Language use and awareness of deaf and hearing children in a bilingual setting
This chapter describes sociolinguistic observations made in a bilingual classroom with Deaf and hearing elementary-school pupils and their teachers. The first part of the chapter discusses the socio-political context of deaf education and Sign Language rights in Austria. The second part provides an insight into bilingual education practice for a group of Deaf and hearing children and their team of teachers working in spoken and signed languages. The study conducted in the bilingual classroom is based on observations and data recorded on video over a three-year period. Language domains, attitudes, skills, and communicative barriers were analyzed and findings point to the success of language learning strategies for the Deaf pupils and an enriching linguistic and social experience for the hearing participants.