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Alternative Certification for Teachers
American Sign Language (Grades EC-12)
Acquiring an alternative teaching certification in American Sign Language for early education students through high school is an opportunity to engage hearing as well as deaf students into a universal language. The ability to teach American Sign Language involves learning the general skills of an educator along with signing techniques. Teaching American Sign Language can provide the communication and skills a student has previously been unable to effectively obtain and can open many doors to assist a deaf student with expressing themselves.
Obtaining alternative teaching certification in American Sign Language requires the basic general education requirements such as mathematics, science, social studies, history and English language arts. American Sign Language instructors will also be required to complete field work directly with deaf or hard of hearing students. There may also be an opportunity to complete an internship or student teaching level of field in a standard classroom. There are some cases where school districts or private programs have a designated American Sign Language curriculum for all students including hearing capable students. However, actually teaching deaf students American Sign Language will benefit an educator attempting to translate language through visual motions.
American Sign Language Coursework
The ability to actually learn and American Sign Language in a classroom setting and utilize it in a given setting should be a given expectation to any alternative teaching certification candidate. From beginning through advanced sign language skills, a future educator will begin to understand alternative communication skills. In addition to standard teaching skills course work, an American Sign Language Specialist will potentially need to work through special education standards, speech and audiology courses and learn specifics about state requirements for students with special needs.
What to Expect as an American Sign Language Teacher
The environment a teacher in American Sign Language may face can vary greatly. Some deaf or hard of hearing students may be participating in mainstream schools utilizing interpreters. It may be part of an American Sign Language teacher’s responsibility to further enhance the deaf student’s sign language skills and educate their peers on signing in an effort to bridge some of the social barriers a student may face. The diversity of ages that may be attending a signing class may also make a difference in the material you develop for your lesson plans. Regardless of the teaching environment, it is ultimately the responsibility of the American Sign Language teacher to educate students on accepting diversity and being resourceful with the tools they have been given, including the ability to communicate in a universal language.