Here is a compelling and controversial text which asserts that Deaf students should be treated no differently than non-Deaf students. The author, a veteran and practicing teacher, rejects the predominant view of Deaf students as special learners in need of language remediation and repair. Instead, she maintains that for Deaf students as well as their hearing counterparts, the primary educational goal is the making and sharing of understandings in various subjects. Furthermore, she views this as a process that occurs naturally, concomitantly, and reciprocally with the acquisition of language—regardless of one's hearing ability. Livingston's assertion clashes with conventional Deaf education, which presumes that the wider learning begins after students master a sign system that codifies and reconstructs English. With a cumbersome, orderly, piecemeal, and unnatural approach, this traditional view frequently forces teachers to water down curriculums in an attempt to make English more readily acquired. As a result, Deaf students are deprived of rich and challenging content. Rethinking the Education of Deaf Students
offers an alternative and demonstrates how American Sign Language (ASL) and English can coexist in the same classroom, embedded in the content of what is being taught. Through clear theoretical explanations, field-tested teaching strategies, authentic examples of students' work, lesson plans, and sections on assessment, Livingston suggests ways to help students become educated language users. Her ideas hold enormous implications for those who teach Deaf students, develop school budgets, design programs, and train future teachers. More important, they may hold the key that unlocks the potential of Deaf students of all ages to become voracious readers and accomplished writers.