Program DescriptionThe M.A. program in the Teaching of American Sign Language (ASL) as a Foreign Language provides students with foundations in linguistics and applied linguistics; anthropology; sociolinguistics; social and cognitive psychology; academic assessment, second language instructional design, curriculum development, and assessment; and research methodology, as they pertain to the language, community, and culture of persons who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
ASL is a naturally developing language of Deaf and many hard of hearing people in the United States, possessing a linguistic system with its own phonological, morphological, syntactic, and discourse structures that are distinct from English language. ASL users have developed a literary tradition in oratory, folklore, and performance art, all recorded either in print or in permanent media like film and video. The American Deaf community of persons, groups, and organizations provides the basis for cultural identity and group cohesion for about one million Deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing individuals, who share a set of characteristics that bind them together, such as knowledge of ASL and traditions for social behavior.
ASL has been afforded the status of a foreign language, and it can be pedagogically appro-ached with individuals unfamiliar with it in a manner similar to other foreign languages. Students in the program will be practiced in curriculum design and execution in general and the curriculum principles found in Modern Languages for Communication as a model. Students will be prepared to become professionals who approach the profession of teaching ASL as a foreign language in a highly scholarly manner and as a contextualized, investigatory, cultural, and problem-solving event with learners who typically have hearing, are in regular education programs and possess a wide range of cognitive, social, and academic abilities and diverse cultural backgrounds. They will be able to consume, apply, and generate research on the instructional process as presented formally within journals and texts on the teaching of ASL and other second languages, communication skills, Deaf studies, curriculum design, and the cognitive, social and affective development of the learner.