The Math Forum: 1996 
NSN Institute

July 22-26, 1996 - Watertown, Massachusetts

NSN 96 Home Page

Nicole Sasson

Address: 22 George St.
Newton, MA 02158
School: Day Middle School

My full name is Nicole Sasson, sister to the famous Math forum employee, Eric. I teach Deaf students. I went to the University of Rochester. I was a psychology major, with an allied field in American Sign Language. I fell in love with the Deaf community. I am a supporter of Deaf rights. I went to Boston University for my Master's degree in Deaf education. The focus was from a linguistic standpoint: how to teach English (reading and writing, NOT speaking) to Deaf children. English is their second language. All of my communication happens in American Sign Language, a true and complex language.

Last year I taught 4-6 graders at the South Shore Educational Collaborative. I was responsible for all subjects. I had 6 Deaf students in a self-contained classroom. They were mainstreamed for art and gym. The year was a huge success. Although my specialty is teaching reading and writing, I love teaching math.

This coming year I will be starting a new job. I will be working for the EDCO program for the Deaf. We are located in Newton, MA. I will be working in the middle school with 6-8th graders. I am the math teacher for any Deaf students who choose not to be mainstreamed for that subject. In this collaborative program, more mainstreaming takes place than in my last job. Thus, in addition to teaching math, I will be providing support services for the subjects in which the students are mainstreamed. I will also accompany students to the mainstream classes, and serve as an interpreter.

Although my background may not have been so supportive of this environment, mainstreaming, I am very excited about this job. I do not believe that mainstreaming is a good idea for young Deaf children. They need Deaf peers. They need to learn American Sign Language. Because 90% of all Deaf children have hearing parents, this does not happen enough in the home. The most harmful thing you can do for a Deaf child, their self-esteem and personality, is to "try to make them hearing." Deaf people have their own beautiful and complex language, as well as culture!

Now I need to say, "However." Why? After a supportive and strong background with the Deaf community, in an educational environment for the Deaf, SOME mainstream programs may be an option for SOME students. The EDCO program is one example of a great mainstream program for the Deaf. First of all, it is large. There are about 60 Deaf students, 6-12 graders. Thus, there is a community for the Deaf within the hearing schools (middle school and high school.) There is a lot of support. Also, the education in Newton schools is TOP!

So, I could go on and on about the Deaf aspect of my job. But why am I at this workshop? Number one, my brother is running it. Number two, as a math teacher in Newton, I fit the requirements for attendants. Number three, I am interested to know more about the web and the inernet. Now I want to know how I can incorporate use of computers and the internet to my new job. There is one computer at the Newton middle school that is on line.

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Math Forum * * * * 10 July 1996