Communication Connections: Service Learning and American Sign Language Purpose This article describes a connection between service learning and American Sign Language (ASL) instruction. The Deaf community served as communication partners for university students, enabling them to use language skills in a natural setting. Method The rationale and implementation of pairing ASL with service learning are presented. ... Supplement Article
Supplement Article  |   December 01, 2011
Communication Connections: Service Learning and American Sign Language
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Suzanne Reading
    Butler University, Indianapolis, IN
  • Robert J. Padgett
    Butler University, Indianapolis, IN
  • Correspondence to Suzanne Reading: reading@butler.edu
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Sheila Pratt
    Editor and Associate Editor: Sheila Pratt×
Article Information
Audiologic / Aural Rehabilitation / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Professional Issues & Training / Supplement: Using Service Learning to Enhance Undergraduate and Graduate Education in Audiology and Aural Rehabilitation
Supplement Article   |   December 01, 2011
Communication Connections: Service Learning and American Sign Language
American Journal of Audiology, December 2011, Vol. 20, S197-S202. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2011/10-0029)
History: Received July 25, 2010 , Revised November 29, 2010 , Accepted June 20, 2011
 
American Journal of Audiology, December 2011, Vol. 20, S197-S202. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2011/10-0029)
History: Received July 25, 2010; Revised November 29, 2010; Accepted June 20, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose This article describes a connection between service learning and American Sign Language (ASL) instruction. The Deaf community served as communication partners for university students, enabling them to use language skills in a natural setting.

Method The rationale and implementation of pairing ASL with service learning are presented. A review of one study provides information about student perceptions of service learning, and a second study presents evidence about the development of ASL skills through a service learning experience.

Results Service learning proved to be a valuable teaching method for ASL instruction, facilitating an increase in cultural awareness and ASL skills. Students’ anecdotal evidence about service learning experiences indicated that they gained insights beyond just the improvement in language skills.

Conclusions The connection between service learning and ASL instruction is advantageous because students gained cultural understanding as well as language skills. This course design could be used at other institutions where a Deaf community is accessible.

Acknowledgments
We acknowledge support from a 2008 Lilly Endowment Scholarship of Engagement Grant awarded through the Indiana Campus Compact. We also acknowledge support from the Butler University Center for Citizenship and Community.
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