SASL Journal Vol. 1, No. 1 - Page 7

ASL : Access , Benefits , and Quality Rosen
American Sign Language : Access , Benefits , and Quality
Russell S . Rosen CUNY – Staten Island
Abstract
While American Sign Language ( ASL ) is taught as a bona fide language in general education and used as the language of instruction in schools and programs for the deaf , several issues remain regarding the access to , benefits of , and quality of ASL as a language . This article provides an overview of sign language education , reviews studies on the benefits of using ASL as a language for deaf and hearing learners , and discusses current pedagogical and intervention issues . This is followed by discussion on ideas and options to increase access , benefits and quality assurance for ASL in American society .
Introduction
American Sign Language ( ASL ) has reached the 200-year mark . The timing could not be better for reflecting on the history and recent years of sign language use in the United States . Despite interest and enrollment in classes where ASL is taught as a language in general education and used as the language of instruction in schools and programs for the deaf , there are challenges and issues that need to be addressed . ASL has been used within the society of predominantly speaking and hearing people . While a majority of speaking and hearing people could have become signers in addition to being speakers , for now they have not . Despite its documented history and use in the deaf community , ASL has been marginalized in the larger American society . This can be seen in the fact that curriculum , instruction , and assessment remain English-based at schools and programs for deaf and hearing children . This effect suggests that the power of spoken language remains unchecked ( cf . J . H . Cripps & S . Supalla , 2012 ).
While ASL may be taught as part of deaf students ’ learning of scholastic subjects and to meet hearing students ’ foreign language requirement in high schools , colleges , and universities , it has only been one option for the students . Hearing students may choose languages such as Spanish or French over ASL , for instance , and their potential for becoming signers and being able to communicate with deaf people may not be met . Similarly , schools for the deaf may hold out using ASL with deaf students as only one option , and students ’ potential for learning scholastic subjects may also not be met . Such a language situation for deaf and hearing children in schools constitutes the focus for this paper .
This paper seeks to generate a more comprehensive picture on the status of ASL for two groups of learners ( one being deaf and the other hearing ). The scope of ASL within the deaf community dominates the scholarly literature with very little attention to hearing people who sign . Giving these two groups of people a more equitable treatment provides insights and considerations that may be highly valuable . It is also important to keep in mind that deaf children who sign would be learning English as a second language , which has repercussions for their scholastic learning . For instance , reading and writing difficulties with English for deaf children have been reported and must be addressed ( Chamberlain & Mayberry , 2000 ; Hoffmeister & Caldwell-Harris , 2014 ).
The questions for this paper are : 1 ) How accessible is ASL for deaf and hearing learners ?, 2 ) What merits are there in learning and using ASL ?, and 3 ) How effective is the delivery and
SASLJ , Vol . 1 , No . 1 – Fall / Winter 2017 7
ASL: Access, Benefits, and Quality Rosen American Sign Language: Access, Benefits, and Quality Russell S. Rosen CUNY – Staten Island Abstract While American Sign Language (ASL) is taught as a bona fide language in general education and used as the language of instruction in schools and programs for the deaf, several issues remain regarding the access to, benefits of, and quality of ASL as a language. This article provides an overview of sign language education, reviews studies on the benefits of using ASL as a language for deaf and hearing learners, and discusses current pedagogical and intervention issues. This is followed by discussion on ideas and options to increase access, benefits and quality assurance for ASL in American society. Introduction American Sign Language (ASL) has reached the 200-year mark. The timing could not be better for reflecting on the history and recent years of sign language use in the United States. Despite interest and enrollment in classes where ASL is taught as a language in general education and used as the language of instruction in schools and programs for the deaf, there are challenges and issues that need to be addressed. ASL has been used within the society of predominantly speaking and hearing people. While a majority of speaking and hearing people could have become signers in addition to being speakers, for now they have not. Despite its documented his ѽ䁅)͔ѡչ䰁M0́ɝ镐ѡɝȁɥͽ丁Q́)͕ѡЁѡЁɥձմՍѥ͕͵Ёɕ͕͠Ё͍)ɽɅ́ȁɥɕQ́Ё՝́ѡЁѡݕȁՅ)ɕ́չ( ɥ̀LMȤ)]M0䁉х՝Ё́ЁՑϊdɹ͍ѥՉ́Ѽ)ЁɥՑϊdɕՅɕեɕЁ͍̰̰չٕͥѥ̰)́䁉ѥȁѡՑ̸!ɥՑ́䁍͔Յ́Ս́M͠)ȁɕٕȁM0ȁхѡȁѕѥȁͥ́Ѽ)չєݥѠ䁹ЁиMɱ䰁͍́ȁѡ䁡Ёͥ)M0ݥѠՑ́́䁽ѥՑϊdѕѥȁɹ͍ѥՉ)䁅ͼЁиMՍՅͥՅѥȁɥɕ͍́ѥѕ)ѡ́ȁѡ́ȸ)Q́ȁ͕́ѼɅєɔɕͥٔɔѡх́M0ȁݼ)ɽ́ɹ̀ѡѡȁɥQ͍M0ݥѡѡ)չ䁑ѕ́ѡ͍ɱ䁱ѕɅɔݥѠٕ䁱ѱѕѥѼɥݡͥ)٥ѡ͔ݼɽ́ɔեхɕѵЁɽ٥́ͥ́ͥɅѥ)ѡЁ䁉مՅ%Ё́ͼхЁѼѡЁɕݡͥݽձ)ɹ͕́͠Յݡ́ɕɍͥ́ȁѡȁ͍ѥɹ)ȁхɕɥѥձѥ́ݥѠ͠ȁɕٔɕѕ)Ёɕ͕ ɱ5剕䰀!ѕȀ ݕ!ɥ̰Ф)QՕѥ́ȁѡ́ȁɔĤ!܁ͥ́M0ȁɥɹ(Ȥ]Ёɥ́ɔѡɔɹͥM0̤!܁ѥٔ́ѡٕ䁅)MM1(Yİ9ăL]ѕȀ(