VLOG: 5 Resolutions to Practice and Improve Your ASL!
August 20, 2019
Hello! Happy Monday. Today, it’s still the beginning of the year and many people have been asking me about learning ASL: Their goal is to really become a skilled, fluent signer, but they don’t really know how to move forward! So, all situations are different — different situations, experiences, areas, the availability of classes varies, I understand. Today, I want to offer a few different suggested goals for you to help you learn ASL, depending on your current situation. Number one: If fingerspelling is challenging, I suggest that you fingerspell all day, everyday! When you go out — maybe you’re commuting, just look around! Maybe you see signs for stores or restaurants… so THAT! While you’re looking around, fingerspell! You don’t need to lift your hand and fingerspell up high for everyone. While your hands are moving to your sides, just kind of move the fingers, practice going from letter letter — it just looks like you’re fidgeting or moving, but you can be fingerspelling. It’s good practice — a good opportunity to see new words and practice making the fingerspelling smooth. Number 2: If you’re more advanced (or even not), I suggest that your 2017 goal is: once a month, go to a Deaf event! Meet people, socialize. Maybe you live near city that has different kinds of Deaf theatre, different opportunities for you to go. So look for opportunities to meet and see real Deaf signers. That’s the way that you truly improve, and it helps you build confidence! Number 3: Every day, watch Deaf signers. How? There are many different Deaf news shows online; you can watch those! For example: DTV has a news show. There’s another called “TRU BIZ”. And another: The Daily Moth, and all have different videos everyday describing recent events — the Deaf community yes, but also the hearing world – just normal everyday news, so it’s a good opportunity because all those videos are signed in ASL so you can watch and try to understand. If you understand, great! If you don’t follow, that’s fine, too. They’ll have closed captions so you can read the captions and match to the signs to learn and improve. Number 4: Plan to study more in-depth and immerse yourself in Deaf history and cultural studies. You can do this through books, DVDs, there are lot of great resources that you can read and watch to learn about — not only learn the language but also about the people who *use* ASL — that’s important, too! If you’re curious, if you want to get started, my website at ASLMeredith.com has a page with resources for you, so you can check that out and see if there’s anything you want to learn there! For example, here are a few books: Just a few — there are many books, DVDs, and so on that can help you, so I strongly suggest that your 2017 goal is to read, watch, and learn. Number 5: Join a class! If you haven’t yet joined a class, I suggest that you try. I understand that not all areas have classes available, but my goal for you is to at least LOOK. Maybe a city near you has a college that teaches ASL, or maybe there’s a Deaf school. If it’s an elementary, middle, high school, college… doesn’t matter! Maybe they have classes that you can join — even night classes, they might be four children or for adults, too. OR, you can ask there — they might have teachers that offer private lessons and private classes. Plus, a few areas have ASL-specific schools, so I suggest that you research your area; look and ask around, and try to find a class or private teacher for you. Really, a class is the best way to learn, for two reasons: One is the interaction component; you’re actually with other students and the teacher, so you’re socializing, communicating, having conversations back and forth using ASL. You’re not just watching and mimicking; instead, you actually have interactions back and forth! Plus, secondly, the teacher can give feedback! So you WILL improve. So again, let’s go over those five: First, fingerspell all day, everyday, and everywhere. Second, once a month, find a Deaf event and go. Third, watch Deaf news; try to understand the signing. Four, read books and watch DVDs to help learn ASL and Deaf history and culture. Number five, look for a class you can join! Those are all good ways to practice and really take your ASL studies to the next level, take a little more seriously. Thanks for watching! And if you follow or try out at least one or two of those, please let me know!! Let me know how everything goes — I’m excited for you and I want to learn how everything works out. Thanks for watching!