American Sign Language Immersion Experience, Part 1 of …
It has been a long time since you have heard from me, here. I will not give any excuses, other than to say it is time for me to share more through this blog.
Just because I have been silent here on the blog, you should know my God is far from silent. In fact, He is on the move, again!
Much has happened since I last shared here. I will be bringing you up-to-date on those changes and opportunities in the next few blog posts. I will start by sharing a Facebook post I shared over this past weekend.
This new blog-series is entitled, “ASL Immersion Experience” and I will share about the creation of this new adventure and opportunity as it grows. Your prayers for God’s clear leading each step of the way is coveted!
ASL Immersion Experience, Part 1 of …
Immersion…what does it mean, really?
In our country, immersion most often means the learning of a 2nd language and culture in the confines of a classroom setting.
I find that very limiting. Not only is the classroom experience different from a real-world experience, it often is not applicable to the every day.
Only those truly serious about learning another language and culture go to the extent of traveling to the country where that language is spoken. To live among people who only speak that language.
In college, our daughter spent 6 weeks in Costa Rica for such an experience. She lived in a host home with a family who did not speak English and she attended classes taught by only speakers of that language. She was forced to learn their language to communicate with them.
American Sign Language (ASL) is rarely experienced fully in an environment where only ASL is used. Even ASL programs that say they are “immersion experiences” still rely on fingerspelling of English words for communication, often. In fact, they still utilize English as the foundation for their teaching, connecting sign vocabulary with English words and so on.
According to the National Science Foundation, American Sign Language is recognized as a true and living language, with its own syntax, morphology and structure.
Why not treat it as such and teach it as such?
Hearing families desiring to learn ASL to communicate with their deaf children find it extremely difficult to learn ASL which meets their need to communicate with them. I believe it is because they are never given the opportunity to learn ASL completely disconnected from English, at least in part.
English has become a hindrance to learning ASL. Educators have maintained the teaching of ASL connected to English, instead of teaching it dependent on itself, alone. The blurred lines between these two, very different languages, have limited the ability to grasp ASL, in its entirety. Learning another language in part, is really never learning it at all and never being able to better identify and communicate with those who use it.
ASL Immersion, no English…