American Sign Language Classes Are Flourishing at WHS
by Ray Clutter
Walkersville High School has a variety of languages within its foreign language department that have depth and culture. American Sign Language is the most popular choice among Walkersville High School students. What students love about the class is that it is taught by Dan Frank and John Jones, who are deaf, which gives a more realistic approach to the learning process.
Here is a breakdown of American Sign Language courses:
- ASL One: Introduction to the language and a brief history of the culture.
- ASL Two: Extending your understanding of the language and learning more about the culture.
- ASL Three: Becoming fluent and learning the origin of ASL and important moments in ASL history.
Jones said, “[I wanted to become a teacher] because it’s very good to let people know what makes me [an individual]. I enjoy school and class, so I want you to enjoy class [mutually]. With students it’s not [just] teaching, it’s working with every student, [and getting to know you]. Who are you? What are your likes? What are your dislikes? It’s becoming closer and becoming one strong unit.”
Frank commented, “Sometimes students [need to] interpret announcements, and help me answer the phone. It would be nice to have an interpreter everyday, but I don’t [necessarily] need one everyday. It depends on the class, maybe one or three days.”
Frank has been teaching at WHS for eight years and doesn’t know what the future may hold, “It depends — if I didn’t teach here I could always teach culture at MSD (A local deaf school, standing for Maryland School for the Deaf).”
Jones wishes to encourage students to take ASL and learn it so that they can connect to the deaf community.
“Students should take ASL because it’s not only easy but also fun, a lot of people are taking it more and more now. [Plus] deaf culture is becoming widely known and important,” said senior Eric Turvin.
Next year American Sign Language Four will be available for students! It is strongly encouraged to try a foreign language in general, and ASL would be a fun and new experience!