Family Signs

For my major project I am moving on from the alphabet (insert slow clap) and onto family signs. So far Bill Vicars is the best teacher I have found. He has many ASL teaching videos on Youtube. I find it amazing how he offers his knowledge to anyone for free. In the video I have imbedded he teaches a student – and in turn, anyone else who watches the video – a 100 basic ASL signs. First they go over them together with the words on the computer screen and then she does it by herself when prompted. I have been taking it slow and repeating the same section over and over so that it hopefully sticks. My plan is to work on a section or two a week. After a day or two of working through the video, I will test myself (probably via flashcards to bring back Old School so it doesn’t feel like I am cheating on it with all of this cool New School internet/technology) and post the video.

Challenges: Now that I have found two sources that I really like, I have encountered other road bumps. For instance, watching these videos almost makes me go crazy because of the lack of verbal cues/sound (disclaimer: the jury is out for the ‘almost’ crazy assessment). I realize that this is a more realistic representation of how someone who is deaf or hard of hearing communicates, but I never realized how much I take hearing for granted. In school, we rely a lot on oral instructions to learn new information and share our ideas. I never viewed oral learning as one of my strengths but after playing this video for a while, I may have to start adding it to my usual “visual learner” self-assessment.

Another issue I am having is that I can’t figure out which hand to sign with. It is supposed to be your dominate hand, yet it feels more natural for me to sign with my left hand. However, if I start signing with my left hand than it gets complicated because most people sign with their right hand and I would have to reverse the signs. I already have troubles with signing things backwards/facing myself instead of outwards to the person I would be communicating with, so I think it is best to keep my right hand dominate. It is a bit confusing to watch someone sign and then repeat the action, but facing them.

Overall, I think I am doing alright. I really enjoyed learning family signs! Any feedback is welcome: How do I compare to the exemplar video? Do I need to slow down or speed up? Is everything clear? Any mistakes noticed? What could I do to create more engaging video? Etc. 🙂

History of Sign Language Basics

References: Deaf Websites; and Talking with Your Hands, Listening with Your Eyes by Gabriel Grayson

Names mentioned (and accidently butchered): Charles Michel De L’Eppe “Father of Sign Language,” Samuel Heinicke (oralism), and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (started ASL in 1800s).

Feedback is welcome! Leave a comment, critique, or an idea of what I should focus on! 🙂

Learning American Sign Language Online Resources

For my major project in ECMP 355 I am going to attempt to cross something off of my bucket list: learning American Sign Language! As a future inclusive educator, a tutor for those with varying abilities, and an employee at Camp Easter Seal in the summers, I feel that sign language is a skill I need to truly include all of my learners. I know that in 50 hours I will not be fluently signing even though I have used the basics at work and have a strong grasp of the English language. There is a common misconception that ASL is simply signing English words and phrases when in fact, an entire new set of grammatical rules governs the language. It takes just as long to master sign language as it does to learn a new language. BUT I am up for the challenge and so far these are the resources that I have found that will assist me on my learning journey:

Start ASL free online classes, resources, dictionary, product reviews, deaf culture information, course search, and workbook.

ASL University videos.

YouTube videos for practice.

Bill Vicars on YouTube

Expertvillage videos on YouTube.

My Smart Hands on YouTube for kids learning ASL.

Deaf Linx

ASL Training Programs

ASL Pro

I am also purchasing this book: Talking with Your Hands, Listening with Your Eyes: A Complete Photographic Guide to American Sign Language by Gabriel Grayson and I have the ASL and LearningSignLanguage applications.

I think I am all set for resources. The biggest challenge will be focusing, directing my own learning, and selecting the right resources. Wish me luck!