Choosing an American Sign Language Course
Congratulations! You’ve decided to learn Sign Language. Whether you’re deaf, have a deaf child, want to use Sign Language to better communicate with your baby, or just want to satisfy your curiosity by learning the intricacies of Sign Language, you should start by finding an American Sign Language course that can teach you the basics and beyond. American Sign Language is the most popular signing language as it’s currently used by over 2 million people.
Because American Sign Language has become so popular, there are many courses available for mastering this language. How can you be sure you choose the right course for your needs? Here are some tips to guide you.
- Online or in person classes? — The first thing you need to decide is if you want to take your American Sign Language course online or at a local school. This decision boils down to your schedule and your budget. In-person Sign Language courses obviously adhere to a strict schedule, and they typically cost a bit more. Furthermore, you can’t learn at your own pace in a typical classroom setting. Online American Sign Language courses, on the other hand, are much more flexible (study when you want), typically cost less, and allow you to learn at your own pace so you can master the subjects more thoroughly.
- Identify the purpose of learning ASL — Why do you want to learn ASL? Are you hoping to become a certified translator? Or are you just wanting to learn a few of the basics to better communicate with your deaf friends and family? If you’re learning for recreational purposes, you should try to find a basic starter’s course. However, if you need to learn ASL for professional purposes, make sure you choose a quality American Sign Language course with a good reputation.
- Ask for recommendations — If you have any friends or colleagues who have taken an ASL course before, ask them for recommendations. Their first hand experience will allow you to better understand the pros and cons of the different courses available to you.
- Check the reputation of the school/instructors — You want to be sure you’re putting your education in the right hands. That’s why it’s important to spend time researching the different schools and online ASL instructors to be sure you choose someone with the necessary qualifications to oversee your American Sign Language course. You should only learn from nationally certified Sign Language interpreters.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions — Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to a few schools or online courses, make a few calls and send some emails asking any questions you might have. If you want to know more about the instructor’s experience, don’t be afraid to ask about it. If you’re trying to become a certified Sign Language interpreter, ask about the school’s success rate with getting their students certified. The more questions you ask, the likelier it is that you’ll choose the right American Sign Language course for your needs.
With the right American Sign Language course, learning ASL will be fun and easy!