Take ASL at WSHS

Take ASL at WSHS

Jazmin Velenczei, Web Editor

American Sign Language serves as a predominant sign language of Deaf communities in the United States. It originated in the 19th century in the American School for the Deaf in Connecticut in an attempt to break the language barrier and form new language contact which is when people of two or more languages are able to constructively interact with one another, so both the deaf and hearing communities can connect with each other.

 Since then, the use of ASL has propagated widely by schools for the deaf community and other organizations. The estimated number of American ASL users range from 250,000 to 500,000 persons, including children of deaf adults. Besides North America, the dialects of ASL are used in many other countries in the world, including much of West Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. 

Sponsored by Ms. Holly Hyman, ASL is a club that calls themselves an “ASL family” because “We are more than a club, we are a family.” Their meetings are always random depending on what events they are hosting. Hyman recommends taking ASL because “it is such a fun language to learn and it is more than a language, it is a community.” Ms. Hyman started learning ASL when she was eight years old and became fluent within just a year, but in her opinion, anyone can start taking ASL at any age. For instance, she taught all of her babies ASL. 

To be successful, Ms. Hyman emphasizes that you have to have good hand-eye coordination, thus she teaches her students in a way that makes their coordination better. In class, students do a lot of games and activities, since “the best way of learning is having fun.” Furthermore, she tries to motivate her students by doing “Motivational Mondays” every single Monday which helps them stay motivated in ASL as well as in life. She gives no homework, the only thing that she asks her students to do is to practice their new signs each week. At the nine-week exams, she usually signs words, or a story, then asks questions about deaf culture and history. 

Ms. Hyman started teaching in 2013 and loves her job and students as well. She is incredibly passionate about what she is doing and wants her students to be successful in life.