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"Promoting excellence in sign language instruction": November update for ECML PRO-Sign 2 project

Author: Catherine Seewald/23 November 2017/Categories: Show on front page, Promoting excellence in sign language instruction

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Tobias Haug obtained a master’s degree in Language Testing (distance). His dissertation is titled Development and Evaluation of Two Vocabulary Tests for Swiss German Sign Language (2017). By the way, he passed "with distinction"! Congratulations from all of us! We are very proud to have him in the Expert Team of PRO-Sign2.

Christian Rathmann delivered two talks in Budapest, Hungary, on 9 November at the 3rd International Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf with the theme Full Inclusion with Sign Languages, and he talked about ‘Language Choices in Deaf Infants: Advice for (Hearing) Parents’ (a joint talk with colleagues). He also presented in London, UK, on 10 November 2017, at the ESCR event at City University, Go See: Learning British Sign Language: Bridging Research and Practice. The title of his presentation was ‘Current Issues in Second Sign Language Research’. ProSign and CEFR for Sign Languages have been mentioned and discussed.

The Expert team members are involved in the Implementation of European Language Portfolio (ELP) for Sign Languages as a pilot project at Trinity College (Leeson) and Humboldt-Universität (Rathmann), which have already started. Zürich (Haug) and Utrecht (van den Bogaerde) will follow soon. Preliminary pilot results will be presented in our Network meeting in April 2018.

Maria de Monte (ISSR, Italy), Felipe Venancio Barbosa (Brazil), Tobias Haug (Switzerland) and Beppie van den Bogaerde (Netherlands) organised an EALTA subsidized event titled ‘Assessing Sign Language in Clinical and Classroom Environment: Learning from Experience Exchange’, in Rome, 9-11 November 2017.  About 30 people attended the event, sign language teachers, language policy makers, students and (clinical) linguists. The focus was on assessing atypical sign language (e.g. patients with psychiatric problems) and on testing sign language in L1 and L2 users. The following issues were discussed during the workshop: Target group delineation and adapting SL testing to their needs, Task development, Test content, Post-test (what do we do with the results of the tests?), and Provide a bridge between Theory and Practice with access to resources. We evaluated the discussed issues during the workshop (WS) and prioritized them as follows (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Evaluation of discussion in the workshop and priorities in addressing issues


PRO-Sign 2 project website (available in English, French and sign language)

The project team: 
Christian Rathmann (coordinator), Tobias Haug, Lorraine Leeson, Beppie van den Bogaerde


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