Category: For Students


ASL hall sign

ASL hall sign (Photo credit: swenda)

This morning I read the article by Blogger Bitco David on Deaf In Prison  titled No Child Left Signing and the site Deaf Insight Blogger: Monica Hood titled Keep ASL in School Campaign. The two articles addressed great information along with the importance of keeping ASL in schools for a number of reasons. The value of ASL to both the hearing and deaf youth, the importance of students having language options and the awareness that having an ASL program in schools offers hearing and deaf youth.

In a discussion, I had a while ago with another ASL/Deaf educator she mentioned that sometimes hearing ASL students know more about the deaf community and language than deaf students. Which made sense to me, I don’t remember receiving in-depth lessons at home or school about my culture, language or history. To learn more I researched on my own and learned new information in college by taking certain classes. Deaf youth should have the same option as hearing youth when taking ASL or deaf culture courses. They need to understand the importance of their history, language and culture along with other experiences to  develop a positive self-identity. As well as deaf youth need to see how much their language is valued and appreciated that hearing students all over are passionate about learning it and making a difference in the community. This would also encourage deaf youth to get involved to make a difference as their parents and ancestors have to fight for equality and access.

For hearing students ASL is a great option, not only for foreign language requirements and it is different from Spanish but ASL opens doors to so much more. Students can get involved in the community and make a difference by advocating, educating and promoting an awareness of  ASL and the community. This can be accomplished as early as the first course they take and continued through higher education. Once students connect with this mission it can be carried over into employment especially in places where the door has been closed to the deaf community due to discrimination. They can bring to light the needs of the deaf community and how they can be met through equal access and deaf friendly approaches. This is what both of the communities need; support and purpose.

The thought of losing ASL in hearing, mainstream or deaf schools is saddening as it has been a door of opportunity in so many ways. As a teacher I hear the stories from hearing students sharing with me even after leaving my program. Uplifting stories of accomplishment and success, of how they made a difference with one simple act of kindness or education. Deaf students share  how they feel empowered and know how to educate for their rights because of experiences they or family members  had, understanding the value in who they are and their language because of learning something they did not know in an ASL class or from an ASL professional. I watch in awe my students signing with deaf individuals as I see the excitement on both people’s faces that a person took the time to learn my language and the other person happy their signs can be understood.

English: Community Center for the Deaf & Hard ...

English: Community Center for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The one experience I wish would grow is he number of deaf events in our areas and the number of deaf that attend the events we do have. Often, ASL students go to deaf events in droves looking to experience a deaf encounter:) and practice the skills they are learning but the opportunities are not always there. As a result, they go through the event signing with another hearing person which is great because they are signing but it is not the same as signing with a deaf person which is what they need. I support more events where ASL students support each other signing but I also support deaf events in which hearing and deaf connect. In hearing and deaf connections students are more likely to learn a wealth of information than what cannot be covered in class. Such as, community signs, social etiquette and facial expressions which seems to be one of the number one struggles for hearing people. We need to connect and continue to bridge the gap between the two communities which would convey the importance of having ASL in the schools, equal access in the business world and communities and deaf-friendly experiences wherever we go. It starts with this generation because they will carry the torch and make a difference.

In closing, be the difference you want to see, encourage others to make a difference and support keeping ASL in schools!

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Good insight on what it is like to be deaf. It reminded me of  some of my experiences as a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) with a deaf parent and siblings. So often, as hearing people we take things for granted (our hearing) and the small things we do not think twice about a deaf person has to think four times about. I am sooo appreciative that I was raised in a deaf household! This experience has taught me to not take life for granted and the small or big things that come along with it. My childhood gives me the motivation to get involved; to advocate and educate others on deafness and disabilities. All I can say is thankyou mom and brothers because of your lives, your struggles, your visions….I am. (I am a CODA, I am an advocate, I am passionate, I am bilingual, I am blessed, I am empathetic, I am loved, I am empowered….I am)

Interesting that across the nation, countries realized the importance to meet the needs of the Deaf community. Even though access and equality have been a slow process it is better late than never along with the continued hope of brighter future.

What are your thoughts?

Beautiful Video

sponsored by the Alumni Association and co-hosted by the Old Farts Racing Team                       

Presents:

Happy Days Reunion Annual Benefit Car Show and Craft Fair

Saturday

March 30, 2013

8:30-3:00pm

Spectator Admission is free!

Flyer attached for more information.

CSDRAAFLYERFinal.pdf_2013a_b

car 2  car

ASL in family

ASL in family (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do I have to interact with deaf people??????? Yes, you do! This is what I tell my students.

The best way to learn sign language is to “dive into the deaf world”. Students ask all the time how they can receive a name sign or how to become more fluent…my response is….. by practicing and connecting with the very people whose language you are learning. What better way is there to increase your signing abilities both receptive and expressive than by practicing with deaf individuals. I understand using your skills as a beginning signer can be nerve-wracking but as I tell my students be like the Nike slogan and “Just Do It” jump right in and do your best. Deaf people are straightforward and seek to make connections with other signers, one of the key elements of the culture is communication. The Deaf community appreciates when a hearing person has a sincere interest in learning sign language and a level of respect for the language, culture and community.

This past week one of my ASL 1 students attended the Sean Forbes concert at California School for the Deaf Riverside. When she came back she was enlightened and excited about the skills she was able to use at the concert. She shared with me her experience and how she was happy when she realized how much sign language she understood. I was soooo proud of her because she now understands the importance of what she is learning, how to use it and its benefits.

I encourage students to attend any deaf event but the best events are the ones that are on a smaller scale and allow one to one communication. As students attend these events and return to the classroom they share how comfortable they felt, the signs they learned and conversations they clearly understood. These experiences are confidence builders which are great for the spirit when learning a new language and putting it into action.

I love that ASL is becoming increasingly popular but as an ASL educator and Child of Deaf Adults I want my students to understand that it is vital to connect, involve and grow in the deaf community, doing this will enhance your perspective of deaf culture and increase your signing fluency.

So…ASL students Get out there and sign!

Good Luck:)

Sean Forbes is a Deaf musician with a passion for sharing music with everyone especially the Deaf community! Love him!\

Check out the flyer below:

Sean-Forbes-Feb-1

shhWhat is the best strategy to learn American Sign Language???? By immersing yourself in the language and culture. This means signing and not focus on talking which is imperative to signing success.

Returning to a classroom full of talkative, hyper and at times non-attentive high school students, this is the number one  strategy students put last on their list even when enforced. I understand that learning a new language can be confusing and overwhelming and there are times when voices need to be used but there are many times if students focus they can express themselves with the vocabulary they have (which is similar to talking only with hands). I share with students the scenario that when deaf individuals find themselves in a situation with a communication barrier they cannot turn their voices on, so they figure out a way to communicate with ASL. I expect students to do the same as best as they can.

I find that the best signers are those who not only focus and use the voice off rule in class but put what they learn to use outside of class. I remind students that ASL is similar to math if you don’t use it you lose it. You may feel confident in class but when you leave a signing environment you lose what you learn unless you incorporate it into your daily life.

I share my passion and respect for American Sign Language not only because it is part of who I am; a bi-lingual bi-cultural individual  but I know its beauty and benefits to the hearing and deaf cultures. I want my students at any level to love it as much as I do or at least respect it because “American Sign Language is to the eyes as words are to the ears”  -Ken Glickman-

Sooooo……Voices Off..please!

Cover of "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

Cover of Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

This excerpt is from the Dr. Seuss book “Oh the Places You’ll Go”. I love this book because it empowering and encourages world exploration. To remember that change may come, things may happen that you dislike, or you may not understand why something happens just be positive get back on your feet and try again. I think the ending to this book is great to close my blurb with.

So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.

Ok….what is this Dr.Seuss blog about you might ask?

Every year I give a children’s story assignment to my ASL students. Some of the books students choose are fabulous but the number one desired author for this assignment is Dr.Seuss. Dr. Suess is an entertaining and creative writer however; sometimes his books do not lend themselves well to conceptual ASL.  I have tried to figure out how to get students to understand the importance of visually performing a Dr.Suess book whose language can be twisty-turvy at times  and conveying  it clearly in the wonderful signed performance at their level of course.  Today, I saw Keith Wann’s Dr. Suess video in ASL it was fantastic. I am already a fan of his and the great comedy he produces so it was a joy to see this and I will show it as an example to students of how a Dr.Suess story can be performed. The book he signs is “Oh the Thinks You Can Think”. Enjoy!!!