SASL Journal Vol. 1, No. 1 - Page 21

ASL: Access, Benefits, and Quality Rosen professional), based on degrees earned, experiences teaching ASL, workshops attended, and development of lesson plans, from the American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA, 2016), a leading national credentialing organization of teachers of ASL. The teachers also varied in completed coursework and workshops. Nationally, most teachers took courses in deaf community and culture, but less than a half of the teachers took courses in the linguistics of ASL, second language acquisition, and methods and materials at credit-bearing colleges and universities. In addition, most teachers took non-credit-bearing workshops, which were often given at ASLTA conferences, in Deaf and ASL arts and literature, second language acquisition, and methods and materials in teaching ASL. The Rosen study includes anecdotal evidence that pointed to variations in signing quality among ASL teachers. Regarding teachers of ASL in higher education institutions, there is little information on teacher preparation and qualifications. Cooper, Reisman, & Watson (2008) only provided the highest degree that was received by teachers of ASL. Cooper et al. (2008) reported that as of 2004, 11.6% of the ASL teachers possessed an associate degree, 34.2% held a bachelor’s degree, 46.1% held a master’s degree, and 8.1% held a doctoral degree. Newell (1995a) looked into the degrees and years of experience and whether they held certification from ASLTA. However, this study provided figures for all ASL teachers regardless of whether they teach in high schools or in colleges and universities. There are studies on desired, but not actual, skills and qualifications for ASL teachers such as by Newell (1995b) and Cooper et al. (2008, 2011). However, this information is beyond the scope of this section. The discussion in this section has focused on ASL teaching in the classrooms of deaf and hearing students. Very little information is available on how hearing parents with deaf children are provided with sign language services. Home visits are a common feature for helping parents cope with the changes taking place in their homes, but how ASL teaching can be integrated into the home visits is not known. Anecdotally, some hearing parents take sign language classes at local colleges and universities, for instance, but there is no known study following their progress in becoming fluent signers. There are also some questions about how suitable the conventional ASL classes are for these parents. The parents would want to learn and use ASL, particularly in vocabulary and conversational grammar, for use with their deaf children. It is not clear whether the parents find attending conventional ASL classes to be satisfactory concerning their needs for parenting and communicating with their deaf children. Curriculum and Instruction The impact of training and quality control for teachers working with deaf and hearing students is examined here. Both curriculum and instructional concerns can be applied to the teaching of ASL as a language. Curriculum for ASL as a first language. The curricular materials that are used by teachers of the deaf who use ASL in classrooms at schools for the deaf are predicated by the standards and requirements established by state education departments and local school districts. They cover academic subjects such as English literacy, math, science, and social studies. Unfortunately, in contrast to the offering of English at schools of the deaf, few schools for the deaf provide ASL as an academic subject for deaf children. Part of this can be attributed to how teachers typically focus on English even though ASL needs to be included in the picture, especially in terms of establishing a connection between the two languages. SASLJ, Vol. 1, No. 1 – Fall/Winter 2017 21