Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Baertsch, Karen

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to show the historical discrepancies in literacy skills of deaf students in the United States and how they correlate to language philosophies and the resulting educational practices. These philosophies are described chronologically beginning with the first formal educational institution, in 1817, followed by the Oralism Movement, the philosophy of Total Communication, and the Bilingual-Bicultural Approach. All three language approaches can be seen today in schools for the deaf across America, but only the bilingual-bicultural approach builds a foundation in a natural L1 (American Sign Language) in an effort to develop an L2 (English).

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