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Home > Clerc Center > 2nd Annual CAEBER Conference Gathers Experts on Bilingualism and Language Planning

Experts on Bilingualism and Language Planning Gather for 2nd Annual CAEBER Conference

Image: Caeber book cover

The 2nd Annual CAEBER (Center for ASL /English Bilingual Education and Research) Conference brought together educators from 34 states from around the country to share strategies related to bilingualism and bilingual education. The conference, held from March 10-12 at Gallaudet University, convened experts from the fields of school-based language planning, bilingual education, and deaf education.

"The theme of this year's conference, 'Bilingualism as a Resource: A Shared Vision for Educating Deaf and Hard of Hearing Learners,' continues our emphasis on the importance of quality in facilitating the strategic use of school-based language planning," said CAEBER director Stephen Nover.

The conference emphasized language planning as the key element in setting up and maintaining an ASL/English bilingual education program. The primary focus of school-based language planning in deaf education and deaf communities is the promotion of bilingualism, multilingualism, and respect for all languages of deaf and hearing people. Since school-based language planning takes place within the overall paradigm of social transformation, the development of historically marginalized signed languages (e.g., ASL, LSM) is a high priority.

CAEBER promotes a national collaborative effort among educators, parents, and researchers who work together to respond to the educational needs of deaf and hard of hearing children and provide leadership in school-based language planning. Their mission is accomplished through the following strategies:

  • Promotion of the appropriate use of scientifically research-based language planning in educational settings
  • Promotion of the acquisition, development, and use of both ASL and English for academic purposes for deaf and hard of hearing students as well as their parents and educational staff 
  • Training for educational staff in the strategic use of ASL and English as languages of instruction in educational settings 
  • Promotion of an understanding and appreciation of language and cultural diversity

Participants at the CAEBER Conference had an opportunity to network with their peers from around the country to discuss their visions for language planning in a bilingual setting and how to work together to make them happen. The afternoon "portrait" sessions took a snapshot of a language planning or bilingual strategy and brought it to life in response to the question, "What does it look like?" These sessions provided an opportunity to see examples of language planning in action and examples of specific bilingual methodology.

The CAEBER Conference was supported by the Gallaudet University departments of the College of Professional Studies and Outreach, the Language Planning Institute, VL2 Visual Language and Visual Learning, Gallaudet University Press, and the Kellogg Conference Hotel; the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center; ASL Tales; Clerc's Children; DawnSignPress; and QuestFest.

For more information about CAEBER and how to become involved.