This last semester, I had the pleasure of taking the class English 313, Advanced Writing for Elementary Education majors. I recommend this class highly, although it is not a required class for the major. In this class, we not only learned about writing well enough to publish, but also about helping students develop a love of learning. Our projects included a reading/writing lesson plan, a research paper concerning some aspect of language arts, and a resume for a future teaching job–all very useful for the future. In addition, the teacher scheduled conferences with each of us so she could give individual attention to our projects and help us correct anything needing alterations.
For my research paper, I had the idea of incorporating American Sign Language (ASL) into an English classroom. I have taken ASL 101 and 102, and I loved them so much that I had the idea of incorporating ASL into my future classroom. However, I found as I was doing research that there was no research on this, but that the big issue surrounding ASL students is teaching deaf children English.I had never thought about it before, but as English and ASL are two very different languages, deaf children have to be taught English when they enter school. This proves much more difficult than it sounds. For one thing, English is mainly a spoken language which makes it hard for deaf children who can’t hear it and only encounter it in writing. For another, it’s hard to learn a second language when you don’t have a developed first language. Since most deaf children have hearing parents, they often don’t have as developed skills in ASL as they should.
This subject fascinates me. I love the idea of teaching elementary-age children, but the idea of teaching deaf elementary school children English attracts me even more. However, I would have to become fluent in ASL, which is easier said than done, especially since the classes are 4 credits and I can’t fit that into my schedule. For now, I am just going to work on getting my degree in Elementary Education and then proceeding to get another degree in deaf education from another college. I will keep you all updated on how things work out for me. Is there some area of education that you are passionate about that you are excited to teach? I would love to hear from you!