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Sign Language Teaching, History of

  • By: Keith M. Cagle
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

American Sign Language (ASL) is accepted by colleges and universities and has been accepted in fulfillment of the modern/foreign language requirements at the high school, bachelor’s, and master’s levels in schools and states across the United States. ASL classes are also offered in elementary and middle schools.

Teaching sign language is a relatively new phenomenon compared to the teaching of other foreign or modern languages. Prior to the 1960s, many members of the Deaf community had the idea that their sign language was based on the spoken language used in their home community. At that time, sign language was taught strictly in parallel with the words from the spoken language. Many sign language classes were provided on a voluntary basis through Deaf community organizations and churches ...

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