The End of My ASL Journey
Here is the day we’ve all been waiting for… the day I stop tweeting constantly about ASL. For my EDTC300 class this semester I was tasked with taking my learning into my own hands and teaching myself something new. I could’ve picked anything really, but I chose to learn American Sign Language.
ASL or American Sign Language is a physical and visual language used by deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people to communicate. I’ve always had an interest in languages, and when I was presented with this opportunity I knew that I wanted to learn a new one. I ultimately chose ASL.
I’m sure you’re wondering how this whole ‘learning a language in ten weeks’ challenge turned out. I can honestly say that it taught me skills I never even dreamed of. Not only did I learn the basics of a whole new language, but I created a community for myself that helps to widen my perspective on life. My new internet resources and friends allow me to see the world in a different way. My #LearningProject was a nice break from the traditional homework I was used to.
This life-changing experience took me on a roller-coaster of a ride. There were highs and lows and I can’t wait for you to explore each of my posts, but if you want the quick version – check out the recap below!
*But if you want the fun version check out my YouTube Channel where I posted videos each week throughout my #LearningProject
10 Weeks in Recap
- This is where I figured out what I was getting myself into
- I set goals for myself and predicted the future of this project
- I also challenged myself to make weekly videos to showcase my learning
- My first official week of learning
- I learned the alphabet and counting – which made me feel like I was in kindergarten
- All I can say is it was a steep learning curve
- I finally began to feel comfortable with signing… and filming
- Found resources on YouTube that I could use continuously
- I started to get into a routine
- My family started taking my quest to learn ASL seriously and joined me.
- I made it a priority to modernize the information I was taking in by expanding past the stereotypical nuclear family
- I discovered my very first sign dictionary Spread the Sign
- Halfway through my ASL journey, and I could feel my motivation slipping
- I came across some inspiring content on YouTube
- My PLN on Twitter began to grow to expand the ASL community
- I couldn’t decide if I should learn weather vocab or food vocab… so I learned both
- I learned ASL does not follow English syntax
- This still blows my mind!
- I was getting so bored of my routine that I created my own challenge.
- The challenge allowed me to get creative in my recording and my learning
- I felt as if my Pinterest was being ignored, so I decided to incorporate it
- I found a fellow ASL learner and paired up with her
- Regan Luypaert and I had an ASL conversation – my first ASL interaction!
- All I can say is go watch the video!
- I did two videos just because…
- I finally learned some internet slang – maybe I was waiting for it this whole time
- I discovered Nyle Dimarco
- My final post consisted of me learning a song in sign language
- I made a video to prove it
- I can’t wait to make more after this project is done
How I Learned
Learning from the internet is no easy feat. When left to your own devices it’s hard to know where to start. Luckily the internet is full of resources needed to learn anything.
I used YouTube channels such as:
- ASL That
- Ashley Clark Fry
- AASD Accessible Materials Project
- FUNTASTIC TV – Kids Songs and Nursery Rhymes
- Smart Hands
- Nyle Dimarco
I then used apps like:
I also learned from websites
Showcasing My Learning
At the beginning of my #LearningProject I challenged myself to post a video every week. I never realized how difficult and testing this goal would be. The process of learning, filming, editing, and uploading is a long and painful process that really tested me this semester. Even though I love the process when in times of stress it really caused me to learn how to prioritize my time in order to successfully meet my goal.
Luckily, I was familiar with YouTube as I’d already created a channel and posted past school assignments online. I had a desire to film and post about my life, and doing it under the pressure of my #LearningProject was just what I needed to become familiar with the process.
Continuing to post about my life via videos and vlogs is something I definitely plan to continue with after this project.
Go check out my YouTube channel Hayley Hodson in order to see my growth not only in ASL but also in my video skills. I can see that I have significantly improved throughout the 10 weeks in the aesthetic and editing skills of my videos as well as in Sign Language.
The Benefits of Learning ASL
I did not pick to learn ASL because it was easy. I didn’t pick it because it is popular. I didn’t pick it because I thought it would give me the best grade. I chose to learn ASL because I truly love languages of any kind. ASL is just a different way of communicating that I hope to continue learning about.
Unlike spoken language, visual languages such as ASL are often the minority. In the past, they have been isolated and oppressed and made to feel unwanted. In order to reverse this – we, the hearing, speaking, population – must reach out in a language that both hearing and hearing impaired can use. Sign Language.
According to the Canadian Association of the Deaf, there are about 357,000 culturally Deaf Canadians and about 3.21 million hard of hearing Canadians. That is a huge population of people that are isolated and unable to communicate effectively with hearing people like me. I plan to learn Sign Language in order to open the lines of communication between the hearing and non-hearing.
This is not the end of my learning journey. Although my #LearningProject ends after ten weeks, I still plan to continue learning ASL. These last ten weeks are just the beginning. I have been able to build a solid foundation of knowledge and resources that enable me to continue my learning journey. Learning American Sign Language will be a lifelong commitment that I plan to see through.
Learning a language is not easy, but when provided with materials, resources, and a PLN anything is possible.
A culture lives through its language, and American Sign Language is no different. The language is more than just a means of communication, it is a way of life. By learning ASL I inadvertently connected to a new culture and see the world through a different lens. Although I do not rely on ASL as a means for communication, and will never truly understand what it means to be deaf or hard of hearing, the language gives me a better understanding of how these people live their lives.
Languages have always intrigued me one way or another. The ability for communication to embody an entire culture draws me in. You cannot have a language without a culture nor a culture without a language, they are such integral parts of each other and come hand in hand to new learners such as myself. Learning Sign Language has introduced me to a culture who’s stories have been shoved aside. I hope to bring recognition to the culture and language of deaf and hard of hearing people as well a learn the language.
I may not be good enough to fully communicate with another signer, but I plan to work on my skills. I recognize this as a lifelong journey in learning a second language, and I hope I can spend the rest of my life improving my signing. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn with motivation from my classmates.
My #LearningProject has come to a close, but I am not.