FULL COURSE DESCRIPTION
This course covers three different aspects of American Sign Language.
- The first aspect to be covered is an overview of the physical, educational, social, and cultural implications of deafness and hearing loss within an individual’s personal life, within a family unit, within the context of the community, and within society. (ie. CODA)
- The second aspect covers the historical and contemporary perspective of American Deaf Culture. Topics of interest here are cultural identity, core values, group norms, communication, as well as gaining a new perspective on History through the many significant contributions made to the world by deaf people. Past and current events with Deaf Culture will also be discussed and followed closely.
- The third aspect is the language itself. The program covers the basic skills needed in the production and comprehension of American Sign Language (ASL). Gaining an understanding of the differences between ASL and SEE (Signed Exact English), as well as other signed system variations. This section focuses on proper ASL out-put and receptive skills. Throughout the course we will cover the manual alphabet, numbers, handshapes, facial expression, non-manual markers, conversational skills, culturally appropriate behaviors, gesturing, finger-spelling, sounds while signing, and ASL and SEE grammar.
This course will also encompass daily segments related to a belief in God, the creator of life. (ie. Bible verses, song signing, etc.) This segment is non-denominational, and strictly by the Bible.
A student presentation is put on at the end of each class year! This is an opportunity for family members to come together and visually see the progress and growth each student has made throughout the year. Presentations include, but are not limited to, plays, interpretive dance, mime, Deaf storytelling, poetry, signed songs, etc. The programs intention is to really dig into each child’s strengths and allow them some input in the kind of presentation that they would like to share with their family and friends. This class is for the students and as such, they should have a hand in their learning process, through my guidance.
Deaf History & Culture
Students take a journey through a historical timeline, focusing on key people and events within the Deaf community and developing an understand of Deaf culture. They will re-visit many historical events they have already learned about, examining them from a new perspective and gaining an understanding on the many contributions to history made by Deaf individuals.
Students are also presented with weekly articles, written by Deaf people, addressing a variety of specific topics, with an insiders perspective on Deaf culture.
There is a misconception among “hearing” people that ASL is simply English put to hand signs. This could not be further from the truth.
ASL (American Sign Language) is a complete, unique language developed by deaf people, for deaf people and is used in its purest form by people who are Deaf. Being its own language, it not only has its own vocabulary, but also its own grammar that differs from English.
In fact, students who have previously been taught some degree of Signed Exact English (SEE), or pidgin (a blended mix), often have to do some back peddling, and get to a place where they can begin again, from the correct starting point.
This course teaches pure ASL syntax (the language of deaf people), while also giving students the ability to understand and recognize other signed systems, along with the knowledge of each systems historical background.
Daily exercises in this area are vast, to include out-put and receptive skills, the art of fingerspelling, the purpose and proper use of body language and facial expression (NMM), plus so much more!
Conversion of content from one language to another. This requires a great deal of physical and mental dexterity.
In the first year of the program, students are given both English and ASL glossed formats for the conversions of learning materials such as songs, verses, anthems, pledges, prayers, etc. Much discussion occurs on the English meaning, and how that “true meaning” would be represented (converted) in ASL syntax.
In year two, the students are presented English content, and expected to dig deep into the true meaning (according to them), and determine how they personally would convert it into ASL. Life experience, personal reflection, and creativity all play a role is this process. They will also do this same process in reverse, from ASL to English, drawing on their knowledge of the English language to verbalize the correct meaning in the signed content, and voice it with proper tone and emphasis.
Some degree of instruction is covered on the nature and design of GLOSS, however, it is not a staple of the course content.
The students are given 4 different topics to research in each year of the program.
The purpose of these assignments is to dig deeper into the subject matter. To develop research skills by collecting the necessary information, forming the facts as well as their personal thoughts and opinions. They will put information together in an essay paper, alongside a presentation format assigned for each project. Formats are: Poster Board, PowerPoint, Short Film, and a Verbal Speech. Students will be assigned their presentation media rotation format at the first class session. Research findings will be conveyed in both a written and visual presentation. Students are encouraged to have fun with the presentation aspect of these assignments. It is my desire for them to learn to tap into their creative side and brave a unique approach in their presentations.
There is simply no better way to learn any language, than to use it frequently, and preferably with individuals within the culture and with people who the language represents.
When learning other languages, going to Mexico, Germany, or Europe for an entire academic year (while in High School) may not be possible to satisfactorily learn about the language, culture and people.
We have our own local deaf community in the NB, SA, and Surrounding Austin areas! This means that students have monthly opportunities to communicate with deaf individuals, putting into practice what they have learned in the classroom.
Students attend many amazing events and field trips to places such as Texas School for the Deaf, Deaf Awareness Day at Six Flags, and the Good Vibrations Music Festival. Plus, monthly chats with our local deaf community friends!
In ASL I, the students choose a specific children’s book, and set to work, with support and guidance of the instructor and class volunteer, in converting the story, both words and pictures, into ASL, and bringing the book to life.
In ASL II, the special project focus is on Deaf poetry, and examining how things might rhyme through movement, rather than with words. How the movements might flow, skip, climb, climax, and plateau, all through hand signs and body expression, to ensure that the true meaning, the depth within the message, is received on the other end, and induces the correct response from the viewer.
End of Year Presentation
At the end of each academic year, the students enter into a 5 week “collective semester.” During this time, the students gather everything they learned throughout the year, and put it all together into an end of year presentation for family, friends, and the local Deaf community.
This is a production which serves many purposes; Deaf education & awareness, growth & ability to work together as a team unit, fellowship, ministry, praise & worship, language interpretation, public speaking, mime & body expression, confidence & self-esteem building, celebration of a years’ worth of hard work and accomplishments, and LOTS of FUN!
Registration Details For the Next Program Session
2020 – 2021 Academic Year – ASL I
2021 – 2022 Academic Year – ASL II
This is a 2-year commitment program. Courses are taught on a bi-yearly rotation, with ASL I taught the 1st year, and ASL II taught the 2nd year. I no longer teach ASL I & ASL II courses in the same year.
Students in grades 9th – 12th. Students who are in ASL I during their senior year of HS, are able to attend ASL II during their freshmen year of college.
A comprehensive and in-depth study of the language, people, community, and culture that are represented through ASL. While no declaration of faith is required to take this class, it is important to note and understand that this is a faith based and taught class and students will sign Bible verses and faith based songs.
There will be a strong emphasis on ASL vs. SEE, Deaf History & Culture, Output and Receptive Skills, Song Signing, Mime & Poetry, as well as Deaf Story Telling and some Gloss. Occasionally, depending on group strengths / passions, classes will also do interpretive dance or short plays / skits.
Class Day and Time
All classes are held in New Braunfels
Friday’s from 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm, beginning August 28, 2020
Class is geared towards students in high school grade levels, 9th – 12th. I will occasionally make an exception for 8th grade students, after a brief meet & greet with them to determine whether the class content is something they can keep up with. Much of this course is on college level, and for this reason, college level students are also welcome. I often have seniors begin ASL I with me, and complete ASL II their freshman year of college. This is a committed 2-year completion program. Students who enroll, take BOTH ASL I and then ASL II the following year, as the full course is designed to be studied over a 2 year period. At this time, ONLY students who have taken ASL I with me, may enroll in ASL II, as this is a cumulative curriculum which builds upon itself from semester to semester over the 2 year course.
An Open House, Back-To-School Night, will be scheduled within 1 week of the start of each semester. Parents are required to attend the open house with their students. Details will be given at this time in regards to the flow of class study, expectations between students, instructor and parents, list of class supplies and text books, etc. We will also discuss ways in which parents can support students in learning a language which they themselves, do not have knowledge of. This is an opportunity for us, as co-facilitators, to touch base and be up-to-date.
1) Complete the online registration form for each individual student you are enrolling.
2) A non-refundable registration fee of $35.00 per student is due upon completion of the online registration form to ensure your students place within the class.
3) Semester or 1st month’s tuition, is due by August 5, 2020.
4 Attend the back-to-school night open house on August 24, 2020.
PAID IN FULL PAID BY SEMESTER PAID MONTHLY
ASL I $1250.00 $625.00 / Semester $125.00 / Month
ASL II $1250.00 $625.00 / Semester $125.00 / Month
Due by the 5th of each month, or the first class meeting of each month, with the first tuition payment due by August 5, 2020. Tuition is based on a 2 semester rate, not on a “classes per month” rate. The option to make monthly payments is a courtesy offered in faith. The entire class fee for both semesters is divided up over the 10 month course schedule (Aug – May). This means you will pay a tuition payment in August, prior to the start of class, with the 2nd tuition payment due in September. Parents will be required to sign a payment contract, binding their intention to make payments faithfully.
Should a student be un-enrolled from class, for any reason, the remaining tuition still outstanding for that semester of enrollment will be due in full. Monthly payments are a courtesy; tuition is owed on a semester basis. Again, early withdrawal is highly discouraged unless very serious circumstances present, as this is a committed 2 year program.
Late Dues / Online Payment Fees
Late payments accrue at $5.00 weekly, until tuition for the month is paid. $5.00 online payment processing fee. Cash or check preferable.
A discount is given to families whom are enrolling more than one student within the same household. Registration fee still applies for each student. The discount is on tuition only. Please remember that tuition fees include 2.5 hours of in-class instruction per week, and a minimum of 4.5 hours of monthly immersion within the deaf community. This advanced class is much more intensive than a 30 – 60 minute extra-curricular lesson.
ASL I & II Paid Monthly Paid by Semester
Student 1 $125.00 / Month $1250.00 / In Full $125.00 / Month $625.00 / Per Semester
Student 2 $115.00 / Month $1150.00 / In Full $115.00 / Month $575.00 / Per Semester
Student 3 $105.00 / Month $1050.00 / In Full $105.00 / Month $525.00 / Per Semester
Students enrolled within this class are part of a team unit. The class foundation is not structured as each individual student for themselves. Each student holds a great value within the class ‘Team’ and all students will be dependent upon each other’s participation for their own personal growth and development within this class. Being a part of this class is a commitment to oneself and to others. The following virtues will be upheld amongst each other at all times, inside and outside of class: Kindness, friendliness, acceptance, commitment, cooperation, participation, determination, perseverance, encouragement, integrity, preparedness, and unity.
Class Attendance and Punctuality
I understand that there is a great deal of flexibility in the schedules of Home-School students. However, with this kind of language, and the responsibility of each student’s position in the learning process of the class as a whole, it is imperative that students attend scheduled classes and be on time. As much as I try, it is almost impossible for me to be accommodating to every families scheduling needs. Should you have a family circumstance, please communicate with me, so I can make arrangements for your student outside of class, and keep them on track and progressing forward. I am willing and able to help in any way I feasibly can.
Students and parents are expected to check emails on a regular basis, and respond appropriately and respectfully to all inquiries and updates in a timely matter. Students and parents are also welcome to call or text me, as needed.
This is the part of the academic year where the students come together and combine everything they have learned as a whole throughout the school year. Together they “create” a final presentation, for their family members and friends. This portion of the class is vital in the learning process and the interaction of the language and people that they have been learning about. Students are expected to be in attendance for all scheduled rehearsal dates. One student’s absence equals an inability for the other students to properly rehearse.
This is a production put on at the end of each academic year. All students are required to participate. It serves many purposes; Deaf education & awareness, growth & ability to work together as a team unit, fellowship, ministry, praise & worship, language interpretation, public speaking, mime & body expression, confidence & self-esteem building, celebration of a years’ worth of hard work and accomplishments, and LOTS of FUN!
Students are required to attend Deaf Events outside of class. Typically, one event per month. Immersion into the Deaf community is vital for the learning process of this language. A list of optional and required events will be given to students. I will be in attendance at all required events and any students desiring to ride with me may meet at my home prior to leaving for the event. I am also happy to pick students up, if need be. Details will be given in advance.