American Sign Language course now offered, students benefit

American Sign Language teachers Ms. Maxwell review and act out sign language with her class.

Jaynie Sorenson

American Sign Language teachers Ms. Maxwell review and act out sign language with her class.

Kelsey Hogan, Web Journalist

Dr. Louann Brizendine, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco believes an average woman speaks around 20,000 words in her day, while men speak around 7,000 words in a day.

Communication with speaking is second nature to most people. An average person goes to work or school and talks to their classmates, friends, or colleagues. Whoever it may be, verbal communication, is an easy way to communicate for hearing individuals.

For a deaf individual, their easiest way of communication is sign language. Sign Language is a way of talking with hands and expresions getting messages across without spoken word.

American Sign Language (ASL), is a new class that has been welcomed into the curriculum this year. It teaches  students how to talk with the deaf and how to understand the language more simply.

“Sign Language teaches students about the visual language of the deaf,” said ASL teacher Ms.Maxwell. “This class shows students to get a sense into the deaf community and how to interact with them.”

For many jobs, people speak about situations in different languages. A person may need to know different languages to talk with individuals that may not speak their native language. There are approximately 15 million deaf people currently living in the United States.  About 90 percent of them use sign language.

“I want to be a nurse after I graduate and I felt that Sign Language was a good way to expand my language vocabulary,” said sophomore Khyah Collins. “If I had a patient who was deaf I would be able to communicate with them and make them feel more comfortable.”

This class gives students a chance to learn the language of the deaf community and as well understand their history and culture.

“Deaf is not a disability. It’s not a gift, but it’s their life and it is how they live,” said Collins.

The deaf lifestyle is in some ways different from that of a hearing person. It is seeing the world only through eyes and other senses except hearing. It causes a person to judge and see things from a different view than others do.

“Everywhere you go, you will have an encounter at least once with a deaf person and it will be good to communicate with them because they have a voice too,” said sophomore Cecelia Klee.

So far, the students who have taken the ASL class have found value and enjoyment in it.

This class is different from most foreign language courses. Students take away more than just a new way of communication, but a deeper understanding and appreciation for the deaf world.