East Texans are now offered the opportunity to learn sign language for free. Clarkston Elementary from Tyler ISD offers a free course that will teach participants the basics of American Sign Language.
Clarkston Elementary teacher Emily Woodbury said due to a high deaf population there needs to be greater proficiency in American Sign Language.
“Everyone wants to communicate with. There is a large population of deaf people and a small population of people who know sign language. When you communicate with someone using their language, it really lights up their world, ”said Woodbury. “I really want to share this language with everyone so that people in the deaf community can experience it for themselves. “
The original purpose of the class was to teach parents of deaf children, but it has spread to anyone wishing to learn ASL.
“People seem to really appreciate it, we have had several parents of our children participating in our regional school day program for the deaf. We had several parents and families come and several people in the community who have few children who use sign language to communicate who came, they were very happy that we offered this and are delighted to learn ”, she mentioned.
Woodbury instructs the class and uses game activities, videos, and handouts to teach a different vocabulary each week.
“We played a few games at Kahoot! and next week we’ll be playing Headband. We are trying to change things and get them to mingle with each other, interact and learn the language as much as they can, ”she said.
The course started in September and is a non-binding course. Parents and community members are welcome to join whenever they can. Woodbury mentioned that handouts are available for those who can’t attend classes and want to make up for missed material.
With the ASL class, Woodbury hopes to help parents by teaching them to communicate better with their deaf child. She also hopes to help community members with ASL to use it in their work areas and expand communication access to the deaf community.
Sign language classes are held in the cafeteria at Clarkston Elementary School. Participants are told to come through the front door on Fairfax Drive, located on the side of the school.
Woodbury is hoping more people will show up for the classes and his goal is to fill the cafeteria with members who want to learn ASL.
ASL classes are held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Tuesday of the week until December 7. Children must be accompanied by an adult.