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College... [Oct. 25th, 2008|06:16 pm]
Deaf Education

deaf_education

[thaichicken]
Hello everybody!

I'm starting to look at colleges, and I'm interested in becoming an ASL teacher. The search/sort services I have been using are really not helpful or particularly useful in determining the differences between schools, or benefits of the different schools, and it's hard to tell which schools even have functional ASL programs. Does anyone have any real-people advice? Thank you! :)


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[User Picture]From: kailen
2008-10-25 10:38 pm (UTC)
Wait...so are you looking at ASL programs or Deaf ed programs? Or both?
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[User Picture]From: slinky_girl
2008-10-25 10:57 pm (UTC)
That's what I was wondering as well. I've never heard of a program specifically for wanting to teach ASL as a class, if that's what you're looking for. In my experiences, ASL teachers weren't people with a specific degree in teaching ASL, but rather native users of the language (ie- they were Deaf).
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[User Picture]From: thaichicken
2008-10-25 11:47 pm (UTC)
I don't know. I don't have a program for it in my high school, but some schools in the area do, and I think all their teachers are hearing. Now that I think about it, I realize that there probably isn't a degree in "ASL teacher", but I want to know where I could go to study ASL and Deaf culture well enough to teach in a high school. I guess that would make more sense to call it a Deaf studies program.
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[User Picture]From: slinky_girl
2008-10-25 11:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, Deaf Studies would be good for that (and again, I highly recommend BU), although keep in mind that to then teach in a high school, for example, you'd have to get a teaching degree for that level.
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[User Picture]From: thaichicken
2008-10-26 12:02 am (UTC)
Of course. Thank you so much!
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[User Picture]From: thaichicken
2008-10-25 11:38 pm (UTC)
Both, I guess. I'm not incredibly well-informed about how things are called. I'm looking for somewhere I can study ASL/Deaf culture, and become a teacher.
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[User Picture]From: kailen
2008-10-26 04:42 am (UTC)
Well, Gallaudet has both ASL and Deaf studies, although they only let in a few hearing students per year. The college I went to for undergrad, College of St Catherine, has a really good ASL/interpreting program. I've heard of quite a few Deaf studies programs, although I can't remember specifically where. I just googled "deaf studies program" and quite a few schools came up. I would agree with slinky_girl though about BU. I've heard lots of good things about their program.
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[User Picture]From: mistakeswemake
2008-10-25 11:08 pm (UTC)
there is an ASL program at Teacher College, but its masters level so that doesn't help if you're about to start undergrad.

Gallaudet has ASL as a major, otherwise I'd suggest majoring in deaf studies or something like that for undergrad and then getting a masters.
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[User Picture]From: jateke
2008-10-26 02:05 pm (UTC)
The American Sign Language Teachers Association, ASLTA, has a list of programs that they recommend for becoming a teacher of ASL. It's a pretty short list, so you may be better off attending a college with a good ASL program (there are lots of those out there; here, for example, is a list of college programs in the Northeast) and a good education program, and working on combining them as a double major or something like that... then attend a graduate program like the ones at Teachers' College or Gallaudet. (If you want to teach hearing students at a public high school, be careful about the education track you take in undergrad--don't major in Special Education or Deaf Ed.)

I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend you not start at Gallaudet, because 1) it can be incredibly alienating to live/work/attend school on that campus without being a fluent signer already, and 2) I'm fairly sure that they would not consider accepting an undergraduate student with little prior knowledge of ASL. (However, as a proud alum of the Deaf Ed graduate program, I do highly recommend Gally for your Master's degree, should you want to pursue one!)

One more recommendation: Please learn a lot about Deaf Culture before you make the final determination to become an ASL teacher. I want you to be prepared for the community resistance you may encounter. I am a CODA (hearing child of Deaf parents), and a native user of ASL. Some Deaf don't believe even *I* have any right to be a teacher of ASL, because I am not Deaf myself.
The field of ASL Education in general is moving in two directions:
1) It's becoming far more culturally sensitive and professionalized, which means a greater emphasis on the teacher's truly proficient/fluent/native use of the language.
2) Its size is exploding as the legitimacy of ASL is recognized across the country, which means a greater emphasis on... well, finding a teacher, any teacher, to fill a space in a school's new or expanding program.

You may find it useful to read over ASLTA's position paper entitled "Guidelines for Hiring ASL Teachers." I thought this section was especially important for you to know about: Normally it takes a minimum of 5 years of intensive language study and immersion for any person to develop "advanced" levels of proficiency. No one who has had only a few ASL classes and limited experience in the Deaf community should consider teaching ASL to others. Take that word "intensive" seriously. My husband spent nine years learning ASL, two of them in an immersive situation on the Gallaudet campus, before he felt ready to call himself fluent in the language.
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[User Picture]From: thaichicken
2008-10-26 07:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you. That was really helpful. I definitely believe that there is a bigger emphasis on fluency and knowledge of culture and those things. I will take that into consideration. :) Have a good week!
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[User Picture]From: da5hb0ardm3g
2008-10-26 07:56 pm (UTC)
I'm also looking into BU for my Master's in Deaf Ed and I've heard nothing but good things for all their programs :)
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