Learn to talk with your hands at MTSU's ASL classes

Jan 11, 2019 at 02:46 pm by Voice Wire

MTSU ASL Classes

If you’ve ever been accused of “talking with your hands,” you can learn how to put it into practice at MTSU this semester.

MTSU’s first ever American Sign Language class in the fall 2018 semester was such a success that it will be offered again in the spring 2019 semester. It is open to anyone from MTSU or the general community.

The Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition will provide instruction in sign language for the hearing impaired from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. each Wednesday from Jan. 16 through Feb. 27, 2019, in Room 106 of the Paul W. Martin Honors College building. The registration deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 15, but spaces are limited.

Following the university’s spring break March 4-9, part two of the class will take place from March 13 through April 24. The registration deadline for part two is Tuesday, March 12.

Haley Jensen, owner of the ASL instruction company “Voice Off,” again will be the instructor. Jensen underwent training over the summer of 2018 in CALA’s method of total physical response, an instruction procedure that engages students in storytelling as a means of absorbing the language.

Jensen said students will learn the alphabet, numbers, body parts, clothes, colors, places in the house, feelings, greetings, and several other high-frequency words and phrases. She said learners will become more aware of facial expressions and emotions because they won’t be able to rely on vocal inflection to communicate.

“You can do the exact same signs, but your face tells you whether it is a statement, a question or exclamation,” Jensen said.

The ASL class began at MTSU after Eric Workman, vice president and director of interpreting services at Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Nashville, contacted the university. Shelley Thomas, founder and director of CALA and a professor of French, was receptive to the idea.

“The reason they approached me was because of the reputation of CALA for engagement, fun, success and good student feedback,” Thomas said.

While the CALA classes are noncredit courses taken for educational enrichment only, Thomas said CALA classes frequently inspire students to enroll in classes in MTSU’s Department of World Languages, Literatures and Culture.

“Acquisition is easy, fun, quick and extremely motivating,” Thomas said. “People experience a lot of success within five days. They’re starting to read a novel. That makes them feel amazing. From there, they want to take an MTSU class for credit.”

The fees for the seven-week course are $145 for the general public; $130 for MTSU faculty, staff and alumni; and $110 for MTSU and high school students.

Register here. For more information, contact Thomas at 615-898-5757 or acceleratedacquisition@gmail.com.

Photo: American Sign Language instructor Haley Jensen teaches a class this fall offered by the MTSU’s Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition. (Photo by Enrique Geronimo/MTSU Sidelines)


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