Applicability and value of code-switching in sign bilingual education
Keywords:Sign bilingual education, Sign language, Code-switching, Deaf culture, Inter-sentential code-switching
Grounded on Peal and Lambert (1962)’s code-switching theory, the purpose of this review was to explore the applicability and value of code-switching in sign bilingual education. The paper conceives code-switching between oral and sign language as sign bilingual code-switching. Literature is replete with studies that promote the validity of hearing code-switching yet there are conflicting conclusions that are openly hostile to sign bilingual code-switching. This paper is however posited on a belief that sign bilingual code-switching is applicable and valid in scaffolding learning and language development and in facilitating social interaction in inclusive and sign bilingual education settings. The paper concludes that literature that is opposed to the applicability and validity of sign bilingual code-switching was influenced by the hostile historic beliefs in hegemonic power struggles that often characterize languages and cultures as either dominant or minor. Thus, successful sign bilingual code-switching is that which recognises the equality of oral and sign language and of the hearing and Deaf cultures while at the same time embracing inter-sentential code-switching practices. In these regards, for sign bilingual teachers to successfully use sign bilingual code-switching, they must be proficient in both the dominant oral language and the sign language of that community. Professional training and regular staff development is recommended in these regards.
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