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SIT-Summer Institute in Taiwan
Academic Exchange & Cultural Experience in Taiwan
Category
Remarks by for Dr. Shiu-Tan Liu (劉秀丹) for Bonita Squires

I greatly appreciate MOST for providing me this opportunity to host Bonita Squires and help her learn more about Taiwan Sign Language (TSL), deaf education in Taiwan and deaf culture in Taiwan. I also learned Canadian deaf education and American Sign Language (Canadian who are deaf use the American Sign Language system) from Bonita. The Summer Institute in Taiwan gave both of us a good opportunity to have a deeper understanding of the deaf culture in both countries.

Bonita is a knowledgeable, highly experienced and self-motivated researcher. Additionally, she is a fluent American Sign Language interpreter, who also studies Sign Language Linguistics and is really interested in teaching deaf students how to read and write. During the short seven weeks, I arranged several research tours for Bonita, and she actively engaged in every activity I planned, and she was also popular wherever she went. The collaboration between Bonita and I was a precious experience for both of us.

The followings are the activities I planned for Bonita:

1. Interacting with Deaf Community

Including Taichung Hearing Impaired People Association (台中聾人協會) and Chinese National Association of the Deaf R.O.C (台北中華民國聽障人協會)

2. Visiting Deaf Education Associations

Including National Taichung Special Education School for the Hearing Impaired (台中啟聰學校), Fu Lien Hui Foundation for children who are hearing-impaired (Taichung) (台中婦聯會至德聽障兒童文教基金會) and Sheng Hui Foundation for children who are hearing-impaired (Taichung) (台中聲暉知能發展中心)

3. Taiwan Sign Language Instruction (One to one)

My deaf assistant, Jia-Sheng Ma, was Bonita’s Taiwan Sign language teacher. I arranged the classes (Monday through Friday) for her.

4. Teacher training workshop of the bilingual picture book education for the deaf children

 In July, I organized a teacher training workshop of picture book education at Chung-Shan Medical School and Bonita participated fully in the workshop. I assigned one of my students to be Bonita’s interpreter during the workshop to help her learn more about my teaching philosophy on picture books and the methods of picture book teaching.

5. Sign Language Summer Camp

In July, I held a Children Sign Language Summer Camp at He-Ping Elementary School. She also fully engaged in it and was a volunteer at the summer camp.

6. Speeches

Bonita and I were invited to National Tainan University to deliver a speech for graduate students in the Department of Special Education. The topic Bonita presented was Deaf Education, Language and Literacy Development in Canada. Many graduate students were really interested in the Deaf Education in Canada and Bonita gave them a clear and precise comparison about the Deaf Education in Taiwan and Canada.

In addition to the above-mentioned activities, we also had periodic meetings on her research. On the research concerning the development of competency examination for sign language, the examination for Sign Language working memory capacity or the research regarding Iconicity in Taiwan Sign Language, she could raise key questions and provided practical suggestions on English Writing. I gained a lot from her. Furthermore, Bonita and I created and developed the core vocabulary signs (including videotape and standardized signs used with core vocabulary and procedures for using and personalizing signs with individual students), which can be really good teaching materials for speech and language therapists.

Feedback:

I would like Bonita to have opportunities to learn Deaf culture and Deaf Education in Taiwan. Therefore, I planned several research tours, including workshops and summer camp and other research activities as well as I could (In fact, because of the summer vacation, most deaf education institutions were closed) in order to let Bonita learn more about Taiwan’s Deaf Education. During the period of time, she suffered from heatstroke and food poisoning and didn’t sleep well. I was really worried about her.  I was thankful that she got back to Canada safely, which gave me a big relief. I miss her already. I am really looking forward to having future collaboration with her.

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