South to possibly introduce sign language to the foreign language curriculum

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South to possibly introduce sign language to the foreign language curriculum

Tommy Beggs, Staff Writer

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Bloomington South is en route to becoming the latest high school in Indiana to teach American Sign Language (ASL) as a part of the foreign language curriculum. Students have expressed interest in this subject in recent years, and the administration is looking to integrate it into the foreign language department.

Principal Mark Fletcher commented that the number of people interested in ASL would dictate whether or not the school would add it, and thus far, “the response has been positive” to its potential addition.

Among those responsive to an ASL course is sophomore Emma Shelton. She believes that “it  is important to know [ASL]…so that if you know someone who is deaf you can talk to them.” Shelton has been interested in the applications of American Sign Language since discovering the Youtube Channel “thedailysign.” This channel helps viewers learn sign language by adding hand motions to modern music.

The primary challenge in adding an ASL course here at South is finding a qualified teacher. The teacher not only would have to be experienced in American Sign Language, but would also have to have met requirements set out by the state. Furthermore, there are three separate levels of the course that can be taught, but each mandates respectively higher standards from teachers of the course. Shelton expressed interest in continuing to the highest level of high school ASL: “If I like it, I’d try to go to three.”

As far as counting towards a Core 40 or Honors Diploma, Fletcher noted that ASL would count for the same credit requirements as the foreign languages currently taught at South.

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