Throughout this semester I have had the opportunity to learn American Sign Language (ASL) for my #LearningProject. I have learned so much more than just how to sign. I learned a lot about the deaf community that I did not know before starting this journey. Although this course has come to an end I plan to continue working on my signing and learning new signs.
I decided to learn ASL for several reasons. The main reason I decided to learn ASL is because it has always been a thing on my bucket list and I am more than happy to finally check it off of my bucket list. Secondly, I wanted to learn ASL to be able to communicate with children who are hard of hearing or deaf. I feel like people who are hard of hearing or deaf are not always represented and learning to speak this language helps to create an inclusive environment for all. Lastly, I wanted to learn ASL to learn more about the deaf community. I have never been able to interact with the deaf community but after learning so much about it I have so much respect for what the deaf community stands for.
Throughout my #LearningProject I decided to use a vlog to show my progress throughout the semester. I did this because ASL is a visual language and to be able to communicate using ASL you need to be able to see the other’s hands and facial expressions. I also decided to keep my videos mute with subtitles because this is how people who are hard of hearing or deaf watch videos. I wanted people to experience what people who are hard of hearing or deaf do when they watch videos.
I learned different verbs and more about the deaf community. I learned how people who are hard of hearing or deaf sign in the dark. I used the website Sign Language 101 and learned what it had to offer beginner signers.
Lastly, I took my learning to the next level and researched about teaching students who are hard of hearing or deaf. I learned the difference between what it means to be hard of hear and deaf. I also leaned how to teach students who are hard of hearing or deaf and include them into the classroom.
I used several resources throughout my learning project such as:
In order to be able to teach students who are hard of hearing or deaf it is important to understand what is the different between the two. According to Nancy Hutchinson’s textbook Inclusion of Exceptional Learners in Canadian School: A Practical Handbook for Teachers student with hearing impairments are students who, “… cannot hear well enough to use hearing as a primary channel for learning without significant assistance…” (Hutchinson 125). Deaf is the most profound level of hearing loss. There is a total of four level of hearing loss mild, moderate, severe, and profound of deaf (Hutchinson 125). The most significance between hard of hearing and deaf students is the severity of the hearing loss.
Teachers need to understand that students with a hearing impairment will likely be affected by their language and communication development (Hutchinson 125). Before this is able to happen, it is important for teachers to notice changes in student’s behaviour. For instance, you might notice, “… children failing to respond to their name, asking for directions to be repeated, turning their head to hear, and speaking too loudly or too softly” (Hutchinson 126). Being able to differentiate and accommodates all students into an inclusive classroom is crucial to give students to amount of treatment they deserve.
Parents play a huge role in how you will be able to differentiate for a student with hearing impairments. It is important to remember that all parents want the best for their children and will usually work along side the teacher to help achieve this goal. Depending on the path the parent has chose for their child and when the child started to witness hearing loss, whether at birth or later on in life, will depend on what path you will need to take as the teacher. For instance, if a parent has decided to teach their child American Sign Language (ASL) or develop a deaf identity through deaf culture you can put this into your lesson plans to teach other students. This will create a learning opportunity for you and your students.
Hutchinson also gives eight tips for teachers of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. These tips include using visuals, handouts, and outlines; and discussing things with the student such as seating arrangements and so on (Hutchinson 127). These are just a few ways to differentiate and accommodates for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Hitchens, Rebecca. “Teaching Students Who Are Hard of Hearing or Deaf.” EPSY400. (2018).
Hutchinson, Nancy Lynn. Inclusion of Exceptional Learners in Canadian Schools: A Practical Handbook for Teachers. Pearson Canada Inc., 2017.
Last week I was struggling to find motivation/direction of where to go next with my #LearningProject. Learning how to sign a song was a huge milestone in my journey to learn #ASL. I started to think of different ways that I could integrate #ASL into my learning journey. I finally came up with idea to teach my little sister, Rose, how to sign. I chose her because she has never been subjected to #ASL before and I wanted someone who did not know a single thing about it. Also, when I began my #LearningProject my sister took interest in my journey with me and would be excited to see what I learned.
Now that I had someone in mind to teach #ASL to, I needed to think of something relatively easy to teach her. So I thought back to where I began learning #ASL. My first #LearningProject consisted of me signing, “Hello, my name is Rebecca. What is your name?” Since my sisters name is only four letters teaching her how to sign her name was pretty easy and she caught on quick. I got her to practice this several times over and over again.
I then had to decide what else I should teach her. I looked back to my second #LearningProject, which showed me learning the alphabet and numbers from 1-20. Rose and I started of by going through the alphabet a few time together. I noticed that she was struggling and decided that we would just focus on the alphabet rather than making her learning numbers 1-20 also.
The last step was to teach her simple words to make a sentence such as “sister,” “teach,” “sign,” “going,” and “my.” I showed Rose how to put the words together to create a sentence and explained that not all words are signed in #ASL.
After a lot of practice her I felt Rose was time for a video. Here is her progress!
NEXT WEEK: Teaching my sister to sign is very rewarding and got me thinking about my future students in my classroom. Next week I want to focus on how I can use #ASL in the classroom with my future students.
This week for my #ASL #LearningProject I’ve decided to take it easy and do part two of Sign Language 101, “Lesson 8 – Verbs & Directions.” I already mastered part one, which showed my progress with verbs. Now, I’ve decided to finish the video and learn directions and show my progress.
Learning directions was a little more difficult than I expected it to be. Verbs contained simple gestures and body language, whereas directions were harder to master. I also think that they were more difficult to learn because there were so many different directions to learn; whereas, the verbs there were less to learn.
NEXT WEEK: I want to find new motivation for where I want to go next.
In my last post, I mention that Hayley posted a video, called “How I’m Learning Sign Language!” on Twitter that inspired me to learn to sign a song. The girl in the video suggests learning to sign a favourite song of yours to quickly learn how to sign. Needless to say it has been an adventure. I continue to struggle with the fluency of signing #ASL. I struggled with signing the words fast enough to be able to follow with the lyrics. Although I struggled I persevered and honestly if it weren’t for the website, “Signing Savvy” I would not have learned as much as I did.
Please see the video below for my progress. P.s. learning to sign a song is very difficult but also very rewarding!
This week I have decided to take a look at the website Sign Language 101. It is a website that is comprised of ten individual videos that each are a lesson teaching beginners how to sign. I started by watching the first video called, “Lesson 1 – Gestures & Body Language.”
The video show the instructor signing while a narrator does a voice over to interpret what the instructor is signing. Within the first minute of the video I felt very overwhelmed. I could not follow along with the video and needed to turn on the subtitles to be able to comprehend the instructors signing. This gave me a whole new insight on what it means to be deaf and the struggles people who are deaf or hard of hearing face.
Since I’ve already started learning sign language I already knew several of the signs introduced in the first lesson. I’ve decided to skip a head to the video, “Lesson 8 – Verbs & Directions.” This video begins by giving the audience a little insight on deaf culture. The instructor asks the frequently asked question, “how do deaf people communicate in the dark?” The instructors goes on to tell a joke about a deaf person to give insight and to make fun of ignorance people have. People who are deaf just figure it out. People who are hard of hearing or deaf need to be able to see in order to communicate. Their eyes adjust to the light that allows them to see better at night. They use any little bit of light they can to help. For example, when deaf people go to a movie they use the lights in the isle to help them see to communicate.
Lesson 8 I’ve decided to split this lesson into two parts. I started to with verbs and did not find them difficult to comprehend and master. Since I have been watching the TV series Switched at Birth I have seen these verbs used before. Please see the video below of my progress.
NEXT WEEK: After collaborating with a few classmates on Twitter I have decided to learn sign language through another means – that being music. Hayley shared a video on Twitter and after watching the video, “How I’m Learning Sign Language!” I felt more motivated and ready to take my signing to the next step. For next week, I will learn how to sign a song. Tune in next week to see how it worked out.
I am officially half way through my #LearningProject and I couldn’t be anymore thrilled with how far I have come! Having the opportunity to learn such a diverse language has been exciting. I hope to continue to learn ASL and become fluent.
This past week I have been learning different family signs. I started by watching the video, “American Sign Language (ASL) Lesson: Family & PQRST.” This video is a mother making videos for her family members because her son is autistic and is not able to communicate through speech very well. She wanted her family members to be able to learn sign language along side her so they are able to communicate with her son. Throughout the video there are video clips of her son signing the words for family members such as mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, etc. This video made me happy and even more excited to be learning this beautiful language. Often exceptionalities are forgotten about or people forget the struggles of people with autism and not being able to communicate. ASL can be used for more than just the deaf community to communicate, but other people too. Although this video gave me another inspiring view-point it did not teach me all that I wanted to know. I found the video, “ASL Family Signs,” which taught me a lot. This video begins by explaining how male signs are from the bridge of your nose up and female signs are from the bridge of your nose down. Please see the video below to view my progress.
During this week I also had a colleague comment on one of my learning blogs and suggested a website for me to use called, “Sign Language 101.” this website consists of numerous videos teaching ASL gestures, phrases, and so much more! I did not use it for this weeks #LearningProject but I want to use it for next weeks. I strongly suggest for anyone that wants to learn ASL to check out this website it looks to be good.
This past week I decided to learn my colours and articles of clothing. Although this was my intention I happened to learn a lot more.
Learning the colours and articles of clothing was a pretty basic task. I found a video on YouTube called, “ASL Colors and Clothes.” The video explained which way your signing hand should be positioned and broke down the reasoning behind each sign. Please see the video below to see my progress.
If you have been following my #LearningProject you will notice how there is no audio in any of my videos, which I have done for a reason. Since I am learning ASL I wanted my videos to be available for people who are hearing impaired. I think that an inclusive environment is important for all and this is one way that I am trying to take my beliefs and put them into practice. Learning ASL has given me a new insight on the world and the many different needs that individuals have.
Last week I said that I wanted to find new ways to learn ASL online. My roommate suggested I started watching Switched at Birth and see if I would be able to pick up unfamiliar words and phrases from the TV series. After watching the first episode I was hooked! This TV series has taught me so much about signing and the deaf community. I am now able to sign more words and phrases, which has built my confidence. Sydney Wall, my friend and classmate, is also learning ASL for her #LearningProject. On the weekend her, my roommate, and I did an unintentional social experiment. While out at a social gathering Sydney and I got to talking about how our ASL was coming along. We started to share what we both have learned so far and what we still wanted to learn. Both her and I expressed the frustration of just wanting to be able to sign fluidly and constantly. I explained how while I binge watched episodes of Switched at Birth I would become frustrated that I was not fully bilingual in ASL. Sydney, my roommate, and I then began to sign as much of our conversation as we could. The other friends that we were with started to become frustrated and a little annoyed. This experience gave me an insight on what it actually means to be deaf and how people who are hearing don’t always understand what it means to be deaf. I think that it is very important to learn how to sign ASL and am excited to continue on my journey.
NEXT WEEK: I will learn how to sign family members.
Another week has gone by and I have officially learned the days of the week and the months of the year. I started off by learning how to sign my name, then the alphabet, and then number 1-20. Last week I decided that it was time to learn the days of the week and the months of the year.
I found that once I wanted to become more advanced the apps that I was previously using to learn the basics (the alphabet and numbers 1-20) just weren’t helpful anymore. I needed to switch to more useful resources such as YouTube. When searching how to sign the days of the week I came across the video, “ASL Days of the Week and Song.” The nice thing about this video is that it is easy to understand and there is a clear explanation of which way your hand is to be positioned and what position your hand should be in.
Learning the days of the week I found easy. I have already mastered the alphabet so the days of the week wasn’t hard for me. See video below for my progress. Although, learning the months of the year was very difficult for me. On YouTube I found the video, “How to Sign Months & January-December – Learn American Sign Language ASL.” The lady in this video knows how to sign and very well. I chose this video because the first run through shows how fluid you should be able to sign and the second run through slows it down so I am able to get the signing down. See the video below for my progress.
This week has been a battle learning the months of the year, but practice will make perfect. Next week I am going to learn my colours and articles of clothing. I want to find other resources to use online rather than just YouTube videos. I want to do some searching and see what I come up with.
Well, here we are! Last week I decided on what I was going to do for my #LearningProject, which lead me to begin learning ASL (American Sign Language). I had already made progress last week by learning basic phrases such as how to introduce myself, and communicate how I was doing. This week I wanted to become fluid with my alphabet gestures and attempt to tackle numbers from 1-20. I must say, practice makes perfect and its not as easy as it seems.
To learn the alphabet, and numbers 1-10 I have been using apps from the App Store such as “ASL”, “SignSchool”, but mostly “The ASL App.” These apps give me pictures and videos to help me see what each letter or number looks like. On the app “The ASL App” I am able to slow down each gesture by clicking on the turtle. This helps me grasp the concept then be able to become more fluid by following the instructor. In order to learn numbers 11-20 I looked to other resources such as YouTube and found a video called, “ASL Numbers 11-20 in Sign Language – Learn how to Sign Numbers.” This video gives you the gestures in which your hand is supposed to be placed then gives you the chance to repeat to make sure you have the gesture down.
This video shows my progress..
As you can see I am still working on becoming faster and being able to transition between each letter and number. I have realized that signing takes time and there are a lot of things to be conscious of while signing. For example, the hand that you are not signing with has to be in a certain position and the way your hand you are signing with has to be facing, either palm out or back of hand out. This can change the context in which you are speaking. I want to continue learning the basics, so next week I plan to learn the days of the week, and the months of the year.