing students to set up their
own expectations about Deaf-hearing collaborative learning. The current approach has
revealed that, if given the right ingredients, sign language is no longer conﬁned to the
language of the Deaf only, but becomes part of the common linguistic resources for
classroom learning and social interactions between the Deaf and the hearing partici-
pants. Also, for DHH students, the facility of using speech to communicate in a regular
school context also creates a new capacity for them to code switch or code blend when
interacting with either hearing or Deaf people in society.
While preliminary results of co-enrollment are quite encouraging, one has to
admit that the deaf education context is very complex and the backgrounds of the
DHH students are hugely diverse. In many countries additional resources have been
channeled into the classroom to support the learning of children with special
education needs. In fact, in the co-enrollment context, the resources can be used to
hire Deaf teachers, or under speciﬁc conditions, hearing teachers who are ﬂuent
signers and who appreciate the nature of being Deaf. In this way, the sign bilingual-
ism and coenrollment approach will stand a better chance of success in providing
support, not only for DHH but also hearing students. Certainly, more professional
training for teachers especially in sign language, deafness, and collaborative teach-
ing is necessary. In terms of research, ﬁndings about the effects of sign bilingualism
and co-enrollment on educating DHH and hearing students, however encouraging
initially, need to be further veriﬁed in future.
Acknowledgments We would like to acknowledge the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust,
Lee Hysan Foundation, and Fu Tak Iam Foundation for their generous donations to support the
development of sign bilingual education in Hong Kong. Thanks are due also to the parents of deaf
and hearing children who entrust their child to our program, the schools that take up the mission of
10 G. Tang
educating DHH children, as well as the deaf and hearing colleagues of the Centre for Sign
Linguistics and Deaf Studies who participated in the research component of the program. The
statistical support from David Lam is also deeply appreciated.
▶Teaching for Transfer in Multilingual School Contexts
▶Translanguaging in Bilingual Education
▶Language Rights and Bilingual Education
Related Articles in the Encyclopedia of Language and Education
C. Erting, M. Kuntze: Language Socialization in Deaf Communities. In Volume:
Antia, S., & Metz, K. (2014). Co-enrolment in the United States: A critical analysis of beneﬁts and
challenges. In M. Marschark, G. Tang, & H. Knoors (Eds.), Bilingualism and bilingual
education (pp. 424–444). New York: Oxford University Press.
Baker, A. (2014). Assessment of language skills in deaf children. Keynote presentation at the 2014
Symposium on Sign Bilingualism and Deaf Education, June 19–21, 2014, The Chinese Uni-
versity of Hong Kong.
Baker, A., & Van den Bogaerde, B. (2008). Codemixing in signs and words in input to and output
from children. In C. Plaza-Pust & E. Morales-López (Eds.), Sign bilingualism: Language
development, interaction, and maintenance in sign language contact situations (pp. 1–27).
Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Cordero, A., & Calonge, I. (2000). Adaptación espan˜ola del K-Bit. Madrid: TEA.
Cummins, J. (2006). The relationship between American Sign Language proﬁciency and English
academic development: A review of the research. Unpublished paper for the Ontario Association
of the Deaf, Toronto.
Dunn, L. L. M., Dunn, L. M., & Arribas, D. (2006). PPVT-III Test de vocabolario en imágenes.
Adaptación espan˜ola. Madrid: TEA.
Fung, C., & Tang, G. (2016). Code-blending of functional heads in Hong Kong sign language and
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