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Bilingual/Bicultural. Bilingual/Bicultural. ASL should be the first language of deaf students, and English should be taught as a second language through the use of ASL.

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ASL should be the first language of deaf students, and English should be taught as a second language through the use of ASL.

The end goal is that students are fluent in both ASL and English (reading and writing) and can easily communicate with both Deaf and hearing people.



1965 Bilingual Education Act

“ ‘there are large and growing numbers of children of limited English proficiency; that many such children have a cultural heritage which differs from that of English proficient persons; and the Federal Government has an…obligation to assist in providing equal educational opportunity to limited English proficient children.’ The law goes on to say that ‘A primary means by which a child learns is through the use of the child’s native language and cultural heritage.’ ”

From: A Journey into the Deaf-World




School Demographics

  • MSD educates students from preschool through high school graduation
  • Student to teacher ratio 3:1
  • Number of students- 72

Modes of Communication

  • ASL is used for teaching and communicating
  • English is used for reading and writing


MSD differed from other TC or Oral settings because of the atmosphere. Everyone in the school from the secretaries to the teachers used ASL to communicate.

-Deaf Teachers


Many of the middle and high school students admitted to not wanting to use English or not wanting to read.

-Preference for ASL only

-Students live away from their families for the majority of the week

Strengths and Weaknesses



Currently only about 3% of the deaf education programs use the bilingual/bicultural approach.

Out of all the day and residential schools, only 19 schools in the United States identified themselves as BiBi.




  • Students learn directly from the teacher, there is no need for interpreters.
  • Students are less likely to miss information in the BiBi setting opposed to TC, mainstreamed, and oral programs (ex: poor interpreting, miscommunication, etc.)
  • Students are never pulled out from the classroom.
  • There are many positive Deaf role models.
  • Students learn about and participate in Deaf Culture.
  • ASL is used in its true form, ASL and English are used as two separate languages.
  • Deaf children receive a language that is highly accessible to them.





  • Using ASL as a first language can cause a dislike for English.
  • Students are not interacting with their hearing peers, it does not prepare them for how the real world is organized.
  • Most students entering school are not proficient in ASL, therefore a lot of early instruction is spent on language development opposed to academic development.
  • There are not many BiBi programs available.
  • BiBi programs do not focus on auditory and speech development.
  • Students with residual hearing are not receiving any auditory training.

Who is this setting good for?

-Profoundly deaf students

-Students that use ASL as their first language

-Students who have culturally Deaf parents

Who may not benefit from this setting?

-Hard of Hearing Students

-Students who use English as their first language

-Student who have hearing parents




GRI-Gallaudet Research Institute

This site provides research on topics concerning Deaf people and those living, working with, or educating Deaf people.

JDSDE- Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

This source is a collection of articles about many different topics related to deaf education.



Lane, H., Hoffmeister, R., & Bahan B. (1996). A journey into the deaf-world.

San Diego: Dawn Sign Press.

LaSasso, C., & Lollis J. (2003). Survey of residential and day schools for deaf

students in the United States that identify themselves as bilingual-

bicultural programs. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 8(1),


Speights, A. (1996). Bilingual-bicultural education for deaf students: why and

why not. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from


U.S. University Directory. (2009). Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint, MI.

Retrieved April 19, 2009, from