Communication Sciences and Disorders 221
COSD 221: Introduction to American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Culture
Credit Hours: (3)
Introduces students to American Sign Language and to the culture and literature of the deaf community.
Detailed Description of the Content of the Course
COSD 221 represents the first semester of a four-semester sequence and serves as an introduction to American Sign Language and Deaf culture, including both visual literature (ASL) and written literature (English) authored by members of the Deaf culture. Students study and practice basic ASL vocabulary, syntax, and pragmatic language skills. This course emphasizes the learning of basic person-to-person (i.e. “through the air”) conversational signing skills in ASL, including use and comprehension of ASL vocabulary, syntax, pragmatics, and fingerspelling. The course also explores multicultural issues, linguistic code-switching, and language dominance in Deaf education.
Detailed Description of Conduct of Course
This course is taught primarily in ASL (“voice off”), using written, rather than spoken English as needed. ASL syntax, grammar, and vocabulary are studied via lecture and supplemented with videorecordings of fluent ASL signers. Students work in small groups to complete structured practice exercises guided by the instructor. Skill generalization is facilitated through natural conversation requiring spontaneous and contingent responses, and moreover, the use of expressive and receptive ASL clarification strategies. Increasingly, students are expected to rely wholly on ASL communication, and effective use of communication repair strategies as the course progresses. Multicultural issues, linguistic code-switching, and language dominance in Deaf education are studied via assigned readings, lecture, and discussion, drawing upon the scholarly literature and on visual literature (ASL) and written literature (English) authored by members of the Deaf culture. Students attend Silent Gatherings that promote maximum interaction with the Deaf community and facilitate understanding of the dynamic language, culture, and multicultural issues alive in the Deaf community today.
Goals and Objectives of the Course
Goals, objectives, and assignments in this class address NCATE Standard 1b/ Pedagogical Content Knowledge and 1c / Skills Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills, the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Knowledge and Skill Standards, the Council on Education of the Deaf, and the Virginia Department of Education teacher licensure competencies. Code for CEC/CED Standards: CC = Common Core and DH = Deaf and Hard of Hearing; Code for VADOE Standards: VHI = Virginia’s Hearing Impairments PreK-12 and VPS = Virginia’s Professional Studies.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Develop initial proficiency in the language used to teach individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and master sufficient ASL conversational skills and vocabulary to effectively communicate with members of the Deaf community in the United States (DH1S2, VHI8).
2. Develop and enrich cultural competency relative to the deaf community and demonstrate awareness of dynamic language, culture, and multicultural issues alive in the Deaf community today (DH1S2).
3. Participate in an academic exploration of multicultural issues, linguistic
code-switching, and language dominance as it relates to spoken languages in general (DH1S2).
Assessment measures may include class participation, announced and unannounced quizzes, in-class exams, and student presentations completed in ASL, conversational assignments completed in and outside the class, a research paper or academic essay on the language, culture, and and/or literature of the Deaf community. Exams may include interpretation of ASL presented live or on videotape, expressive signing exercises, and objective, written questions. A final comprehensive exam, which may include an ASL component and a written English component, is administered.
Other Course Information
Videotaped material will be made available to students for viewing on their own time for additional practice in comprehending sign language.
Review and Approval
Revised June, 2009