Karen's FAQs

1) How can I get college credit?

Since I use the same textbooks as most college and university ASL programs, your son/daughter can take a placement test at the school he/she plans to attend . He/she must be enrolled in the college or university to take the test. The schools do the testing and grading. If your son/daughter's university does not offer the test, he/she could temporarily enroll in a Community College, take the test, and have it transferred to the University.

2) Are your age limits 'set in stone'?

ELEMENTARY ASL - Yes, it's set in stone. They need to be at least age 6 years old because they will need to know how to spell. Students 13 and older are maturely ready for the ASL I, ASL II, and ASL III Classes.

ASL I, ASL II & ASL III - Yes, for the most part. I do make some exceptions, but that is very rare. The students need to be ready to do 2 hours of homework a week. Most children under the age of 13 are generally not mature enough to do the required homework.

3) When can I register?

The sooner, the better. I have a cap on the number of students permitted in the classes. A student is not registered until I receive the Registration Form, the Registration Fee (if applies) and the 1st Month's Tuition.

4) Where do I purchase the textbooks?

The ELEMENTARY ASL Class does not have a textbook; rather, I design my own worksheets for which I charge a small Supply Fee.

For ASL I, you can order the materials through me or find them on the internet. If you order through me, I must have your payment by the first day of class. I order directly from the publisher. Once I receive the materials, I will bring them to class.

ASL II and ASL III classes do not have textbooks; rather, I will provide the curriculum via DVD during class.

5) What age must my child be to earn high school foreign language credit?

Both 7th and 8th grade students can earn high school foreign language credits because the curriculum I use is a high school curriculum.

6) What is the maximum number of students per class?

ELEMENTARY ASL - 16 students
ASL I - 26 students
ASL II - 26 students
ASL III - 26 students

I know this may sound like a lot of students, but it doesn't feel like it to me. Please remember I used to teach public school.

7) Can parents take the class for a discount?

Yes, parents can take ASL I, ASL II, or ASL III at the same rate as a second child/student.

8) Do you offer tutoring or semi-private classes?

No, I'm not offering that right now.  Please Email me to let me know that you are interested. That way, if I have time later, or if I know of someone else who could tutor you, I will contact you..

9) How do I become a certified interpreter?

You first begin by learning ASL. You can learn through coursework (such as my classes) and in interacting with the Deaf Community. I frequently attend Deaf Events for my personal interest and so I can introduce my students to some Deaf people in the community.

Interpreting is a different skill than signing. Therefore, I provide some interpreting training in my ASL I and ASL II Classes. Additional Interpreting Training can be provided at colleges and universities that offer Interpreter Training Programs.

Once one feels confident in his/her signing and interpreting skills (definitely after taking at least two years of coursework and/or spending a lot of time interacting with the Deaf), he/she applies for the Certification with the State. You contact the Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. Their website is http://www.tcdhh.state.tx.us

10) What are some differences between Signed English and ASL? Why should I learn ASL instead of Signed English?

Signed English was developed by "hearing" people to help Deaf students learn English. It is primarily used in the classroom. Signed English follows similar grammar as spoken English. In addition, additional signs are added to follow the patterns of English (such as "ing","ed" and "s"). SE does not use a lot of facial expressions and body language.

ASL, on the other hand, was developed by the Deaf Community. It has it's own syntax and grammar which is totally different than English. Although a Deaf student will experience Signed English in the classroom, he/she will often switch back to the preferred mode of ASL when signing to friends. ASL is very expressive. Some words are not even signed, but rather are expressed through the face and body.

Examples of Signed English and ASL:
SE - "Why did you go?"
ASL - "You go finish, why?"

If you want to befriend and minister to the Deaf Community, it is wisest to learn ASL. More people will understand you. Although they might have grown up seeing Signed English in the classroom, some don't understand it. Signed English is a language form imposed on them.

If you learn Signed English and later choose to learn ASL, it will be a lot harder for you than if you learned ASL first.  You, as a hearing person, naturally think English, therefore, you can always learn Signed English later if you want. The only reason to learn SE is if you were a Deaf Ed Teacher and you believed the philosophy that SE helps the Deaf learn English.

11) Can't I just learn sign language through a book?

No, for several reasons.

First, sign language is a 3-D visual language. It's impossible to print something 3-D. Sign language books and dictionaries are a good tool to help refresh your memory how to sign something, but it is not the way to learn it. You need to see it visually to learn it.

Second, since sign language is a 3-D visual language, you need someone to watch your hands to see if you are signing it correctly.

Third, most sign language books are dictionaries, so you are only learning single vocabulary words. You're not learning how to put the signs together in a sentence. Some books teach some ASL grammar rules, but the best way to learn grammar is through watching someone sign (either watching a teacher or interacting with the Deaf community).

Fourth, immersion is the best way to learn. That is why I structure my classes as I do - we sign most of the period. I sign to the students, they sign to me, and they sign to one another. I also use DVD's so the students are exposed to other people signing, not just me. There are accents in signing, just like we hearing people have accents in our voices.



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