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American Sign Language Program Development:
ASL curriculum and ASL course design considerations
Dr. Bill, can you help me develop an ASL course?
1. Decide on your audience: Adults? Young children? Teenagers?
Each group benefits from a different type of curriculum and approach.
2. Decide on your format:
In person? Online? Hybrid?
3. Consider your resources:
Do you have access to classrooms?
Do you have access to an online learning management system (LMS) or course management system?
Do you have the ability to make use of SCORM - based or other online quizzes? (If you don't know what SCORM means, it would be a good idea to look it up).
Do you have access to qualified, skilled, experienced teachers who are familiar with local signing variations, culture, and organizational structures?
4. Consider yourself:
Are you Deaf?
If you are not Deaf why are you involving yourself in the teaching of sign language?
Are you displacing a Deaf person who could teach sign language in your location?
If you are not Deaf and are doing this for money -- you may need to self-introspect and research the meaning of terms such as:
"audism" (yes, that is spelled correctly)
Do you have a native or near-native fluency in sign language? Can you successfully engaged in numerous long conversations with native Deaf signers regarding a wide variety of topics?
If you decide to proceed with developing sign language courses for your area an approach is:
Research language trends in your location and develop a list of 1,200 concepts (not words but concepts) that are most frequently used in your location.
Sort those concepts into order starting with the most frequently used to the least frequently used.
Develop a series of lessons generally focused on asking questions using those concepts.
Develop approximately 10 questions per each hour of lesson material you wish to cover.
Sign Language Level 1 should cover approximately 300 questions, plus basic fingerspelling, basic numbers, and basic culture.
Each level beyond Level 1 should cover approximately 300 more questions or concepts.
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