Teaching and Learning in Bilingual Classrooms

New Scholarship

1st Edition

Edited by Kristin J. Mulrooney

Categories: Linguistics
Series: Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities
Imprint: Gallaudet University Press
Hardcover : 9781563686238, 144 pages, January 2015
Ebook : 9781563686283, 144 pages, January 2015
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The 20th Volume in the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities Series explores the effectiveness the new initiative Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), which strives to improve education by examining and assessing the vital component of classroom interaction.



A new initiative known as the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) strives to improve education today by methodically examining and assessing the vital component of classroom interaction. This collection presents research by five professors who adopted SoTL methodology to study their own classrooms at Gallaudet University, a uniquely diverse bilingual institution that employs both American Sign Language (ASL) and written English. The Gallaudet study, called the GSTLI, intended to create an engaged learning community that investigated, reflected upon, and documented strategies that most effectively enhance learning for linguistically diverse, visually oriented populations.

     After extensive SoTL training, the GSTLI professors reviewed interaction in their respective classrooms. Through meticulous study of class videos and written assignments in three General Studies Requirements courses for first-year students, the teachers learned how to ensure connecting with students who have a variety of language differences and communication methods.

     The other professors assessed bottlenecks in classes on the linguistic structure of ASL, and on criminal justice. The linguistics professor identified the bottleneck as the students’ inability to conceptualize the interrelationship between definitions and examples, a fundamental skill to scientific thinking. In the criminal justice class, the professor saw the need to guide students through linguistic bottlenecks by providing materials in both ASL and English. The successes of the GSTLI presented in this unique volume can benefit other teachers by better preparing them to meet the needs of bilingual diverse learners in more effective ways.


Kristin J. Mulrooney is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator, Department of Linguistics, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.



"We need to create a learning place where students feel they belong, to take advantage of the education system in which they are involved. Mulrooney and colleagues provide tools and strategies to apply within this rich learning environment. In this book, professors from Gallaudet University describe a bilingual context that creates a complex cultural tapestry, as the students bring different sign languages, different written languages, and rich cultural experiences, leading to a teaching and learning environment that requires expansion of professors’ pedagogical practices. The authors document effective strategies for creating a safe and trusting learning community that connects the students, where they feel they belong, and that takes into account these differences, including use of visual orientation, sign languages, spoken language interpretation, and student identity."

— Ronice Quadros, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education