Thailand’s Filipino teachers first to use sign language to teach English to non-deaf students

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Filipino teachers in Thailand could be the first in the world to adopt sign language in teaching English to students who are neither deaf nor mute.

A quick Google search today, 23 December and on 7 December 2014, showed the use of sign language to teach English to non-deaf students has been conducted only at the free English camp of Filipino Ajarns Toward Education (FATE) held on 15-16 November 2014.

The free English camp was held at the government school Wat Kaew Silaram School attended by over 90 grade 1-9 students.

The Filipino teachers group in Thailand has incorporated the sign language into two more popular children’s songs after its evaluation indicated good results.

FATE is also writing their own lyrics and adopting sign language for the several other music in the public domain.

According to FATE, the adoption of simplified sign language as part of their English teaching tools was necessitated by the need to fill in the shortfall of traditional actions songs in teaching English.

“Action songs are effective learning tools. The song “If You’re Happy” can associate the word “happy” with “clap your hands,” the word “angry” with “stomp your feet,” and so on,” says Mary Rose Alberto, a coordinator of Filipino Ajarns Toward Education (FATE) at the Keera-pat International School (KPIS).

“However, it has difficulty conveying more complete thoughts. On the other hand, even a simplified sign language can act out sentences and phrases with simple finger and hand gestures, a handy visual tool,” she says.

She cautions not use the sign language too seriously to prevent it from defeating its purpose of serving as handy visual reference for students learning English.

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