Family Signs

For my major project I am moving on from the alphabet (insert slow clap) and onto family signs. So far Bill Vicars is the best teacher I have found. He has many ASL teaching videos on Youtube. I find it amazing how he offers his knowledge to anyone for free. In the video I have imbedded he teaches a student – and in turn, anyone else who watches the video – a 100 basic ASL signs. First they go over them together with the words on the computer screen and then she does it by herself when prompted. I have been taking it slow and repeating the same section over and over so that it hopefully sticks. My plan is to work on a section or two a week. After a day or two of working through the video, I will test myself (probably via flashcards to bring back Old School so it doesn’t feel like I am cheating on it with all of this cool New School internet/technology) and post the video.

Challenges: Now that I have found two sources that I really like, I have encountered other road bumps. For instance, watching these videos almost makes me go crazy because of the lack of verbal cues/sound (disclaimer: the jury is out for the ‘almost’ crazy assessment). I realize that this is a more realistic representation of how someone who is deaf or hard of hearing communicates, but I never realized how much I take hearing for granted. In school, we rely a lot on oral instructions to learn new information and share our ideas. I never viewed oral learning as one of my strengths but after playing this video for a while, I may have to start adding it to my usual “visual learner” self-assessment.

Another issue I am having is that I can’t figure out which hand to sign with. It is supposed to be your dominate hand, yet it feels more natural for me to sign with my left hand. However, if I start signing with my left hand than it gets complicated because most people sign with their right hand and I would have to reverse the signs. I already have troubles with signing things backwards/facing myself instead of outwards to the person I would be communicating with, so I think it is best to keep my right hand dominate. It is a bit confusing to watch someone sign and then repeat the action, but facing them.

Overall, I think I am doing alright. I really enjoyed learning family signs! Any feedback is welcome: How do I compare to the exemplar video? Do I need to slow down or speed up? Is everything clear? Any mistakes noticed? What could I do to create more engaging video? Etc. 🙂

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