ASL IMMERSION POLICY:
Voicing in class or virtual class has always been a sensitive subject for the ASL student and instructor, especially if either is Deaf. Human languages take place through three modes: speaking, signing and writing. ASL, as such, takes place through the mode of signing.
ASL, as a visual/gestural language, is best improved by using and refining skills using your hands, face, body, eyes, and space. The use of spoken language in the classroom and zoom session is to be avoided in order to encourage and foster the development of signing skills. Expect to start class each day in Immersion “mode”. The ability to “listen with your eyes” is paramount. Research has shown that immersion is the most effective method for language learning.
By incorporating visual means in communicating with each other, even in attention-getting, you allow for the classroom to be universally accessible for everybody in the class, including your Deaf instructor. Using your voice to communicate with each other, even in getting another person’s attention, immediately shuns your Deaf instructor and any Deaf people. Some students may feel that their peers are not “catching on,” and may feel the need to voice in order to help them. This approach simply does not work. Such students will become dependent on other students’ voicing in order to succeed in class and this is anathema to the concept of learning ASL. Voicing in class also takes away from the rich learning experience that I attempt to foster in the classroom environment, for you and for your fellow classmates.
Those who continue to communicate via voicing, during class or online, may be asked to meet with parents, counselor and myself. Students that are caught voicing during any quizzes, exams or presentations will receive an automatic “zero” for that assignment and disciplinary action will be taken.
Any time you have a question regarding sign language and/or an aspect of the Deaf Community, or culture, please feel free to bring it up in the class. It is my opinion that there is no such thing as a “stupid” or “unimportant” question- as a matter of fact, I believe that for every question asked, there are 9 unasked questions!!!