Ministry of Education
Provincial and Demonstration Schools Branch

Bilingual-Biliteracy Bicultural Education

The Ernest C. Drury Elementary School for the Deaf uses a bilingual-biliteracy-bicultural approach to educating our students. This approach promotes American Sign Language (ASL) as the first language and English as the second language.

The Parallel Model, which is a bilingual-biliteracy education model, is currently being used at Ernest C. Drury Elementary School. This model uses ASL as the language of dialogue, and uses both ASL and English as the language of instruction and of study. As a result, ASL proficiency creates teaching and learning experiences that increase the academic achievement of every student. This model not only has benefits for the student within the classroom, but also extends to their life outside of the school environment. The benefits of this model are evidenced not only in the classroom, but also extends to community connections by developing the students’ skills to become life-long learners.

Moreover, the Parallel Model utilizes ASL that our students are most masterful, and shows the students how the functions and contents of ASL transform into English equivalents (and vice versa).  As a result, the students acquire ASL and English through bilingual-biliteracy connection(s). This approach also applies to students using two languages to develop reading skills in English.  Having strong literacy skills in ASL and English provide students with a strong foundation for academic achievement and success as citizens of the global community.

The Bilingual-Biliteracy and Bicultural Education principles as supported by the Provincial Schools Branch are as follows:

  • Development of students’ biliteracy, numeracy and inquiry skills in ASL and English;
  • Development of an understanding of ASL and English culture within a diverse, multicultural society; and
  • Development of a cultural identity which supports well-being and active engagement within the ASL, English and global communities.