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M.A. in Sign Language Education

Web: M.A. Sign Language Education

Dr. Patrick Boudreault, Program Coordinator
Sorenson Language and Communication Center, Room 1219

The Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies offers a M.A. degree in Sign Language Education. This program is designed to prepare future sign language teachers, who will provide exemplary leadership in the sign language teaching field. Students will be introduced to key theoretical and methodological issues involved in sign language instruction including curriculum development, assessment, and incorporating Deaf culture into the language curriculum. In addition, students will undertake a teaching practicum and internship under the supervision of a cooperating teacher. An electronic portfolio is required at the completion of the program, which represents the culmination of the student's academic performance.

MASTERS PROGRAM STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
Graduates from the MA program in Sign Language Education

I.         Will demonstrate theoretical knowledge and display competence in classroom     settings regarding methodological and socio-political issues involved in sign language teaching, curriculum development and assessment

II.         Will produce graduate level Sign Language and English texts that demonstrate knowledge of and critical inquiry into key concepts in the Sign Language teaching field

III.         Will recognize the importance of the Sign Language teacher as a system change agent and apply this in practice utilizing effective leadership, advocacy, consultation, and collaboration to influence change on the individual, group, and organizational and systemic levels

IV.         Will demonstrate preparedness to seek and obtain employment as a teaching professional in the field of sign language education

Program Overview

We are a 15-month Summer/Online program.  In typical 2-year graduate programs, there are four semesters of study.  Our four semesters of study begin with the first semester occurring during the Summer, the second semester during the Fall, third semester during the Spring, and the fourth and final semester during the following Summer.

Students begin the program mid-May online, then arrive on campus for required face-to-face courses early in June through the end of July.  In other words, these courses are not fully online, and not fully face-to-face, but considered hybrid courses, a combination of online and face-to-face education.

The fall and spring semester courses are entirely online and do not require on-campus presence.  We do offer some face-to-face options for students who wish to remain local/on-campus, however there are limited space in those on-campus classes.  On-campus students who take increased number of courses during the year may be eligible to march for graduation after three semesters of study, in May, provided they have only two courses or less in the final semester (summer) of study.  

To ensure your spot in on-campus classes during the year, you may want to consider applying to the graduate Certificate in Deaf Studies program in addition to a Masters degree in Sign Language Education. 

The final set of summer courses begin online in mid-May, and require on-campus presence mid-June through end of July, with students applying for August graduation. Please contact us for more details at SignLanguageEducation@gallaudet.edu.

*The Masters in Sign Language Education program is not a state approved licensure program or part of the Educator Preparation Providers unit accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Instead, our students are required to successfully complete national certification with the ASL Teachers Association (ASLTA) prior to graduation. If you are seeking employment in K-12 school settings, you would be best advised to contact your state office of licensure and certification to see if our program meets their requirements. We are happy to assist with this process.

 

Admissions Procedures and Requirements

Applicants for the M.A. in Sign Language Education must complete the application procedures and meet the requirements for graduate study at Gallaudet University. Visit the Graduate Admissions web site for more information and a checklist of application requirements. Detailed program information and course descriptions are also available under the 'Overview' and 'Courses' tabs.

Please complete the following requirements as outlined on the Graduate Admissions website:

Mail the official transcript(s) to: 
Graduate Admissions 
Kendall Hall 101 
Gallaudet University 
800 Florida Avenue NE 
Washington DC 20002

Application opens: August 1st

Deadline for Application Review/Screening:  January 1st

*Students are admitted to the Sign Language Education masters program once a year, with the program starting online mid-May.

Program Specific Requirements:

Program Requirements 

 When the four items (online graduate application, goal statements, all postsecondary transcript(s), and three letters of recommendation) are on file at Graduate Admissions, you will be contacted by the Masters in Sign Language Education screening committee for a video interview.  Meanwhile, you will also need to contact ASL Diagnostics and Evaluation Services (ASL-DES) to schedule an ASL Proficiency Interview (ASLPI).  Please visit their website at gallaudet.edu/asldes/aslpi.html

Program Requirements Checklist:

    • Video interview with the Masters in Sign Language Education screening committee
    • ASLPI result of 4 or above for teachers of ASL and 3+ or above for teachers of other signed languages.


You are required to submit evidence of your American Sign Language Proficiency Interview (ASLPI) result of 4 or above to Graduate Admissions Office. 

For teachers of other signed languages, you will be required to submit evidence of your ASLPI result of 3+ or above to Graduate Admissions Office.  Other types of sign language proficiency interview scores will not be accepted.  

The fees for the ASLPI are outlined on this website: ASLPI Fees.  To schedule an ASLPI interview, please email aslpi@gallaudet.edu.  Please send the documentation of your ASLPI score to the Graduate Admissions Office at: gradapplications@gallaudet.edu

For more information about the ASLPI, please visit:    
http://www.gallaudet.edu/asldes/aslpi.html
And for video samples of people with an ASLPI result of 4 and 5, please visit:  http://www.gallaudet.edu/asldes/aslpi/aslpi_video_samples_level_0-5.html

If the department decides to recommend you for admission to the Dean of Graduate School, the Dean will make the final decision regarding your application.

Financial Costs for Program

The program is 36 - 42 credits in total, starting with 12-15 credit hours during your first summer in the program. The approximate minimum cost for the entire program may be $23,000 for US citizens, not including fees, room and board. Financial assistance may be available but is not guaranteed.  Please visit the Finance Office webpage for more details regarding tuition and fees.

Program Equipment

We are primarily an Apple/Mac-based degree program.  All of our courses require quality bilingual Sign Language/English submissions.  During the summers (on-campus classes), we provide a state-of-the-art 24/7 access to lab and filming studios with iMacs, loaner Canon EOS 60D cameras, tripods and professional light kits.  We expect the same video quality during the online portion of the program - fall and spring semesters, so you are expected to obtain (or ensure access to) necessary equipment prior to starting the program.

Required equipment:

    • External Harddrive (1 TB or higher)
    • Recording equipment that can record at 1080p or higher (e.g. iPad, iPhone, Canon 60D, 7D, or EOS 5D Mark II and III and many more)
    • Minimum internet bandwidth:  Download speed 10Mbps / Upload speed 2Mbps


Recommended equipment/software:

    • Apple Laptop/Computer
    • Tripod
    • Light kit
    • Final Cut Pro X
    • iWork (Keynote and Pages)
    • iPad/iPad Mini/iPhone (newest versions can film, front-facing, at 1080p)
    • Blue/green screen chroma key background (using either a chroma key cloth or paint).

Summer I (On Campus)

12-15 credits

CodeTitleCredits
ASL 709*Sign Language Media Production3
ASL 724Sign Language Linguistics for Sign Language Professionals3
ASL 741Methods of Sign Language Teaching3
ASL 743Curriculum Development for Sign Language Education3
ASL 750Assessing Sign Language Skills3
  • *  ASL 709 Sign Language Media Production can be waived with extensive media, film and editing experience. Contact us for more details at SignLanguageEducation@gallaudet.edu

Fall I (Online)

CodeTitleCredits
ASL 760**Connecting Sign Language Research to Practice3
ASL 762Seminar in Sign Language Education3
LIN 510Introduction to First and Second Language Acquisition3

    Spring I (Online)

    CodeTitleCredits
    ASL 745**Sign Language Teaching, Culture and History3
    ASL 762Seminar in Sign Language Education3
    ASL 770Sign Language Planning and Advocacy3

      Summer II (On Campus)

      CodeTitleCredits
      ASL 745**Sign Language Teaching, Culture and History3
      ASL 760**Connecting Sign Language Research to Practice3
      ASL 777Digital Pedagogy in the Sign Language Field3
      DST 705**Sign & the Philosophy of Language3
      DST 710Literary Traditions in the Deaf Community3
      DST 714**Critical Pedagogy3

        Additional Required Courses (to be taken during the program)

        CodeTitleCredits
        ASL 752Sign Language Practicum3
        ASL 790Sign Language Internship3
        • The practicum and internship site and cooperating teacher must be approved by the department in advance. Candidates with extensive ASL teaching experience and full-time employment in the ASL teaching field may apply for a practicum and/or internship waiver.

        **Courses with a double asterisk are program electives, and course offerings depend on minimum enrollment.  Matriculated Masters in Sign Language Education are required to take at least two course electives (6 credits) to meet program requirements for graduation.

         

        ASL 709 - Sign Language Media Production (3)

        Visual media has changed the way we communicate. With the advent of new tools and platforms, possibilities of publishing has proliferated, allowing a wider discourse of ideas to be shared with a vast audience. This course explores these opportunities and will introduce students to the tools and skills necessary to produce digital media. Through a hands-on approach, this course will allow students to capture, import and edit digital video in a variety of platforms and genres. Students will participate in a workshop approach to hone their skills at "writing" through digital media.

        • Prerequisite: Matriculation into the M.A. program in ASL & Deaf Studies or permission of instructor.
        • Course Fee: $100.00

        ASL 724 - Sign Language Linguistics for Sign Language Professionals (3)

        This course involves a comprehensive review of current sign language linguistics research with emphasis on how such sign language linguistic research shapes sign language education. Through a literature-based and data-centric approach, students will investigate linguistic structure of signed languages in different areas including phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and discourse. They will then explore how such investigation has been incorporated into the sign language teaching literature and methodology.

        • Prerequisite: Matriculation into the M.A. program in ASL & Deaf Studies or permission of instructor.

        ASL 741 - Methods of Sign Language Teaching (3)

        This course focuses on principled approaches to developing and implementing classroom methods and strategies for language teaching. It also investigates linguistic, psychological and attitudinal factors that influence student-teacher interaction in the classroom. The course examines in detail the most important teaching methodologies that have evolved over the past thirty years. Following a thorough analysis of each methodology, in terms of its theoretical justification and supporting empirical research, students will endeavor to teach and learn some aspect of a sign language through the implementation of each of the methodologies.

        • Prerequisite: Matriculation into the M.A. program in ASL & Deaf Studies or permission of instructor.

        ASL 743 - Curriculum Development for Sign Language Education (3)

        This course examines philosophical and historical roots of language teaching curricula through the lens of sign language teaching. Students will learn about the theoretical complexity of curriculum design intersected with the visual nature of signed languages and the diverse, multicultural nature of Signed Language communities. Curriculum design theories and approaches, systematic and sequential development involving needs assessment, lesson planning and evaluation will be covered. Students will study different Sign Language curricula and have opportunities to develop lessons and units within a curriculum.

        • Prerequisite: Matriculation into the M.A. program in ASL & Deaf Studies or permission of instructor.

        ASL 745 - Sign Language Teaching, Culture and History (3)

        Students in this course will analyze the integration of history and culture in sign language teaching curricula. Language is often taught with cultural and historical anecdotes. The history and culture of the Signed Language communities and Deaf people are very rich and diverse. Decisions behind choosing which historical and cultural content to include in Sign Language courses will be analyzed as well as theoretical implications of history and culture as a separate course of study within a language curricula.

        • Matriculation into the Masters in Sign Language Education program or permission of instructor

        ASL 750 - Assessing Sign Language Skills (3)

        This course examines factors involved in developing and administering an assessment of Sign Language students' linguistic proficiency and socio-cultural competence. Topics include the role and function of assessment, assessment validity, assessment reliability, the use of measurement instruments, current approaches to assessing language learning, and an analysis of current tools for testing Sign Language skills and knowledge. Students will develop samples of assessment tools.

        • Prerequisite: Matriculation into the M.A. program in ASL & Deaf Studies or permission of instructor.

        ASL 752 - Sign Language Practicum (3)

        This course is a required professional field experience in the Sign Language Education program consisting a minimum of forty-five (45) observation and/or assisting hours. During this experience, the practicum student observes (and when appropriate, assists) sign language education. A required seminar is conducted regularly to review theoretical and practical applications of teaching, lesson planning, activities and assessment techniques. An important component of this course also includes preparing for the upcoming student teaching internship.

        • Prerequisite: ASL 724, 741, 743, and 750 or equivalent courses; or permission of the instructor.

        ASL 760 - Connecting Sign Language Research to Practice (3)

        This course covers an introduction to research and is designed to develop student ability to locate, review, and critically evaluate sign language-related research studies. In addition, students will be introduced to quantitative and qualitative research methodology and concepts including reliability and validity. Research ethics, particularly for Signed Language communities will be explored. This course also includes techniques on how to develop a reciprocal relationship between research and practice.

        • Matriculation into the Masters in Sign Language Education program or permission of instructor

        ASL 762 - Seminar in Sign Language Education (3)

        This course is designed to build on the knowledge, skills and experiences of previous and concurrent coursework. Students will critically analyze current issues to pedagogy of sign language education through scheduled seminar lectures. A part of this course will be devoted to teaching portfolio development where students will integrate academic projects and assignments completed in their previous courses into a professional website. This course will also introduce students to the profession of sign language education, infrastructure of sign language teachers' associations and teaching certification.

        • Prerequisite: ASL 709, 724, 741, 743 and 750; or permission of instructor

        ASL 770 - Sign Language Planning and Advocacy (3)

        This course covers language planning and policy in transnational and national sign language communities. A commonality among these communities is that the natural signed language of deaf communities are often threatened by majority languages. Language policies vary, and successful (and not so-successful) activism will be studied. This course will include a study of four main components of language policy and planning: attitude, corpus, acquisition, and status planning. Connections will be emphasized between applied language planning in sign languages, settings in which linguistic advocacy takes place, and theoretical and empirical research in language acquisition and learning.

        • Prerequisite: ASL 724, 741, and 743 or equivalent courses; or permission of the instructor.

        ASL 777 - Digital Pedagogy in the Sign Language Field (3)

        With the advent of non-traditional approaches to learning, including online and hybrid teaching, this course examines the role of electronic elements in enhancing pedagogical methods of sign language education, curriculum and classroom. Digital tools are especially more paramount with visual-spatial languages such as signed languages. This course will explore integration of video-based tools into the curriculum as one way to teach and assess signed language acquisition and development. Students will be encouraged to engage in a critical examination of various theoretical schools of thought regarding digital pedagogy.

        • Matriculation into the Masters in Sign Language Education program or permission of instructor

        ASL 790 - Sign Language Internship (3)

        This course is the final professional experience in the Sign Language Education program and is a required field experience consisting a minimum of forty-five (45) preparation and teaching hours. During this experience, the student teacher is mentored by an faculty and supervised by an university supervisor. Students with extensive sign language teaching experience, and with approval of the department, may undertake an on-the-job internship placement. A required seminar is conducted regularly to share teaching challenges, celebrate successes and to exchange useful teaching techniques.

        • Prerequisite: ASL 752; or permission of the instructor.

        DST 705 - Sign & the Philosophy of Language (3)

        This core course will examine the role that signed languages have played in the evolution of philosophical ideas concerning human identity, language and the senses. Rather than being seen as marginal areas of concern, signed languages have played an important role in the history of ideas and the philosophy of language. Course content will explore how both hearing and Deaf thinkers, artists, and writers have viewed signed languages throughout history, with special emphasis on 18th and 19th century France and 20th century linguistic and literary theory. This course will provide students with a historical and intellectual background to understand how signed languages, deafness, and deaf education have been constructed throughout history, and how 21st century issues of education, language and identity are informed by the evolution of philosophical perspectives.

        • Prerequisites: Matriculated in DST MA Program

        DST 710 - Literary Traditions in the Deaf Community (3)

        This course is designed as a thorough exploration of the literary traditions in the Deaf community. Attention will be given to the unique face-to-face nature of signed literature and its numerous traditional forms. Students will become versed in the stylists, poetics, and cultural contexts of signed literature in its live as well as video-text formats.

        DST 714 - Critical Pedagogy (3)

        This course focuses on the field of inquiry known as Critical Pedagogy, which examines the role that education plays in shaping and transmitting the ideology of those in power. This course also inquires into the use of education as a means of resistance and emancipation. Particular focus will be given to the disparate conditions relating to the education of those populations considered to be in the margins, i.e.,class, race, ethnicity, gender, and disability.

        LIN 510 - Introduction to First and Second Language Acquisition (3)

        This course introduces students to the acquisition of a native language by young children (L1 acquisition) and acquisition of a second language after childhood (L2 acquisition). The first part of the course covers the important milestones of normal L1 development in phonology, morphology, syntax and pragmatics for both spoken and signed languages. The course then explores how delays in exposure affect the acquisition process, leading to the main topics of the second part of the course: critical period effects and L2 acquisition. Readings and discussion throughout the course will reflect the perspective that acquisition studies on a broad variety of languages, both signed and spoken, are crucial for developing accurate theories of language structure and use. Application of concepts from lectures and discussion is encouraged through student collection and analysis of L1 and L2 data.

        • Prerequisites: For UG students: LIN 101, 263, 301, 302; for Grad students: Permission of Instructor
         
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