English Department


How is ASL taught at CSI?

All (4) levels of ASL are taught by the immersion method of instruction. There is no voice used in the classroom ... no talking ... no translating into English. The first week is dedicated to getting acquainted with classmates, creating a "safe" environment. After that, all communication happens without spoken/verbal communication. From ASL 1 to ASL 4, communication happens in a developmental sequence of gestures, pantomime and drawing to get the eyes, face and body ready, gradually blended with models of the second language. Much like 1st language acquisition, receptive skills precede expressive skills. Materials include a workbook, videotape models and a camera to record skills. Grade-earning power is dependent on attendance, participation and initiative.

Can I major or minor in ASL at CSI?

YES! CSI offers an A.A. degree major in Sign Language Studies. There is a suggested sequence of classes, totaling 64-65. This includes a core of General Education courses (36 credits), the ASL language sequence (16 credits), and a body of major courses to complete the degree. There is no "minor." The individual needs of each student (semester load, finances, work schedule, family schedule, and placement in developmental coursework) will influence this sequence as guided by a Program Advisor.

Does ASL fulfill my foreign language requirement?

The ASL sequence is housed in the same department as spoken foreign languages offered at CSI. ASL will fulfill the Humanities requirements of the General Education Core for any program offered at CSI. It may or may not transfer as a foreign language to another school. AS always, be sure to consult with your academic advisor regarding your specific degree requirements.

Will I be able to Take All four levels in four consecutive semesters?

Currently, the ASL courses are offered in a Fall-Spring-Fall-Spring sequence. There are no classes offered in the summer semester. Several sections of ASL 1 are only offered in the Fall semester, fill quickly and have limited enrollment. Personal conditions and choices influence whether a student continues in consecutive semesters for ASL 2, 3 and 4. Students are required to achieve a "C" or better to proceed through the language sequence.

After I complete the program, can I work as an interpreter?

NO! Completion of four semesters of ASL or completion of the Sign Language Studies Program does NOT prepare you to interpret, no matter what grades you earn. Qualified interpreters require additional, highly specialized training. While some signers can become interpreters, all interpreters are competent, fluent signers first. Communicating fluently with sign language, knowledge of deafness, even having significant social contact with signers, does not qualify you to serve as an interpreter. Several of the major courses in the program will clarify this for you. And, neither you nor your instructors can predict your achievement learning the language. If you are seriously interested in becoming an interpreter, talk with your instructor and your advisor for where you can go for training.

Does CSI offer any classes through distance learning?

No. CSI does have the capability of offering some knowledge and information courses via Distance Learning when student populations and facilities are available. However, due to the nature of technology and the interactive nature of ASL instruction, this method is not effective to develop receptive and expressive language competence as a signer. The most effective way to become a fluent, competent signer is within a group of people, deaf and hearing, meeting several times a week, following a well-developed curriculum that is geared toward adult education. There are no shortcuts. There are no "easier" ways to own the language.

So, what can I do with signing when I complete the program?

Like any 2-year language program (Spanish, French, German, Japanese, ASL), graduates may be drawn to pursue further education in fields that specialize or serve the children or adults who use the language. The Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind is less than an hour away. Competent signers may find employment as classroom aides, bus monitors, cottage staff, working under the direction of a professional. Your advisor will guide you.