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ERIC Number: EJ883634
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1367-0050
Bilingual Education for Deaf Children in Sweden
Svartholm, Kristina
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, v13 n2 p159-174 Mar 2010
In 1981, Swedish Sign Language gained recognition by the Swedish Parliament as the language of deaf people, a decision that made Sweden the first country in the world to give a sign language the status of a language. Swedish was designated as a second language for deaf people, and the need for bilingualism among them was officially asserted. This was reflected in the first bilingual curriculum, introduced in special schools for the deaf and hard of hearing in 1983, which stated that the language of instruction in these schools should be Swedish sign language as well as Swedish, the latter of which, for deaf children, was primarily intended to be in its written form. These provisions were designed to ensure that pupils would be able to develop their bilingualism. In 1994, this curriculum was replaced by a new one that raised the bar even higher. In accordance with this curriculum, schools became responsible for ensuring that all deaf and hard of hearing pupils would be bilingual by the time they completed school. In this paper, I will present details regarding the background of the Swedish Parliament's decision and also compare and discuss the steering documents for the schools in this regard. I will also describe some of the developmental work that was implemented early in schools for the deaf, where teachers collaborated closely with linguistic researchers. This work will be related to contemporary research on sign language linguistics and Swedish as a second language for deaf people. I will then present results from the bilingual approach, as reflected in the leaving certificates of deaf school leavers over the years. Finally, I will briefly discuss the current situation Swedish special schools face today, in which a quickly growing number of deaf children with cochlear implants are applying for admission. Although the need for bilingualism among these children is fully recognised, the attainment of this goal may require schools to adopt different means of instruction. (Contains 1 table and 3 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden