Matt Jenkins


Education 1+3
Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter

Start date: September 2020

Research topic: Does learning a Sign Language Orthography (SLO) support deaf children’s bi-literacy development? An investigation into the relationship between SLO acquisition and British Sign Language and English development.

Key researchers have identified challenges for deaf children with literacy, and found a gap between deaf learners’ cognitive abilities and their language learning levels. Deaf children struggle with depicting English sounds in writing because British Sign Language (BSL) does not have a written orthography.  My study would enable me to conduct an investigation to explore a deaf child’s bi-literacy potential by using BSL in its written form – SLwrite (Sign Language Write).

The overall aim is to examine whether deaf children, if taught a representational, written form of their native visual-gestural sign language (L1), may better develop improved cognitive abilities in order to regenerate literacy skills in their second language, English (L2).

Research supervisors: Dr Hannah Anglin-Jaffe, Professor Dongbo Zhang