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Teaching tips

Kesi Dumford, Kylie Schrichten, Kerry Hines, Jack Hodges

First language aquisition


  • No matter the first language a majority of adolescents all learn languge in developmental phases.
  • Once a subject processes beyoung the ability to produce noise they then begin to string their noises into recognizeable words.
  • These words are all vocabulary a subject has been previously exposed to by listening.
  • Many Adolescnets have a deeper ability to understand language than their capabilties at producing it would demonstrate. This applies to both written and spoken forms.

No Matter The Language It Is a Process:From Cooing to Babbling to One and Two Word Stages all the way to Later Development... We All Start Somewhere

How this applies to educators


  • Beats
  • Iconics
  • Deictics

Alternate Sign Language = Not to be confused with ASL or American Sign Language

Know that there are different Languages and Cultural various of Sign Language

Why this matters to teaching Hard of Hearing Students and English Language Learners

Why this matters to teaching Hard of Hearing Students and English Language Learners

Why this matters to teaching Hard of Hearing Students and English Language Learners


The Teaching Tip in this section is never forget the power of talking with your hands.

Let's See it in Action






Iconics are gestures that seem to be a reflection of the meaning of what is said.

The term "deictics" means "pointing" and we often use gestures to point to things or people while talking

Short quick movements of the hand or fingers



  • Example: We trace a square in the air with a finger while saying "I am looking for a small box"
  • Iconic gesture does not mean what is said, but may add "meaning"
  • Iconic gestures help the communicated message accomplish through speech and gesture combined.
  • This could be used in our classrooms to help our ELL students recieve our commuicated message.

Iconics:Gestures that seem to be a reflection the meaning of what is said.



  • Example: We use a hand to indicate a table with cake on it, and ask someone "would you like a piece of cake?" Then later, use the same gesture and the same table which no longer has cake on it, and say "That cake was delicious."
  • This gesture and speech combine can only be accomplished successfully if refrencing something that only exists in shared memory.
  • This gesture can be used with ELL learners as teachers can set routines, or a shared memory in order to help support these students.

Deictics:The term "Deictic" means "pointing" and we often use gestures to point to things or people while talking.



  • These gestures accompany rhythm of talk and often used to emphasize parts of what is being said or to mark a change from describing events, to commenting on those events.
  • Accompany speech, but are not typically used as a way of speaking
  • This Gesture can be used in the classroom to quickly let students notice the change from describing and commenting on a story.

Beats:Short quick movements of the hand or fingers.

using asl in the classroom

Classroom Management

  • Incorporating signs and nonverbal gestures can be an effective way to eliminate unnecessary interruptions in the classroom.
  • Teaching students to use ASL as a form of positive communication in the classroom helps build community.
  • ASL can also teach students ways to practice active listening, so they could form thoughtful questions and comments that bring more to the discussion.


  • When learning new vocabulary words, using sign language increases word acquisition because it involves multiple modalities.
  • Learning is enhanced when more than one modality is incorporated in the learning task.
  • Sign language links abstract concepts with pictorial symbols to increase schema for vocabulary acquisition.
  • The use of sign language for ELL whose first language is not ASL, the practice of linking signs to a new word will increase comprehension of new English words

Using asl in the classroom

  • Students whose first language is ASL will gain a sense of inclusion if their peers make an effort to communicate in a way that is easier to understand for them.
  • Sign language is highly motivational, engaging, and interactive which will allow students to connect with their peers on a higher level.
  • Learning some ASL will open the door for students to seek out more information about the language

ASL in the classroom

When students want to show agreement during class, they can use this sign

One of the vocabulary words this week is "dehydrated". To study, students can use this sign

When students need help with something during class they can use this sign

When students need to use the bathroom during class, they can use this sign

Example of comprehension:
Example of classroom management
Example of classroom management
Example of classroom management


El deafo

El Deafo is an autobiographical graphic novel that follows Cece Bell's challenges through losing her hearing and her struggles to communicate to her family and peers. It is a valuable text in the classroom because it helps students to understand communication struggles and how to effectively interact with deaf or hard of hearing people.


Struggles with oralism

“A lip reader must see the speaking person’s face at all times”

“Shouting is not good”

“Exaggerated mouth movements are confusing”

"Hands in front of mouths are also bad news!”


What works

  • The "Phonic Ear" allowed Cece to finally hear others. In fact, her hearing was better than her peers.
  • Cece did not learn ASL as a child, but instead learned it as an adult.



Yule, G. (2023). The Study of Language (8th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Feehly, C. (2023, December 13). Gesturing as you talk may help you speak a new language like a local. New Scientist. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2405210-gesturing-as-you-talk-may-help-you-speak-a-new-language-like-a-local/

With this function...You can add additional content that excites the brains of your students: videos, images, links, interactivity...Whatever you want!

Did you know...We retain 42% more information when the content moves? It is perhaps the most effective resource to capture the attention of your students.

These are the universal or cultural signs that humans make to communicate like rubbing stomach for tummy ache or clapping hands to celebrate a good job.

Alternative Sign Language

As of January 2022 it is predicted that many countries around the world have their own indigenous sign languages. Estimates suggest that there are over 200 different sign languages globally.

How many Sign Languages are there?

Did you know...The window allows you to add more extensive content? You can enhance your genially by incorporating PDFs, videos, text... The content of the window will appear when you click on the interactive element.

Did you know that...In Genially, you will find over 1,000 ready-to-use and 100% customizable templates to pour your content into, which will help you in your classes?

Beats - These are quick short movements of hands and fingers. Think how a beat is a short repetition of maybe 1,2, or up 5 sounds. Just like how we have five fingers. This could be pointing or evening talking with your hands as a way to emphasize something.Iconics - Using our hands to reflect meaning like tracing a box in the air when you are looking or describing a present. Deitics - This could be pointing and making gestures that refer to something in the present moment and then the same gesture to prefer to past or future

Different Gestures