Photos of the Week: ASL 1 works on dialogue

Dana Ibarra, photographer

American Sign Language (ASL) is in it’s fourth year at Elkhart Memorial, and the department has grown to nearly 175 students.

Different from other languages, ASL has no written form. Instead, it is produced by actions of the hands, arms, face and the head. Because it allows students to connect words they know to motions and body movement, learning ASL can be beneficial to those student who learn in a more tactile fashion.

Students who are new to ASL have spent the semester learning basic conversational skills. Now, in the middle of this school year, ASL 1 students have learned to recognize over 200 words and can conduct basic conversations, but according to ASL teacher Larissa McFarland, that is not all they learn.

“Students learn to have compassion for people who are not like them,” McFarland said.

Anyone can be deaf regardless of where they’re from, so encouraging access and spreading the beautiful language allows students to develop an appreciation for the Deaf community. It gives students a chance to explore and gain an appreciation of the Deaf and hard of hearing culture.

Check out the photo gallery for pictures of some of the ASL 1 students practicing basic communication skills: