Look at all of the things I have learned!
My goodness. Who can believe that the end has finally arrived? It is certainly a surreal feeling knowing that I am done my university career! this semester has been full of so many different opportunities, both in learning and in life. When I signed up to take EDTC 300, I had no idea what I was in for. Definitely learning about technology (obviously) however, I was not expecting to be given the opportunity to learn…well…ANYTHING! The #LearningProject assignment was an amazing opportunity for me to take on the challenge of learning a skill that I have been wanting to learn for a very long time: American Sign Language. Before I embarked on this learning journey, the initial spark for wanting to learn ASL was honestly mere curiosity. Yes, it was a useful skill, but I don’t think I understood the full value of it until I began to build my vocabulary and found myself learning more than just the alphabet, but instead learning about a whole other layer to the world where the Deaf community thrives and intertwines with the hearing communities around the world.
Now skill wise, over the past thirteen weeks, I have definitely seen growth in terms of what I can do. Not only do I know my alphabet, numbers, colours, etc. but I am also able to apply that vocabulary in various situations such as in the classroom or in the kitchen (which was one of my favourite blogs to post). These skills are valuable in so many ways, both professionally and personally. I have the basic ability to recognize certain signs and could (potentially) piece together a small conversation with someone of the Deaf community. Now, while I did not meet my original goal of being able to sign a “paragraph” (which would require a few more skills, of which I am still developing), I have still seen a tremendous amount of growth throughout the semester from the first post to the last, which can be seen below:
- From the Bottom Up: Day One of my #LearningProject
- #LearningProject Update: Learning My ABC’s and My 1-2-3’s
- Video+Blogging=Vlogging! My #LearningProject Update
- Sunshine and Sign: My #LearningProject Midterm Self-Reflection (Two weeks combined)
- A Day in the Life of Me: Sign Edition
- More Than Simply Gestures and Signs: A Look into Deaf Culture
- All Signs Lead to Home: Learn With Me
- Signing + Baking = Delicious Learning
- Sign in School, Kids: ASL School Vocabulary
Learning online has been a very interesting experience with some good and some bad attributes. I’ve been able to explore learning ASL in several different ways through Youtube videos (See post #2 for an example), using online sign language dictionaries such as SigningSavvy.com and through guided classes, which were my main resource, at SignLanguage101. Each resources proved to be very valuable, but I think the best way to learn something of this nature is to immerse yourself in it. There is only so much that a book or a video can teach you and so to truly get the full experience, engage in conversation with someone who signs; try to sign on a daily basis; teach someone else how to sign (I tried to teach my mom the alphabet. It was interesting to say the least). Doing it repeatedly and on a consistent basis is going to get you the best and most effective results.
This is something that I hope to continue learning and developing beyond this project and this class. We live in a world that is continuously striving to be more inclusive and as a teacher, I want to make my classroom an environment where everyone is able to learn and communicate to form those bonds with their peers. That should never exclude anyone and so I hope that some day, if I ever have the joy of welcoming a Deaf student or parent into my classroom, I can make them feel welcomed and valued. Have I become fluent in the language? Not by a long shot. But that does not mean that the journey ends here. Who knows what will happen in the future.
*A HUGE thank you to my colleagues and fellow classmates for their encouraging words and support through commenting on my blog posts and sharing resources. It has made this whole experience much more enjoyable to know that there were people struggling right alongside me and who were willing to help. I have appreciated all forms of feedback!